Pulte Homes proposing 145-acre residential development in Grove City

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group
Pulte Homes of Ohio is proposing a 145-acre residential development at the northeast corner of London Groveport Road and Jackson Pike. This rendering of the initial concept plan for the development shows how an existing stream would bisect and divide the development into subareas.

Pulte Homes of Ohio is proposing a new residential subdivision for a 145-acre site north of London Groveport Road (state Route 665) and east of Jackson Pike (state Route 104) in Grove City.

The applicant gave an informal presentation of a preliminary development plan April 19 during a special meeting of the city's planning commission.

Pulte requested the meeting to gather feedback from commission members that could be incorporated into the more formal presentation of a development plan to be made at a future meeting, said Matthew Callahan, vice president of land acquisition for Pulte.

The developer is proposing to build 399 units, including 307 single-family homes and 92 patio homes, he said. The patio homes would be marketed as empty-nester residences.

The site is dissected by a stream that "naturally bisects and separates the site so that the (patio homes) are on the south and southwest portion of the site and the north and northeast side is where we would have the single family homes," Callahan said.

Walking paths and/or bike trails would be placed along the stream, he said.

A total of 43.2 acres, or about 30% of the development site, would comprise green space or park land, Callahan said.

The original concept plan the applicant had presented to the city called for the green space to be spread throughout the development, he said.

"One of the ideals of the plan was to get as many homes as possible within a short walking distance of an open space," Callahan said.

Pulte provided the city with its initial plan in January, and the development department forwarded its review letter in March, development planner Dash Logan said.

"(The) major emphasis in our comments (was) on safe and adequate infrastructure improvements and adequate access to the site from (Route) 665 and (Route) 104, as well as ensuring the development is compatible with the existing (nearby) developments, including Scioto Meadows and Farmstead to the north," Logan said. 

The letter also included comments about the open-space configurations and ensuring a safe and adequate connection would be made in the future from the Pulte site to Scioto Grove Metro Park, he said.

Based on the feedback from the city about the open-space plan, Pulte has prepared alternate plans, each of which would be workable, Callahan said.

One alternative is comparable to the initial plan, except it calls for a larger green space to be in the northeast area of the site, he said. 

The trade-off would be that open spaces in other areas of the development would be smaller, Callahan said.

Another option would be to create a more linear park that would start at the site of the stream in the western portion of the development and extend to the southeast corner of the project area, he said.

Going with that plan would mean less green space in the single-family portion of the development, Callahan said.

Three of the five commission members were able to attend the virtual meeting, and two of them raised some concerns about the residential development as proposed.

"I'm struggling to find much that I can be excited about this," commission member David Frea said. "It looks an awful lot like an awful lot of the housing developments we've put into our city over the last couple decades. I've felt for a long time the city needs more second homes and forever homes" rather than additional starter and entry-level residences.

Something needs to be done about "the nightmarish bend" where Route 665 rounds at the southeast corner of the development site, Frea said.

A previous proposal for a residential development was approved for the site in 2004 but was never built.

That plan had a reserve space that was earmarked to be used for future right-of-way dedications for the realignment of the road to smooth out the bend, community development manager Kim Shields said. 

One of the comments in the review letter sent to Pulte suggested that "we need to evaluate the potential of straightening out the roadway," she said.

Commission chairwoman Julie Oyster said her preference would be for the green space to be in portions of the development that are closer to more homes.

The proposed density also concerns her, she said.

The project's proposed density of 2.74 units per acre and 30% open space is comparable to other nearby developments, Callahan said.

The Scioto Meadows development's density is 3.0 units per acre with limited open space, and the Quarry at Pinnacle has 2.89 units per acre with 31% open space, he said.

Pulte expects to start building single-family homes with a minimum of 1,600 square feet for 1-story ranch homes and 1,800 square feet for 2-story homes, Callahan said.

Given the current market conditions, the starting selling price for both single-family and patio homes would be about $330,000, but the average price probably would be closer to the upper $300,000s range, he said.

The site was reverted back to single-family zoning after the previously approved residential development did not come to fruition, Callahan said. 

Pulte will seek approval of a rezoning to planned-unit-development-residential and approval of a final and detailed development plan, he said.

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