give 1st approval of Hull Court development
The Village Planning Commission on Monday unanimously approved the site
development plan for the Hull Court Community, which will be located on
the west side of Xenia Avenue between Allen and Herman Streets.
Commissions recommendation sends the development plans on to Village
Council, which has final say over the plan. Council will hold a first
reading at its meeting May 5, then a second reading sometime in June,
Village Manager Rob Hillard said.
Site developer Ted Donnell, the president of Axis Architecture, said he
was pleased with Planning Commissions discussion, which took place
at a special meeting April 28.
I was tickled to death with the way it went last night, Donnell
said Tuesday. Its refreshing to have the process work the
way its intended to work.
The first public hearing held two weeks ago to discuss the three-acre
development got tense when commission members tried to review the site
plans without technical and legal advice from field experts.
At Mondays meeting, the commission invited Assistant Village Solicitor
Drew Gleason and environmental engineer John Eastman of Lockwood, Jones
and Beal, Inc. to provide consultation.
I credit Rob and his ability to bring in John Eastman and the solicitor
and allow them as professionals to address the issues as needed,
Planning Commission added a few conditions to its recommendation, urging
that the final plans for infrastructure, such as parking, water and sanitary
systems and stormwater retention, conform with public standards at the
time of construction. The recommendation also urged Donnell to clarify
the time ownership will be transferred from his firm to a homeowners
association, the body responsible for maintaining the 10-house communitys
utilities and common areas.
Several Hull Court neighbors brought additional concerns about the potential
effects of the development on their properties. Arnold Pence, whose farm
property borders the back of the proposed community, suggested that the
association should be held responsible in the form of a bond to maintain
the stormwater drainage system and prevent water from leaching onto his
Gleason assured residents that they would have legal recourse if the association
failed to maintain the drainage system. Eastman noted that because the
surrounding areas have a history of flooding, project engineers designed
the drainage system with a capacity to hold more water than typically
collects on both the Hull Court parcel and on several of the neighboring
properties. He estimated the drainage system would be more than ample
for the entire Hull Court neighborhood.
Were not just taking care of our stormwater, were also
taking on all the surrounding properties and the neighbors
stormwater, Donnell said after the meeting. Give me credit
for taking care of a problem thats been created over the past.
Other neighbors concerns about the site plan were addressed to the
commissions satisfaction during the meeting, members said.
Planning Commission has not deliberated on site plan reviews very often,
Hillard said, noting that the commission did its best to do a thorough
review of the development plans. The very nature of the site plan review
process was written into the Village Zoning Code a decade ago to encourage
innovative low-cost building projects, he said, and the fact that plan
board has now gone through a site plan review will speed up future reviews.
But Donnell believes the Zoning Code should be amended to spare commission
members the burden of evaluating complex engineering plans that are, he
said, detailed beyond their expertise.
Ultimately we will see a change in how the local Zoning Code is
written, he said. Planning Commission is in a position where
they have to make these technical decisions that are way over their heads,
and its not their job to be qualified for that.
Donnell said that he will continue working with the community to meet
the requirements for the final project approval.
This particular development is without a doubt the most sustainable
community this village has ever seen, he said. We all have
the same goal, to create a nice project and have the health and safety
of the community enhanced by doing it.