City of Delaware: Council mulls developments, both tentative and finalized

Paul Comstock
ThisWeek

Planned developments dominated Delaware City Council's May 24 meeting, including one project that will move forward quickly, a second on land not yet annexed and a third for which no plan has been submitted to the city. 

Council approved ordinances approving rezoning – from agricultural to single-family residential – and a preliminary subdivision plat sought by Charles R. Davis for the Davis Tract Subdivision.

Delaware City Hall

The proposal calls for 77 single-family lots on 30.7 acres on the north side of West William Street and west of the Springer Woods subdivision.

City zoning administrator Lance Schultz told council the site, now vacant farmland, would have minimum lot sizes of 8,000 square feet, with its main access from William Street, and will include a 1.2-acre play area and mounding along William Street.

"Hopefully, this project will move forward very, very, quickly once we have your approval. And my client is prepared and has staff on hand to handle any inquiries to market this project very strongly for final development," said Delaware attorney Michael Shade, who represented Davis at the meeting. 

Shade predicted the homes would find buyers.

“As we all know, there is a very strong demand for lots. We are significantly under in the greater central Ohio area for building lots, and everybody is showing a strong interest,” Shade said. “I think there is a combination of factors there. I think the strong results from the schools has upped that market interest in the city of Delaware, as opposed to what was already a strong market presence in the Olentangy (Schools) portion of the city of Delaware.”

Council also gave second readings to ordinances that would approve rezoning, preliminary development and subdivision plats and a pre-annexation agreement for about 43.6 acres for an expansion of the Glenn Road North subdivision.

The meeting's agenda packet said the land is south of Berlin Station Road and east of Glenn Parkway and has been petitioned for annexation.

As a result, Schultz said, the third reading of the ordinance won't be considered until council considers the annexation's approval, which won't occur before council's July 26 meeting.

In April, council approved a resolution indicating what services the city could provide to the land petitioned for annexation. At that meeting, city planning director David Efland said the resolution was the first in a number of steps prescribed by Ohio law for annexation of land by a city, one of which is county commissioners’ approval before the request gets to the city level.

Schultz told council May 24 the proposal calls for 91 single-family homes on the land to be annexed, with mounding along Glenn Parkway and railroad tracks to the east.

Council member Lisa Keller asked Shade, who has represented a number of developers at council meetings in recent years, about reports that another development is planned to the south of the Davis tract.

Shade said the property Keller referred to is owned by two limited-liability companies that are discussing a very early concept of a development plan and seeking initial input from the city development staff.

He said the tentative plan calls for commercial aspects along the land's north side, near U.S. Route 36 westbound and Section Line Road. Significant acreages would be maintained without development, Shade added.

Schultz agreed the city has seen only a conceptual plan.

Although "typically, City Council members aren't involved this early in the process," Keller said, some of her Ward 2 constituents are concerned about a potential plan.

Also during the meeting, City Manager Tom Homan told council, "Hopefully, this will be our last virtual meeting with City Council." 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, council has held remote meetings – with participants in their individual homes or offices – livestreamed on Facebook.

The city plans to return to pre-pandemic council meetings in City Hall, 1 S. Sandusky St., on June 14, Homan said.

The city will reopen its public buildings, he said, which will be posted with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines asking those who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, or not having medical exemptions, to wear face masks and socially distance.

"It's the honor system," Homan said.

He said June would be a trial period for council, and if all goes well, other boards and commissions will meet together in July.

Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle opened the meeting by saying, "I have a sad announcement that (Ward 1) councilman Chris Jones has made a resignation effective immediately. And so City Hall will get some word out on our website as to the process of looking for a new council person for that ward."

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