Plain City leaders have officially signed off on a zoning change for a new housing development, which could spur the addition of a roundabout at a nearby intersection sometime in the future.
Darby Fields, which will include lots for 236 single-family homes, will be located south of Plain City Elementary School and adjacent to the intersection of Plain City-Georgesville and Converse-Huff roads.
Final approval was stalled for about a month while officials negotiated with the developer, M/I Homes, over who would pay to improve the intersection, which some say is already too dangerous, and what that improvement would look like.
Council approved the zoning change 5-1, with council member John Rucker voting no. He was previously voiced concerns over traffic safety at the intersection.
The developer’s traffic study determined left turn lanes would not be required at the subdivision’s two entrances. One entrance is located at Plain City-Georgesville Road and the other is at Converse-Huff Road. The study also determined the intersection of the roads will not require a light.
Madison County Engineer Bryan Dhume agreed with those findings. He believes a roundabout, also known as a traffic circle, is the best solution.
“They eliminate the more severe T-bone type of crashes,” Dhume said. “If they’re designed right, they get you in that intersection at an angle at a lower speed.”
Dhume admitted roundabouts do not have the most popular reputation. But, modern roundabouts are designed better, he said.
“There’s a lot of bad ones out there — Hilliard, Dublin, Delaware County,” he said. “But the newer ones are designed well and traffic flows through them well. And, people are getting used to them.”
But, the change isn’t needed quite yet, Dhume said. It’s about thinking ahead for the future and additional development. He anticipates the roundabout wouldn’t be constructed until near the housing development’s completion, estimated to be six years away.
The two-lane roundabout would likely cost between $1 million and $2 million to construct, based on Dhume’s research.
Village administrator Kevin Vaughn said M/I Homes has agreed to take on half of that cost.
The developer will also pay to extend the sidewalk between the housing development and the elementary school, as well as 30 percent of the cost of extending and increasing the water lines down Chillicothe Street and to the development.
“We’re charging them for what we believe is their fair share,” Vaughn said.
The developer will pay for the projects by paying a $4,000 building permit fee each time a new house is constructed. That’s on top of the water and sewer hook-up fees. The village charges $12,065 per house, but will give M\I a 10 percent discount.
At the end of the day, M/I is expected to pay about $3.58 to the village as a result of Darby Fields, Vaughn said. About $118,000 of that will be in fees toward park improvements. He noted that money will help to pay off the outstanding loan balance of $2.576 on the sewer plant.
The development, the first in the area since 2002, will be constructed in six phases across 117 acres. About 51 percent of the project is open space.
Homes in the subdivision will be priced in the $250,000 to $300,000 range. Currently, there are six models owners will be able to choose among, ranging in square feet from 1,440 to 2,507. The homes are three and four bedrooms with two-car garages.
“We think its a good project for the village,” said Vaughn. “It’s going to be great for younger families.”
A model home is expected to be built this fall.
In other business at Monday’s meeting:
• Council held a second reading on an ordinance to ban the sale, processing and cultivation of medical marijuana within village limits. It passed 4-2, with council members Nick Kennedy and Leslie Perkins voting no.
• Immediately following the vote on the medical marijuana ordinance, council unanimously approved a resolution for the same ban. The idea is that the resolution will protect the village until the ordinance is passed after three readings and during the 30-day referendum period. The moratorium passed as an emergency, suspending the three-reading rule.
• Council passed six ordinances regarding bonds for various improvements, including the water system, sewer system, building improvements, street improvements, park improvements and equipment. All passed unanimously, with the exception of Kennedy voting no on the building improvement ordinance.
The village is proposing to borrow up to $4.5 million to tackle capital improvement projects, using money collected by the village’s half-percent income tax to make the loan payments.
Monday’s vote does not necessarily execute the loans. It allows the administration to spend anything under a $50,000 threshold. All other projects will be subject to a bidding process and require council’s vote to execute.
• Kennedy reported Plain City police Lt. Tom Jaskiewicz resigned from the parks committee.
• Vaughn reported the village has completed negotiations for a new electrical aggregation contract with AEP energy for 5 cents per kilowatt. He expects to save $12,000 in a year.
Reach Andrea Chaffin at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619, and on Twitter @AndeeWrites.