The Delaware Planning Commission approved for City Council consideration the final development plan for the first phase of the Coughlin’s Crossing project, along with a final subdivision plat for the nearly 78-acre site and the vacation of Stratford Drive.
Commission members were pleased with the ease of the process at Wednesday night’s meeting.
“I have to be honest I was excited to see there wasn’t a lot of public in here to talk about Coughlin’s. I feel like maybe this is an example of how to do a development the right way,” said commission Chairman Stacy Simpson.
Commission member Robert Badger agreed.
“I’m really pleased with the way the process this Coughlin’s Crossing has gone and the way everybody worked together and when it got here tonight it sailed though like it should,” he said.
City Council approved the rezoning, a preliminary plan and subdivision plat and conditional use permit late last year for Delaware Development LTD’s planned mixed-use development, located north of Meeker Way between Stratford Road and U.S. 23. The development will have retail, office space and residential areas complemented with green space and parking.
Under Phase 1, the site would be subdivided from the existing 15 parcels to eight lots and four reserve areas to make them pad-ready for commercial sale. It includes the vacation of Stratford Drive that provides access to the Stratford View Subdivision, which is accessible from U.S. 23. The plan would allow the construction of the public spine road, main trunk utilities including storm water basins, the bike path and the northern landscape buffer adjacent to the Elliot Estates subdivision.
The spine road would connect Meeker Way and U.S. 23 with two access points, one at the traffic signal where Wendy’s restaurant is located and the other at a proposed traffic signal for Hawthorn Boulevard.
The bike path would be constructed along Stratford Road from south of Meeker Way to the Elliott Estates. The path would continue west and extend south on the east side of the spine road to cross U.S. 23 at Hawthorn. The developer will need to acquire an easement from the northern lots for another bike path.
Landscaping along Stratford Road and some reserve areas meet or exceed requirements from the preliminary plan, but the proposed northern landscape buffer does not consistently meet the 6-foot-height requirement. The developer last week told city staff that most of the buffer would meet compliance.
“There are a couple of spots we still need to work on … pending approval of Council,” Planning Director Dave Efland said.
Overall, Efland said the phase 1 plan is in complete conformity with what Council approved last year.
“The only little bit unusual condition here for us as Delaware is that we’re typically used to seeing a building with the first final development plan and in this case the applicant has chosen to advance the infrastructure,” he said.
Additionally, the developer would have to pay $100,000 or plant 1,000 caliper inches of removed trees upon approval of the engineering plans for Phase 1.
The developer cleared about half the trees from the site to meet a March 31 deadline set by federal regulators. The developer would then pay the remaining balance of $307,200, or plant 3,072 caliper inches of trees, on an acreage basis as the site develops.
Councilman George Hellinger expressed concern if the developer would pay or plant the balance if the project was put on pause because of economic conditions.
Efland said a schedule was set when the tree clearing permit was issued and has due dates for the payment or planting of trees, regardless if the site was developed over the next decade.
Developer Connie Klema said city staff foresaw that issue before the tree clearing permit was issued. She said working with the city has been a “pleasurable experience” compared with other townships and cities she’s worked with previously.
The developer has hosted two update meetings for area neighbors with space provided by the Delaware County Historical Society, Klema said, with one before the tree clearing and the other last Friday.
“I’m having a wonderful time,” she said.
In other business, the commission:
• Provided feedback on a concept plan of the Burr Oak Commons on about 20.06 acres, located on the north side of State Route 37 west of Westfield Shopping Center and east of the Lantern Chase subdivision. No action was taken because it is in the concept stage. The review will help highlight areas of concern. Treplus Communities is interested in putting up 25 buildings that will have 92 single-story apartments for residents ages 55 and older.
• Approved amendments for Council consideration to the city’s subdivision regulations of the planning and zoning code. The Building Industry Association of Central Ohio initiated a series of meetings with engineering and planning staff to bring concerns about the current process for developers.
Efland said there was a consensus between city staff and the BIA over the amendments. Changes include removing the requirement for Council to accept public improvements via a resolution, a step that could be done at the staff level, he said.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.