Planning commission approves Route 38 development


The above illustration shows the plan for the new Ryan Homes development on Route 38 and Boerger Road. The city’s planning commission voted 5-0 Monday night to recommend council pass the application. Residents at Monday night’s meeting had concerns about the development, including the inability to ensure families don’t buy homes intended for empty-nesters and problems with nearby roadways.

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After months of going through the city, the Marysville Planning Commission passed 5-0 a recommendation to council for a planned unit development (PUD) application Monday night.

However, citizens had some final concerns first.

“Obviously it’s inevitable, and I think it’s a good thing,” said resident Josh Dillahunt. “However, I’m not in favor of this plan.”

Commissioners Virginia Golan and Alex Armitage were absent from the meeting. According to the plan developer Ryan Homes gave the city, the neighborhood has 179 homes, 50 of which are intended for empty-nesters. There’s a playground near the center of the property for residents to take children or grandchildren, and there are entrances on both Boerger Road and Route 38.

Earlier in the application process, Ryan Homes had the site host more units, but the Planning Commission asked the developer to knock off a few houses to focus on creativity.

Gary Smith, with Ryan Homes, gave a brief overview of updates to his project.

Responding to concerns with barriers between the neighborhood and adjacent properties, Smith said officials from Ryan Homes met with residents and agreed to put more trees along the property line.

The developer had also received the results of a traffic study since its last appearance, which Smith said is not impacting the development’s design. The ranch-style homes will go for about $300,000, while the two-story homes will be about $335,000.

Smith said they’re trying to provide a transition between the more dense housing in the city and the less dense housing farther out of town.

Dillahunt said he believes any new developments in the city should enhance the properties surrounding them. He cited the city’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan, which said these developments on the outskirts of town should enhance the “existing rural character” of the area. That includes lot sizes and setbacks.

“I really don’t understand how 12 lots adjacent to two sides of a five-acre parcel is consistent, and how that maintains the rural character,” he said. “It’s baffling to me.”

He also noted that though this plan does meet density requirements for how the land is zoned, it by far will be the densest development in the area. He acknowledged that Marysville is attractive to developers right now, but cautioned against draining the community of its identity.

“I think it’s very important that we don’t lose our identity or our existing character in the process of that,” he said.

Royal Oak Drive resident Jim Bennis asked how the developer can ensure that empty-nesters are the ones buying those smaller homes. His home is near the proposed development, and he’s concerned families with children will be able to come into the closer part of the new neighborhood.

“Is that what we want to see happen?” Bennis asked.

The applicant, Jim Ohlin, said he can’t put an age restriction on any part of the neighborhood. The neighborhood is set up in a way that encourages those whose children are out of the house to move in. There’s a first-floor master bedroom in all the ranch-style homes, and all the yards are maintained.

“Everything we’ve done from marketing, from house type, from maintenance, is aimed at the move-down empty-nester,” Ohlin said. “But I cannot stop a family from moving into a ranch-style home.”

Cynthia Bennis asked if Ryan Homes is planning on doing anything to alleviate traffic in the area. She said cars turning onto Route 736 from Route 38 often cut it close, nearly clipping cars at that 736 stop sign.

“Are you planning on improving the infrastructure there and adding in a turning lane?” she asked.

She also asked if there would be turning lanes on Route 38 into the development.

Smith said there are no such plans right now. Their traffic study indicated there’s no immediate need to make those types of improvements to nearby roadways.

Smith did mention the city has purchased the right-of-way for part of Route 736 to eventually realign it into the main entrance of the development. This will eliminate the awkward angle and hopefully make the area easier to navigate.

He noted that this is a separate project the city is planning, and is not tied to the new neighborhood.

Depending on how its first reading goes, the application’s second reading and public hearing at council could be held Nov. 13, with the third reading on Nov. 27.

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