Delaware moves forward with retail, residential development

Delaware City Council is moving forward with several development projects.

Council last week discussed some of the changes for Jackson Real Estate and Development’s (JRED) final development plan. It plans to construct a 6,715-square-foot building located on a lot in front of the former Buehler’s Fresh Foods grocery store and next door to the Panera Bread at 750 W. Central Ave.

The discussion focused on city staff’s recommendation to remove a requirement for the developer to widen Central Avenue and construct a turn lane for eastbound traffic, because traffic was expected to be minimal even if the former grocery store was filled.

Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said the third and the second lot’s developer would each contribute $50,000 for the estimated $220,000 project. He said a non-school tax increment financing mechanism could be used to offset costs for the turn lane if it was needed.

Economic Development Director Sean Hughes said the store’s prospective tenants were informed they would not be required to pay for those improvements.

JRED’s building will have room for four prospective tenants, including a dentist’s office and First Commonwealth Bank, which will relocate from the vacant grocery store.

Council approved a final development plan in August 2013 for the construction of up to three buildings on separate lots. Panera Bread constructed the first building in 2014 with Jackson’s building to be the second. He also has the first right of refusal for the third lot.

Council held a public hearing to approve a rezoning amendment, a conditional use permit, and a preliminary development plan for Treplus Communities to construct the Burr Oaks Commons. The 20.06-acre development is located on the north side of State Route 37, west of the Westfield Shopping Center and east of the Lantern Chase Subdivision. It will have 25 buildings for a total of 92 apartments combined.

The Delaware Planning Commission supported the development plans after hearing concerns from some nearby residents.

The apartments will be open to residents age 55 and older and compliant with the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995. Eighty percent of the apartments must be occupied by the marketed age group.

Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle said she did not like the pinch-point access from State Route 37. She would like for there to be an emergency access on the other side of the development.

Efland said five alternatives are being considered before a final development plan is submitted.

Andrew Lukens, a director on the Lantern Chase Home Owners Association, expressed concerns about wildlife, mounding between the development and nearby homes, and the possible location of the emergency access near a resident’s home. Lukens said residents in his subdivision believe the access would reduce property values. He asked council to postpone the vote to allow more time to work with the developer.

Additionally, council approved a new McDonald’s building at 2091 U.S. 23 N. The estimated 3,915-square-foot fast food chain will replace the original McDonald’s built in 1985. In 2013, McDonald’s received approval for a permit and combined preliminary and final development plan for exterior renovations of the building. But the changes never happened.

The new McDonald’s will have 53 parking spaces and two drive-through lanes. The restaurant will be limited to a right turn-in only access from U.S. 23 along with two full movement curbs from the private access road between the building and the Wendy’s, where a traffic signal is located.

McDonald’s officials would like to break ground before the end of the year, said Joe Smiley, president of Land Strategies. Smiley said it could take 90 to 120 days to complete the project.

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By Brandon Klein

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