Plain City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to approve the plan, pictured above, for the proposed Oak Grove development. The planning and zoning commission recommended denial of the initial plan in November 2019. However, miscommunication between the developers and village staff led council to send the application back to the commission for further review. Since then, the commission has met twice and now recommends approval with conditions, including that the designated open space will be owned and maintained by the homeowners association. (Graphic submitted)
The fate of a proposed Plain City development has returned to council after a nearly year-long hiatus.
During Monday’s meeting, village council heard the first reading of a new ordinance to approve the plan and text for the Oak Grove development. If passed, it would create 235 single-family lots along U.S. 42, on the south end of the village.
“I know this project has taken many moons back and forth to get to fruition,” Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said.
Council heard an earlier version of the ordinance to approve the final development plan in February.
At that reading, council received a recommendation from the planning and zoning commission to deny the application.
Cahall said the commission suggested denial in November 2019 due to missing “information and documentation” from the developers. He said village staff repeatedly reached out to developers for comments but did not receive a response.
However, developers from the Evergreen Land Company argued that miscommunication from village staff led to confusion and a lack of information provided by the applicants.
Council agreed there was a misunderstanding between the two parties and chose to send the application back to the planning and zoning commission for further review.
Since then, Cahall said the commission has met on two occasions and recommended approval of a revised application, with conditions.
According to a letter from Zoning Inspector Taylor Brill, six conditions were set.
Most revolve around interconnectivity to the nearby Madison Meadows development and pedestrian access.
For instance, the bike and walking paths must be constructed of material that abides by Village Code and meets Ohio Environmental Protection Agency standards, and the path along U.S. 42 must be eight feet wide.
Additionally, all open spaces that were identified as “Village Open Space” will be owned and maintained by the Oak Grove homeowners association.
Council member Frank Reed asked if it was appropriate for council to approve an application if the conditions set were not met.
He said he is not inclined to approve with conditions, “especially with some of our developers who are not necessarily quick to resolve issues or pay attention to loose ends.”
Cahall said the conditions should not necessarily deter council from approving the application.
“It’s not atypical for a project of this size to be approved with some conditions that are handled at a staff level,” he said.
Council member Shannon Pine, who sits on the planning and zoning commission, noted that the developer has agreed to all of the conditions. She said they just were not included in the plan at the time of the meeting.
Faye Cox, an attorney representing the applicant, agreed with Pine’s assessment.
No action was taken after hearing the first reading of the ordinance. The legislation will continue to move through council before a vote is taken following the third reading.
In other business:
– Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to waive capacity fees for fire suppression systems installed in the Historic Uptown District.
The board first discussed the waiving the $37,000 fee during the Oct. 26 council meeting. Several council members showed support, adding they felt it could help to preserve historic buildings and encourage occupancy on the second floors.
At the time, Reed said he felt it would only benefit one business, as the owner of The Grainery, Tim Dawson, suggested the waiver to Mayor Jody Carney.
Reed also said he did not feel the waiver would benefit the historic district or the village as a whole.
On Monday, he said he felt the waiver should apply to the entire village.
“It would seem to make sense to just make it village-wide,” Reed said.
Other council members disagreed and emphasized the need within the Uptown district.
However, a motion to waive three readings did not pass. The legislation will continue to a second reading at the next council meeting, Nov. 23.