Still no decision on Rolling Meadows project

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After more than two hours of discussion, the Jerome Township trustees decided to again postpone their decision on the proposed Rolling Meadows housing development.

At the public hearing Tuesday evening, the board discussed the measure but ultimately moved the vote to Tuesday, July 2.

During the occasionally contentious meeting, trustees heard from representatives of Virginia Homes, the developer proposing the project; Laura Comek, the developer’s legal counsel and residents of the township.

The meeting was held after a sequence of hearings dating back to February when the initial plans were submitted to the Logan-Union-Champaign (LUC) Regional Planning Commission.

As the application currently appears, Virginia Homes is proposing a 378-unit residential development on 210 acres of land located around the Rolling Meadows Golf Course between Industrial Parkway and Crottinger Road.

“It seems there was a variety of issues that had been brought up over the course of all these hearings but in general, the main issues have to deal with the Hershberger and Unico landfills which are on the opposite side of Crottinger Road,” said Mark Spagnuolo, the township zoning officer. “The other issue we discussed a lot was the use and dedication of open space.”

The developer is proposing the project with sections of the golf course counting as incorporated green space.

Township code requires 20% green space for a project and the proposed development will have between 40 and 45% green space when the existing golf course land is included with planned open space.

At a previous meeting, the trustees requested more information from the developer including studies conducted on the landfill sites before a decision was made.

“We have complied with all the recommendations that the LUC has set forth,” said Charles Ruma, owner of Virginia Homes. “We have really answered every question asked up to this point.”

Laura Comek, the developer’s attorney, said they provided to the information requested by the trustees but had also included the information in the initial application. She added that the landfills had been cleared by both Geotechnical Consultants of Westerville and the Ohio EPA.

An additional question posed by both residents and trustees was how would the golf course be handled in the future if the business closed or was taken over by new owners.

“At the last full hearing there was a question about the use of the golf course as open space and the steps we can take legally to put the township in the best position if things happen,” Comek said. “We provided four layers of protection.”

The first layer would be zoning which is already in place via the township code. The second layer is language written into the deed restrictions. Third is a built-in option agreement that would give the land to the trustees and finally, if the trustees don’t want it, the land would go to the future homeowners association.

“We appreciate the work put into doing this and getting things right,” said Trustee Ron Rhodes. “One of our biggest issues is that this type of development, including the golf course, is something completely new to us.”

Half a dozen residents spoke on the matter, mostly citing concerns over the environmental impact, both in terms of the landfill sites and destroying trees.

The developer said that more than 1,300 additional trees will be planted on the site.

“My biggest hiccup with all this is really the green space available,” said Trustee CJ Lovejoy. “I know this is typical of developments in other areas but this is new to us and I don’t want to go down that road until we’re sure.”

The board discussed the measure and decided to hold the decision until their next regular meeting on Tuesday, July 2 at 7 p.m.

“This version of the plan looks much better than what was initially shown to us,” said Trustee Joe Craft. “After this discussion, I think we feel it’s best to absorb all this information and bring it back at our next meeting.”



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