New development has eye on Plain City

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Plain City Council approved preliminary plans Monday to bring a residential development to the McKitrick Farms property.
The applicant, M/I Homes, requested council rezone 335.83 acres located along Route 161 to a Planned Residential District (PRD) for the Darby Station Residential Development.
Josh Barkan, with M/I Homes, said the development will resemble the Darby Fields development but “hit all levels.”
“We saw Darby Fields as a tremendous partnership with the village,” Barkan said, noting that it was one of the three top-selling communities in Central Ohio.
Unlike Darby Fields, Barkan said the new development will “introduce diversity of housing products.”
He said Darby Station will have homes for young families, as he said Darby Fields indicated a demand for that market, along with “some move-up or second move-up housing.”
There is also a portion of the development he referred to as a “pocket community” for empty nesters, called The Retreat.
Barkan said an area of the property is also reserved for either multi-family units or the site of a future elementary school in the Jonathan Alder Local Schools District.
He said the district has the first right of refusal and is currently working to determine where the best location for a new building would be.
Metro Parks is interested in the green space along the west and east banks of Darby Creek on the property, Barkan said. He said the agency may create a canoe livery or an educational camp area if it acquires the land.
According to a document from Zoning Official Taylor Brill, the planning and zoning commission recommended approval of the rezoning application and preliminary development plan on Sept. 16.
The recommendation for approval had two conditions.
First, the applicant will work with village staff “on a phasing plan that coincides with the utility capacity as it becomes available.” The applicant will also present alternatives to the traffic signal at the main entrance of the development, on Route 161, at the time of the final development plan review.
As far as sewer capacity concerns, Barkan said the developer understands the village’s current capacity and growth anticipated with the Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion project.
If the expansion goes as planned and capacity is bid out by April, he said the development should not encounter any sewer capacity issues.
“That should be a non-issue assuming things keep moving forward on that front,” Barkan said.
He said the planning and zoning commission also recommended M/I Homes consider adding a traffic circle rather than signal at the Route 161 entrance.
M/I Homes conducted a traffic study that called for a signal “at basically full build-out” that would also include the widening of Route 161, Barkan said.
He said a traffic circle is approximately $500,000 more expensive than the planned $1.5- to $1.6 million improvements.
However, Barkan said the applicant is willing to “front the bill” of a traffic circle if they would be fielded the differential in cost through impact fees.
Village Administrator Cahall said the village has requested the roundabout is initially designed with a single lane, but infrastructure allows a concentric lane to be added in the future as growth occurs.
Council member Frank Reed asked if it would be possible to vote for a “conditional approval” of the rezoning and preliminary development plan, contingent on the two recommended changes.
Cahall said approval at this point is essentially conditional, as a final development plan, record plan and platting process will require review by the planning and zoning commission and approval by council.
Council voted 4-2 in favor, with Reed and Council member John Rucker dissenting.



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