Several development changes are in the works for Plain City and how that growth will affect the village is a constant question for its residents.
Those changes were the subject of the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on Wednesday night when several applications were presented to the group. Although there were no formal actions taken or votes cast, Village Administrator Kevin Vaughn said the ball is rolling for an assortment of building projects in town.
“For these projects, this was their first time in front of the committee and it is often unlikely the projects are approved at that time,” Vaughn said. “In nearly every case, there is still some work to be done before the committee is satisfied.”
Applications are first presented to the committee, then time is taken to address any concerns the group may have with the existing project. It then returns to the committee the following month and is voted on. If the application amendments are approved, it goes to the village council for ratification at which point the project formally begins.
Both senior community and apartment complex presentations went before the committee Wednesday.
Dwight McCabe, Plain City resident, architect and Principal at The McCabe Companies, presented an application for rezoning in order to move forward with his project, The Hamlet on Darby.
The proposed building project would be a senior living community located on a four-acre plot of land off South Chillicothe Street. McCabe said the inspiration for the design came from wanting to offer something for senior residents that allowed them to stay in touch with their small town lifestyles.
“I was thinking about my own mother and others like her and how they’d like to live,” McCabe said. “Well, they’d like to live back in their communities. They’d like to be able to walk places. They’d like to have people next to them that have similar mindsets and similar ways of living.”
The design for the property is based on the look of “pocket neighborhoods” in places like Seattle where developments are designed to look like small community blocks.
“What they’re doing is creating the street access on what really is the backside of the housing stock and then they’re facing them together off central courts,” McCabe said of the designs’ placement of the streets. “The fundamental idea is that everybody has this front area that’s a protected area to themselves.”
The homes would be leased to the residents 55 and older. Although the property isn’t an extended care facility, they are Housing for Older Persons Act compliant and offer wheelchair access throughout the community.
Some residents who live near the proposed location, particularly on Villa Drive, had some concerns about the communities close proximity to their homes. However, McCabe said that the property line did fall within legal parameters.
The other concern was that the properties would fall on the Darby Creek floodplain and that it may be difficult to maneuver emergency vehicles into the community. McCabe said all of those considerations had been looked at but the application will be reviewed until the March meeting.
Another project in early stages is an apartment complex by The Champion Companies which would be located on the property near the Shell station and Civista Bank on U.S. Route 42. The residences would be marketed toward young professionals.
Kevin Vaughn said that Plain City is focused on expanding the community in a way that benefits its economy and residents.
“We need smart, controlled growth in town,” he said. “We need housing and commerce in order to grow. That commerce needs people and we’ve paid much attention to balancing that.” He added the village works closely with the school district as well and gauges how they can handle every project.
“Looking at how to grow our town and also maintain what it is can be challenging,” Vaughn said. “But we’re really excited and have been working on these projects for a long time.”
The Planning and Zoning meetings are the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.
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