A potential 78-acre development along U.S. 23 and Stratford Road was met with mostly positive reactions at a Delaware City Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday.
The mixed-use development could include eight commercial buildings and a senior living facility, with 39 percent of the site as green space. The architectural design of the buildings would incorporate elements of barns.
“I can’t imagine a better place than to take what has been existing in this area and use it between 23 and Stratford Road for something that I think is going to be a benefit to the neighbors, and to the city itself,” said Connie Klema of Delaware Development Plan Ltd. “It’s a dream site.”
Klema said she was sensitive to the area’s historical heritage, and she met with people who lived on Stratford Road to get their feedback. The concept plans have been revised 15 times, she said.
“We designed this site starting at Stratford Road moving west,” Klema said. “I do not want to put a mound next to Stratford Road to shield it from something else. Why not build something that blends in with the community? Why not have a road that has no sidewalks (currently) have a scenic area of walking?”
The applicant said she has already purchased all the pieces of property, including the Stratford View subdivision. Four of the 14 property parcels are in the city, and the rest is in Delaware Township. The parcels would have to be annexed into the city before rezoning could occur.
“Anybody hooking into our utilities will need to be annexed,” said City Planning and Community Development Director David Efland. Attorney Michael Shade said residents in the area would get to vote for both city and township candidates and issues.
Another component of the development, a road called Meeker Way, would be constructed by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Meeker Way would connect U.S. 23 with Stratford Road and include a bridge over the Olentangy River, with a “spine” road going into the development.
Representatives for the applicant said they were working on a traffic study.
The public was given a chance to comment on the development. Concerns included traffic on Stratford Road, jurisdictions, erosion and drainage into the river, an existing underground passageway that could be used for pedestrians, and the impact on neighboring properties.
However, others who had been previously opposed to development in the area said they were changing their thinking.
“The Stratford milling area has a long history, and we’d like to see it stay that way,” said Roger Koch, vice president of the Delaware County Historical Society, which owns the property that will be immediately south of Meeker Way, the Meeker 1820s house and 1840s barn. “So far, what we have seen of Miss Klema’s plans are probably our best shot of maintaining the nature of the area.”
Commission members’ reactions ranged from a “home run” to concerns about how the development fits in with the city’s comprehensive plan, the number of road access points and signage.
“Overall, there’s a good vision here,” said commission vice chairman Stacy Simpson. “There’s a little ways to go, but for a first pass, you can tell you put a lot of time and thought into this.”
“It’s early, but I think Klema has done a really good job in being cooperative and reaching out to the neighbors and the community, holding meetings, describing what her project will be, and actually changing her project (after) receiving input,” Efland said. He said he hoped that cooperation would continue moving forward.
Since this was a concept plan, no action was taken by the commission. The applicant would have to come back with preliminary and final development plans for approval by the commission and City Council in order to proceed.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.