Commission OKs OWU housing developments


The Delaware Planning Commission has a new chairman and vice chairman after Wednesday’s meeting.

Stacy Simpson was voted in unanimously as the new chairman of the commission, while George Mantzoros became Simpson’s replacement as the new vice chairman.

The commission approved the plans for two of Ohio Wesleyan University’s housing projects.

OWU received a donation to replace a small living unit, or SLU, with an Honors House, 81 Oak Hill Ave., to accommodate 27 students compared with 11 students at the existing structure, which is dated and is in need of repairs.

The commission approved the combined preliminary and final development plan for the project.

It also approved the final development plan for one of OWU’s new small living units, or SLUs. The duplex-style housing structures are designed as intentional communities for students who want explore, educate and share an avid interest on campus. The university has seven SLUs with House of Peace and Justice and House of Linguistic Diversity accommodated at the two recently completed SLUs on Rowland Avenue.

An SLU can accommodate up to 24 students, said Cole Hatcher, OWU’s director of media and community relations.

According to the project’s architects, the new buildings would replace older, hard to maintain building and would locate most of the SLUs along Rowland Avenue to link the student residential area with the academic. The ultimate goal in the future is to abandon Rowland Avenue for vehicular travel and to extend the “jaywalk concept” and be exclusive for pedestrians.

Council approved the preliminary plans for Phases 1 through 5 of the project in August 2015. Phase 1 and 2 have been completed and are both occupied.

“We got a positive response from students,” said Peter Schantz, Ohio Wesleyan’s director of physical planning and operations.

The commission approved the final development plan for Phase 3, which would be located between the two completed SLUs.

City and OWU officials have proposed changes to the preliminary development plan to move Phase 4 SLU from Rowland Avenue to along South Liberty Street just north of the Phase 1 SLU, because a private access easement prohibits the construction of four SLUs along Rowland. But an originally contemplated detention pond at that location is no longer needed because the city has more detailed information about the storm water.

Schantz said both projects are expected to be completed before the upcoming fall semester.

In addition, the commission approved Homerock LLC’s final subdivision plat for Braumiller Woods Section 3 along Colony Ridge and Buena Park drives. This is the final section for the subdivision that will consist 119 homes over 49.7 acres. Council approved the preliminary plat in 2004, the same year a final plat was approved for Section 1 that consisted of 35 single-family lots, while the plat for Section 2 with 23 lots was approved in 2012.

But the plat for Section 3 will have 38 single-family lots instead of 42 as originally planned.

Dean Prall was the only commission member who voted against the plan.

He pointed out to the developer that some of the single-family lots’ property lines backed up to a pond.

“They’re backed up to right up, you know, to about a half dozen homes and more,” he said. “What type of mounding, fencing, protection are you going to offer to those homeowners. This is a little-kid area, it’s a little-kid development. Typically, we see these basins off the major parkways, not in somebody’s backyard.”

Jim Lipnos of Homerock said the top of the bank is sloped about 20 feet away from the property line.

City officials said potential homeowners will see the pond before purchasing the home and can decide whether they want a fence, but Prall said he would like to see the developer provide the fencing.

“If one homeowner does it, that’s great, but the other 11 do not, then you’re going to have toddler and whatever access, 20 feet off the edge of their property line,” he said.

Planning Director Dave Efland said it will be evident for homeowners that they will have a pond behind their backyard.

“The odds are, everyone’s going to fence their yard,” he said.

Additionally, the commission tabled a proposed amendment for codified ordinance section 1168.07. The change would allow the Tree Bank Fund dollars to be used for the planting and installation of trees on public property at any location within the city including the right-of-way. The fund is an option for developers and property owners that are required to replace removed trees.

The city’s Shade Tree Commission discussed the amendment at its last meeting, but have not finalized its recommendation for the Planning Commission’s consideration. City Council will have the final say.

The vacation of an alley east of Euclid Avenue between West Fountain and West Lincoln avenues was tabled indefinitely. Cory Hupp and his wife, who live on Euclid, wanted to take ownership of the alley to improve its maintenance.

But the Hupps were unable to come to an agreement with adjacent property owners, Efland said.

The planning director also apologized for the omission of the alley vacation and the election of officers from the agenda.

‘We’re going through some changes and we’ll get that corrected,” Efland said.

The commission’s next meeting is March 1.

A conceptual drawing of the small living units at Ohio Wesleyan University. The Delaware Planning Commission approved a final plan on Feb. 1, for the third SLU, second from the left, which is expected to be completed before the Fall 2017 semester. conceptual drawing of the small living units at Ohio Wesleyan University. The Delaware Planning Commission approved a final plan on Feb. 1, for the third SLU, second from the left, which is expected to be completed before the Fall 2017 semester. Courtesy illustration

By Brandon Klein

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Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.

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