Vast changes could be coming to northwest Delaware as the city’s Planning Commission listened to a preliminary concept review for a 272-acre mixed-use development that would be northeast of Smith Park between U.S. Route 23 and Troy Road during its meeting on Wednesday evening.
Under Beachwood, Ohio-based Addison Properties’ proposed development, 242 acres of the land would be developed, and approximately 31 acres would serve as right-of-way for traffic. The development would be divided into nine planned overlay districts (POD) labeled A-I. Four of the PODs have proposed residential site layouts of several different styles, including townhomes and single-family residential units.
According to site layout, POD A would be designated for two or three-story townhomes and multi-family residential units. POD F shows proposed two or three-story residential units, while POD G shows a mixture of multi-family units and light office or retail space. POD H, which represents the easternmost portion of the development and sits just off of U.S. Route 23, shows a mixture of commercial use, restaurants, and a gas station. POD I’s use will be residential, although the exact type has not been determined.
Regarding the potential inclusion of a gas station in POD H, Addison Properties President Jason Friedman said with a coy smile, “It has a gas station (on the plan), but it’s much more than a gas station user that is interested, and it’s very, very interesting. There are some more good things to come, I think.”
In total, PODs B-E would contain a total of 684 dwelling units on approximately 147.4 acres for a density of 4.64 units per acre. The density of PODs A and F-I are not yet known.
Nearly 249 acres of the proposed development already exist within the city, but a small, approximately 24-acre section that extends north to Hills-Miller Road would need to be annexed into Delaware from Troy Township. Planning and Zoning Administrator Lance Schultz recommended POD F, which is as it currently sits is almost entirely made up of trees, be fully preserved to make up for the number of trees that will need to be removed throughout the rest of the site, which he said will be expensive for the developers to account for their replacements.
Schultz said the developer will need to conduct a traffic impact study that would need to be approved by the city, county, and with the Ohio Department of Transportation since the entirety of the site covers all three jurisdictions. The developers would be responsible for any improvements necessary as a result of the study.
As part of the proposal, Merrick Parkway would be extended from U.S. Route 23 to the railroad tracks southeast of Smith Park and, eventually, over the tracks to connect with the existing Merrick Boulevard west of Troy Road. As a north-south connector, Heritage Boulevard would be extended north to Hills-Miller Road.
Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland said the city has been impressed so far with Addison Properties’ approach to the project so far, adding the city is just getting to know the development team and will get to know them even better as the process of planning the project proceeds.
“I think what you’re proposing here is pretty incredible. I also think it is very appropriate,” Planning Commission Chairman Stacy Simpson told the development team during the meeting. “Having been on the Delaware Together Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, I can tell you that I think most of the members of the committee, if not all of them, would be very supportive of what I see here tonight.
“I can tell you put a lot of thought and a lot of due diligence into this, and I think that is really appreciated. This is not a half-baked idea … I can tell that you really do care about the community and have a passion for what you’re doing, which means that through this process, you’re probably going to take that same vigor and bring it back with every project that comes before us, which I like.”
Simpson pointed out the vast change the project would bring to an area where many of the adjacent residents have lived for quite some time, and he advised the developers to do whatever they can to get those residents on board with the plans.
“I think a lot of times, people in the community feel like they’re in the dark on what’s going on because they don’t read the newspaper, they don’t get online to see what’s happening,” Simpson said. “And I think the more you can bring the community along with you and get them to buy in, get their consensus, I think the easier it’ll make this process for you. Because this is such a dramatic change, but I think it is a positive change. I think the community can get behind it as long as they feel as if they’re included, at least in the information part of the process.”
Attorney Steve Martin, who is representing Addison Properties on the project, said the plan has always been to work with residents in the area moving forward. However, he said his team didn’t want to present anything to residents until the concept had first gone before the city and received feedback.
“We’re very excited about this project,” Friedman told the Delaware Planning Commission. “We feel it is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of a community that is climbing … (Delaware) is a little gem, and that’s been our history, finding little gems within bigger parts of states and cities like Columbus and Cleveland.”
While there was general excitement expressed by the planning commission during Wednesday’s presentation of the concept review, many steps still remain before the developers are back in front of the commission with a preliminary development plan. However, Simpson closed by saying he is “very excited to see how this goes,” adding, “A lot of us would like to see this built tomorrow.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.