An amended agreement for Pulte Homes’ Sunbury Meadows East development has been approved by the Sunbury Planning and Zoning Commission, and now goes to Village Council.
During an Aug. 28 zoning commission meeting, Pulte Homes, represented by Steve Peck, had sought approval for a restated and amended 2005 development standards agreement for the portion of Sunbury Meadows on the east side of State Route 3. Zoning commission members had a lengthy list of concerns about the request but, because of public hearing time constraints, they left the public hearing open until the Oct. 26 zoning meeting.
One point of contention was the possibility of multi-family housing in the development’s two “flex” areas. Last week, Peck came back with a revised plan, and something commission members wanted to hear.
“The largest two things causing heartburn are the swing sites,” Peck said. “Any reference to multi-family has been removed. Those sites could contain a community center, an assisted living facility, empty-nester homes, or single-family homes.”
There had also been concerns about the original development plan’s allowance for homes as small as 1,450 square feet. Peck said Pulte Homes does not build that small, but did say the new plan states that no more than 10 percent of lots would have structures on them between 1,450 and 1,550 square feet, all empty-nester models.
“There will also be an architectural review if any third party builds on that side of the development,” Peck said. “That would be primarily in the empty-nester product. Pulte Homes only has a few ranches at 1,500 square feet, and none of those are planned for this project.”
Sunbury’s consulting engineer, Wes Hall of CT Consultants, said that the 10 percent limit on homes under 1,550 square feet was a good condition, as were the architectural review standards.
“The exterior finishes have to be substantially similar to homes on the west side of Route 3,” Hall said. “That’s new language that covers single-family homes and low-maintenance empty-nester homes. The architectural review reference will use homes on the west side as a control.”
Peck said Pulte Homes would start developing homes at three price points. Empty-nester units would be in the $220,000 to $270,000 range. He did not have firm dollar amounts for the other two prices ranges, but did say one would be on 75-foot wide lots and similar to homes in Sunbury Meadows Section 1 and Section 7; the other would be similar to homes in Sunbury Meadows sections 2 through 6.
“We would like to get going next year, not including Section 8, at all price points,” Peck said. “We will do three products at one time and be selling by the end of next year. If we get a good feeling, we would start with pipe in March, paving in August, then permitting and closing at the end of 2016 or early 2017.”
Peck said commercial development along Route 3 that’s outlined in the original 2005 development plan would remain unchanged.
When a resident asked about the impact of the east side of Sunbury Meadows on Big Walnut schools, Mayor Tommy Hatfield reminded everyone that the entire Sunbury Meadows development is under the umbrella of a 20-year, 9-mill New Community Authority dedicated to the school district.
Village Solicitor David Brehm said that when Nestlé left Sunbury in the 1990s and the area was rezoned, it was stated that whatever happens, the school district must not suffer.
“This village has 1,300 units coming with Fisher Homes, Pulte Homes, the golf course property, and Sunbury Pointe Apartments,” Brehm said. “We’ve been cognizant of our schools as far back as 11 or 12 years ago. We’re trying as best we can. It’s not an exact science but, with more higher-priced homes on the east side of Sunbury Meadows, we see that as a plus for schools.”
Commission members approved the restated and amended development standards agreement for Sunbury Meadows East. The amended development standards will now go to Sunbury Village Council for three readings and a vote. If approved by council, there would be a statutory 30-day referendum period before the changes become effective.
Following the vote, Hatfield noted that in addition to 1,300 residential units on Sunbury’s doorstep, commercial development west of the village would create additional strain on village services.
“It’s exciting knowing there’s no multi-family options left on the table by Pulte Homes,” he said. “That’s a huge plus. But I feel like the perfect storm is brewing over Sunbury.”