The Columbus Development Commission next week will consider a proposal for more than 1,000 single-family residences and apartments off Alton Darby Creek Road in Columbus, according to Tom Hart, a zoning attorney representing the developers.
The commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at Michael B. Coleman Government Center, 111 N. Front St., Columbus.
The development has no official name but has been referred to as Sugar Farms, a reference to the family who owned most of the land that was annexed Jan. 28, or Renner South, a geographic reference, Hart said.
The developers, Pulte Homes of Ohio and Harmony Development Group, are proposing up to 1,108 single-family residences and apartments on 369 acres, mostly on the east side of Alton Darby Creek Road, south of Roberts Road and Hilliard. The development also would include a 27-acre preserve on the west side of Alton Darby Creek Road and south of Renner Road.
The proposal for the Sugar Farms/Renner South development has received negative recommendations from two neighborhood advisory groups: the Far West Area Commission on Feb. 26 and the Cross Creek Village Civic Association on Feb. 6.
Cross Creek was the designated and constituted civic association to which developers are required to present as part of the rezoning process, Hart said.
Although Cross Creek is several miles from the proposed development, the civic association had been acting on behalf of neighbors until the Far West Area Commission for Columbus became an official advisory commission to consider such matters, according to Debi Hampton, president of the Cross Creek Village Civic Association and also a member of the Far West Area Commission.
Columbus City Council on Feb. 4 instituted the Far West Area Commission as Columbus' 20th area commission, according to President Pro Tem Michael Stinziano.
The nonbinding recommendations will be documented to the Columbus Development Commission, Hart said.
The commission will make its own recommendation, and all three recommendations would be considered by Columbus City Council, which has final consideration of the rezoning application, Hart said.
The developers are seeking a planned-unit-development rezoning for the land.
Sharon Rastatter, chairwoman of the Far West Area Commission, said she had "unanswered questions" after the developer's Feb. 26 presentation.
They included, she said, clarity on stream restoration on the 369 acres, which on Jan. 28 were annexed by Columbus City Council from Brown and Norwich townships. The land also is in Hilliard City Schools boundaries.
Kristen Hosni, a Far West Area Commission member, said she wants the development to include a school site.
A school building remains a possibility, Hart said, but it has not been revisited since an early, preliminary conversation with school district administrators when the annexation petition was filed in August 2018.
Residents at the Feb. 26 Far West Area Commission meeting, held at Hilliard Horizon Elementary School, 6000 Renner Road, expressed other concerns, including about the apartment component of the proposal.
"I'm tired of apartments," said Shannon Johnston of Hickory Hill Drive.
Hart said the apartment component was required to make the development feasible.
"Density pays the bills," he said.
Hart said traffic woes in the area would be alleviated by the revenue the development would generate through a $2,500 impact fee levied on each dwelling unit and a continuing annual community-authority fee of $500 to $700 per unit.
Francis Brezny, an engineer and a Spindler Road resident, said traffic congestion requires construction of an Interstate 70 exit for Alton Darby Creek Road.
Such a project would require the involvement of the Ohio Department of Transportation and is not part of the proposal, Hart said.
A traffic study has been completed as part of the rezoning and development proposal, he said, but residents were not placated.
"It's just common sense, not someone studying a map," Tom Daniels of Renner Road said about the number of cars he watches pass his driveway.