Decision on Rolling Meadows site tabled

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Jerome Township tabled the application for rezoning of the proposed Rolling Meadows housing develop between Crottinger Road and Industrial Parkway. The map shows the reworked zoning for the development that includes a reduction in housing units per acre and increased right-of-way setbacks.
(Graphic submitted)

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Jerome Township has decided to table the zoning discussion for the Rolling Meadows housing development.
During a public hearing at the regular meeting Monday, township trustees voted to hold off on approving the rezoning of 210 acres of land to a planned development residential district. Currently, the land located between Crottinger Road and Industrial Parkway is zoned rural residential which includes the Rolling Meadows golf course, zoned separately as a Special Recreation District. During meetings dating back to February, the township zoning committee as well as the Logan Union Champaign Regional Planning Commission held several discussions with developers to get changes made to the application before approval by the trustees.
“During the public meetings with the zoning commission, there were really five issues that the zoning commission brought up,” said Aaron Sorrell of Community Planning Insights in Dayton. Sorrell spoke on behalf of the township in the absence of Jerome zoning officer, Mark Spagnuolo. Issues included the number of units per acre, right-of-way setbacks, available green space, general landscaping and flooding concerns.
“The commission wanted to see a reduction in units per acre, getting closer to that 1.6 number that was discussed,” Sorrell said. “What was discussed and approved was 1.79 units per acre. (The commission) said it’s a 15-unit reduction including increased lot widths.” The previous application listed 1.8 units per acre.
There were also concerns with the right-of-way setbacks along Crottinger Road in the initial application. The zoning commission felt that houses were too close to the road.
“The applicant has now essentially lost a row of housing, pushing those units further east and increasing the setback,” Sorrell said.
A major point of contention for both the zoning commission and the more than half a dozen residents who spoke at Monday’s meeting was the inclusion of the golf course as “open green space” in the development. Although the golf course is included in the rezoning application, meets the required percentage of green space in a development and would be considered part of the development land, it is currently privately owned.
“The concern would be that if the golf course ceased operation, who would have the authority to go in and maintenance it,” Sorrell said. “The applicant since revised the zoning text to state the township would have first right of refusal at no cost.” If the township refused, it would fall to the homeowners association. Residents still had concerns citing how the ownership worked if the golf course remained in business.
One of the biggest issues for residents had to do with landfills in the proposed area. There are currently two superfund or polluted land sites, known as the Unico and Hershberger landfills.
“The right of informed choice is an important thing in regard to the superfund sites,” said resident Jim Lawrenz. “If I was moving my family to a site and wanting to make a home, I would want to know I was next to a superfund site.” He added the “caps are failing” and will be replaced but they would likely fail again.
Charles Ruma, president of Virginia Homes, the company planning to build the development, said their company has done their due diligence with regard to environmental concerns.
“We have had Geotechincal Consultants out of Westville performing several tests,” Ruma said. “I can tell you there is nothing that has caused any concerned.”
He added that “minor” traces of some pollutants were found along Crottinger Road but were well below levels deemed acceptable by EPA standards.
“The proposed development near the closed landfills (Unico and Hershberger) has been determined to be safe for zoning as residential,” according to a statement from Anthony Chenault from the Ohio EPA. “The Hershberger landfill site, closest to the proposed development, is under a consent order with Ohio EPA to remove potential exposure to contamination and to prevent contaminants from moving outside the landfill area. There have been multiple inspections at Unico Landfill and no levels of contaminants were detected requiring remedial action.”
Township trustees requested that the studies from Geotechnical Consultants be sent to Jerome to have on file.
The rezoning vote will be back up for a vote at a special meeting on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. in the Jerome Township meeting room.



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