Developers are moving forward with a plan to create a townhouse and condominium community behind the current Kroger Market Place.
At Monday night’s meeting, the Marysville Planning Commission unanimously approved the sketch plan of The Residences at Bethel Woods, a planned, 50-unit development, geared toward “active adults.” The project would be south of the Kroger building and bordered by MacIvor Woods Park to the south and west.
Local Attorney Tony Eufinger, representing the developer, explained the project would have “freestanding condominiums and townhomes that would be owner occupied.”
“One of the reasons we are so excited about this development is because we are providing a community for people to live to be able to walk to the store, to access their groceries and their items they wish to consume, as well as have easy walking distance and walking access to the MacIvor Woods Park and other areas and amenities of Marysville,” Eufinger explained.
Steve Peck, with Epcon Communities, said many of the homes would be 1,700 to 1,800 square foot and called the units “upscale.”
He said there is no price set yet, but generally townhomes are in “the mid 200s” and others in the 300’s.
Officials said that while they don’t limit the age of residents, the design and regulations will naturally draw older residents while deterring younger families.
“Our only business is building for active adult,” Peck said. “That’s all we do — no single family. We are not here to generate school age children or anything like that. That’s not what we do.”
He said the average Epcon buyer is 67 years old.
Peck explained that Epcon sells a lifestyle. He said the homes are being built with no steps and other advances, “so that all of our customers can age in that home.”
Peck also explained that the project would reduce the potential impact of traffic in the area. Currently the land is zoned traffic oriented commercial. He said that using equations from the International Traffic Engineer Trip Generation Manual, if this property were to develop to half capacity, TOC would generate 1,400 to 1,500 daily trips. Officials are estimating the proposed project would generate about 270 daily trips.
City officials did question the single entry and exit to the development. Developers said there is a gas pipeline that cannot be crossed. Eufinger said he believes Kroger would grant an easement for an additional exit but said he does not “anticipate being able to obtain the cooperation of the pipeline.”
“We are going to have to think creatively about how we can make the single entrance and exit work,” Eufinger said.
Officials asked if the fire chief is confident a solution can be achieved.
“He is positive about that,” Eufinger said.
He explained that emergency access will be discussed with city engineers and with emergency personnel as the project continues. He said there is at least one other development with a single access. He said it has been done and it is usually handled by widening that single entry and exit.
Officials said that while the development ties into the city’s trail system, there is a sidewalk on just one side of the development. Planning commissioners also expressed concern about residents walking into the Kroger lot.
“Just the way people are in parking lots concerns me,” Commissioner Lainie Menge said.
Menge said, adding that drivers don’t really watch for pedestrians any longer.
She added, “That intersection is very busy and it is a very busy Kroger.”
“Maybe if you can’t get a road in there, you can get a sidewalk in there or even stairs, something, just for a safety factor,” Menge said.
Commission members asked the developer to bring a tree survey as well as landscaping plan next time they come before the group. Officials also asked for color palettes and material listings as well as a guarantee of color and architectural diversity in the neighborhood.
The project will need to come back to the commission before going to city council for final approval. Last year the commission approved a higher-density, apartment style project before council ultimately rejected it because of the density.
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