Development of the Willowbrook apartment complex along South Houk Road in Delaware continues to be met with disdain from residents of neighboring communities, several of whom were in attendance for Monday’s meeting of the Delaware City Council to voice their concerns.
Medrock LLC, the site’s developer, is seeking an amendment to the existing Willbrook Farm Tract PUD Overlay Zoning Text that would allow them to reallocate the number of dwelling units between the two multi-family areas, numbered 3 and 4, that spans approximately 36 acres on the east side of South Houk Road near the Delaware Community Center YMCA.
The developer was previously approved for the construction of a total of 295 units, with caps set at 140 and 155 units between Areas 3 and 4, respectively. Under the proposed amendment, those numbers would shift, decreasing Area 4 by 55 units, while adding 40 to Area 3.
In doing so, the overall density of the project, which is at the heart of the concerns of those who call the surrounding area home, would decrease by 15 units. However, the amendment would make the apartments the most dense development per acre Delaware has seen in at least the past 17 years.
Because of those numbers, several citizens’ opposition to the project had much to do with what they consider an already overflowing school system in the city and the effects the influx will have on nearby Schultz Elementary.
Miles Horton, marketing and public relations director for T&R Properties, was on hand to address the public on behalf of the developers.
“In regards to the school, our evaluations show that this development will be pumping in excess of $400,000 into the Delaware City School system,” Horton stated. “With our demographics search on this area, we do not anticipate this community to have very many children.”
Horton’s projection on the number of children was met with skepticism from both the public and council members, who pressed Horton on how such a conclusion was reached.
While current members of the Willowbrook communities will likely continue their opposition for as long as possible, City Attorney Darren Shulman reminded the room that the overall status of the project isn’t a question.
“If nothing happened today, Mr. (Jeff) Lewis (attorney for developer) and I would agree, they have the right to build 140 in this section and 155 on the other section. The question is whether they can reallocate the densities,” Shulman said.
Council will revisit the subject at the next meeting, set for April 9.
In other news:
• By a 7-0 vote, council approved Vasili Konstantinidis’ appeal to a denial of a Certificate of Appropriateness by the City of Delaware Historic Preservation Commission.
Konstantinidis’ request to reinstate a second storefront entrance at 49 N. Sandusky St. in the Downtown Historic District was originally defeated by a 5-1 vote by the HPC, which cited the building’s failure to meet the Design Review Guidelines.
The applicant is renovating the upstairs portion of the building for future residential use and is planning to install another door on the storefront that would separate the stairs from the entrance to the business portion of the building.