In a “state of the county” address last week, Delaware County Commissioner Jeff Benton called Evans Farm “a whole different concept” that’s very exciting.
“It’s a walk-able neighborhood, so the houses are going to be closer together,” Benton said. “There’s going to be lots of open space, parks, lots of walking paths. It’ll have a neighborhood feel. It’s the potential 2017 Parade of Homes site, and $230 million of total investment.”
What the county calls the Evans Farm Town Center development will eventually include 1,950 single-family homes in Orange and Berlin townships over a 10-year period. This “walk-able neighborhood” will include town centers with retail and office space, a school, parks and a YMCA. Other amenities include baseball diamonds, an agricultural center, a trout stream and a bridge over the railroad tracks.
“This is a neighborhood that embraces the new urbanism design philosophy – essentially, a community where people interact again with their neighbors,” said Ray Hustek, sales director for Evans Farm.
“The way the community is designed, it’s easy to put your car away and you walk, whether it’s to your neighbors, park, grocery, to feel like it’s a place that you call home,” Hustek said. “So many of the suburban subdivisions, people pull their car into the garage and they never see anybody again. They take their cars everywhere and don’t know their neighbors. The idea is to get to know those folks again, instead of hiding in the basement or backyard. We’re designing most of the homes to use large front porches to live around the front of your house again.”
The homes are slightly smaller than many of the new homes being built today, Hustek said, but will feature open, modern floor plans instead of formal living and dining rooms. In addition, buyers will have the option to do more of a custom-build than usual.
“We will have a blend of selling homes that builders build and selling lots to the end-user,” Hustek said. “The resident would actually select the lot, their own architect, their own builder from our list of approved builders. It’s not the typical subdivision where there’s 60 lots and two builders, and you get whichever builder is assigned to that lot. We want consumers to have the ability to control that process. That’s an unusual thing in central Ohio.”
On Monday, Orange Township gave its approval on rezoning applications for what it called the Orange Township Town Center. Hustek said he expects excavation to begin around July 4, and breaking ground on homes and storefronts in the fall.
Developer Daniel W. Griffin said Evans Farm he expects to submit plans to Berlin Township in May, and expects its approval as well.
“We’re building a village that supports itself,” Griffin said of Evans Farm. “This is an Olde Worthington, with quaint shops.”
During the Orange Township hearing, Griffin and Tony Eyerman of Lewis Center-based Evans Farm Land Development Company LLC discussed their vision.
“It’s designed for relationships, and that’s why we spent years putting it together,” Griffin said. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a multi-generational community? We’re passionate about this and proud of it.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.