As the development of the Evans Farm community in Orange and Berlin townships rolls on, Evans Farm Land Development Company (EFLDC) has set its sights on expanding the community into Delaware. EFLDC representatives were on hand at the Sept. 4 meeting of the Delaware Planning Commission for a Concept Plan review.
The proposed subdivision would include 103 single-family units on approximately 43.85 acres on Peachblow Road, just east of the recently approved Winterbrook Place subdivision and just south of the existing Glenross community.
While the parcel on which the subdivision would be built currently sits in Berlin Township, the process to annex the parcel into Delaware is currently underway. The parcel already exists within Delaware’s utility service area, meaning the city is responsible for providing those services to the parcel, and the plan has long been to annex the land into the city if and when it was developed.
Lot sizes would measure 7,700 square feet with 55-by-140 dimensions, which is in line with most of the units being built in the Orange and Berlin Township communities. However, depending on how the parcel would potentially be zoned, the proposed lot size does not meet the city’s requirements per the Zoning Code. R-2 residential zone, which is what The Communities at Glenross is zoned, requires a minimum of 10,000-square-foot and 70-foot-wide lots. A parcel zoned R-3, such as the Winterbrooke Place development, requires 8,775-square-foot lots with the units being a minimum of 60 feet wide.
The Evans Farm proposal would meet the requirements if zoned R-4, which calls for a 7,200-square-foot minimum and 55-foot-wide lots.
“Overall, it makes sense,” Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said of the annexation. “This is one of the last pieces in the southeast corner of our utility boundary … By our standards, it’s a relatively small annexation at 43 acres.”
Efland acknowledged the logic in EFLDC wanting to design the proposed development in line with the rest of the 1,100-acre Evans Farm development. However, he questioned whether the proposal should be considered more in regard to the rest of Evans Farm or to the city’s nearby developments, given that this proposed portion of Evans Farm is disjointed from the rest of the development.
“There’s no particular reason not to allow it to continue to be part of Evans Farm and those architectural requirements, which are very well-written, I think, and very high standards, from my perspective,” Efland said.
Efland added he was more focused on the buffering that will separate the Evans Farm development from the communities north and west of the parcel, as well as the existing homes to the east.
Tony Eyerman, speaking as part of the EFLDC representation on hand for the Sept. 4 meeting, spoke of the Evans family’s desire to keep the entire Evans Farm development the same.
“Their commitment through Orange Township, to Berlin Township, to the City of Delaware, is that they insisted to (their developers) that they want a seamless community,” Eyerman said. “So, as seamless as we can be is where we’re being driven from their side. We understand the city is a little bit different from the township … It’s their single vision for their entire farm (to be seamless).”
Another area of the Evans Farm proposal that currently does not meet the city’s zoning code is the unit setback requirements. The front yard setback of the proposed 103 units is a minimum of 10 feet; the front yard setback of the Glenross and Winterbrook communities is 25 feet.
Dan Griffin, of EFLDC, said of the proposed setback, “One of our incorporations has always been that we want people to be neighbors and be on their front porch and not be looking down the street at a bunch of parked cars and not know their neighbors.”
He added the smaller front yard setback also allows for the homes to have a bigger back yard. The back yard setback for the Evans Farm units is 35 feet, which is more than the 30-foot setback of the neighboring communities.
Griffin said the smaller front setback and emphasis on front porches is part of the “new urbanism” theme that has been the selling point of the entire Evans Farm development. Eyerman said “connectivity” and the idea of a “walkable community” is among the chief principles of new urbanism.
“It’s a social connectivity as well as it is a physical connectivity,” Eyerman said. “You have streets that are connecting to neighboring communities, whether they’re new urbanism or not. It still allows for that interaction of people.”
Asked by Vice Chairman George Mantzoros if they had calculated how many lots the proposed development could fit if the development’s lots are ultimately held to the specifications of the city’s zoning code, Eyerman said he had not made those calculations.
No action was taken because the request was simply a review of the concept proposed by Evans Farm. Elaine McCloskey, city council clerk, estimated a zoning and final annexation decision could be before Delaware City Council at its first meeting in November if everything remains on track.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.