A mix of more than 1,000 single-family residences, empty-nester housing and apartments could be built in Columbus just south of Hilliard.
An annexation petition for 369 acres, mostly on the east side of Alton Darby Creek Road, north of Interstate 70 and Renner Road and south of Roberts Road, is expected to be considered later this month by Columbus City Council, according to Tom Hart, an attorney representing the developers, Pulte Homes of Ohio and Harmony Development Group.
The development has no official name but generally is being referred to as either the Sugar Farm, a reference to the family who owns a majority of the land to be annexed, or Renner South, a geographic reference, Hart said.
He said he is not aware of the specifics of transactions on the land, but typically purchase agreements are contingent upon successful annexation and rezoning.
If approved, the land would be annexed from Brown and Norwich townships into Columbus, but it would be in Hilliard City Schools boundaries, Hart said.
Columbus leaders previously have indicated the city has adequate capacity to provide sanitary-sewer and water services for the proposed development, he said.
If annexed into Columbus, the land would be zoned rural residential but would be rezoned as a planned-unit development, said Christopher Lohr, a planning manager for Columbus.
"A significant traffic study will be required as part of this proposal," Hart said.
The study would be reviewed by multiple jurisdictions, including Columbus, Hilliard and Brown and Norwich townships, he said.
Stream and meadow restoration and the construction of multiuse paths that connect to other trails are included in the proposal, according to Norwich Township administrator Jamie Fisher.
She said 28 acres also are reserved as a park or open space.
Before the filing of the rezoning application, the Big Darby Accord Advisory Panel on Dec. 11 voted 4-3 to recommend approval of the rezoning, Lohr said.
Hilliard is one of the 10 local governments that created the Big Darby Accord in 2004 to preserve and protect the Big Darby Creek and its tributaries in western central Ohio, according to bigdarbyaccord.org. In 2008, Hilliard City Council approved the Big Darby Accord Watershed Master Plan, according to authorizing legislation.
The accord panel, which issues nonbinding recommendations, includes representatives from the cities of Columbus, Grove City and Hilliard, Brown, Norwich, Pleasant, Prairie and Washington townships, the village of Harrisburg and Franklin County, according to Fisher.
The annexation petition is scheduled for a first reading Monday, Jan. 14, and a second and final reading Jan. 28, Lohr said.
If approved, it would take 30 days for the annexation to become effective, or until Feb. 27, he said.
The next step would be to gain rezoning approval from Columbus Development Commission.
That process could be as soon as next month or delayed several months based on the completion of a traffic study, Hart said.
"It's a little up in the air and depends on the traffic study," Lohr said.
The Columbus Development Commission is an advisory panel and Columbus City Council would consider its recommendation on the rezoning, Hart said.
The commission also would consider and issue a recommendation of a preliminary plan for the development, which also requires City Council's approval, he said.
More detailed architectural plans are likely to evolve but in Columbus, those plans are handled administratively, Hart said.
"The project has about a seven- to 10-year buildout," he said.
Of the 1,108 dwelling units proposed, about three-fourths would be single-family and empty-nester housing, Hart said.
Most of the proposed units would be single-family residences that Hart described as "move-up housing" that would be listed at $325,000 to $350,000, but it is possible other developers could be contracted to construct a yet-to-be determined number of apartments, he said.
Hart said he did not know how many students the development would add to the district, but he has discussed the proposal with Hilliard Superintendent John Marschhausen.
"We recognize that Columbus is a growing metropolitan area and that Hilliard is a destination community," Marschhausen said.
"We are proud that developers want to build in our district yet are mindful of the fiscal impact of rapid growth. The administration is always appreciative to have a voice in any development to advocate for the school district's opinion."