A public hearing was scheduled for last week’s Sunbury Village Council meeting to hear Pulte Homes’ rezoning request for the portion of Sunbury Meadows east of State Route 3.
It was discovered that Pulte Homes had not mailed all of the required notices to nearby property owners so the public hearing was continued until the Wednesday, Jan. 6, council meeting.
Also on the Dec. 2 agenda was the Cockrell annexation request.
During the Nov. 18 council meeting, council members held first readings of two ordinances — one for an annexation agreement for 78.8229 acres in Berkshire Township owned by Margaret Ann and David Bruce Cockrell; the other, if approved, would accept the petition for annexation.
The annexation request has one unusual component. Ohio Revised Code mandates that an “Expedited Type II” annexation must have 5 percent of its border touching existing village property (the Cockrell annexation has a 7.4 percent contiguous border with the village). The Cockrell property is on the east side of Interstate 71, but the village property it touches is on the west side of I-71, and was also recently annexed.
Last week council members held second readings of both ordinances.
Several area residents were in chambers and asked council members how the property would be developed if annexed into the village.
Village Solicitor David Brehm said the property owners requested the annexation, but have not indicated any future use once village services are available.
“You can’t re-zone a property until you annex,” Brehm said. “But I can assure you that this property will be annexed and it will be sold and it will be developed. Property owners do things like this for a purpose. All that property is prime development property out there.”
Council member Len Weatherby, who also serves on the village’s Planning & Zoning Commission, reported that the Northgate Center Development request to rezone 251 acres newly annexed into the village from agricultural zoning to a planned commercial district was approved during the commission’s Nov. 23 meeting.
Audience members who reside in the Estates at Cheshire south of the proposed Northgate commercial development had concerns about mounding, screening and a narrow 50-foot setback; and also did not want a stub on the north side of their development connecting to Northgate and a future Sunbury parkway, creating a thoroughfare in their residential neighborhood.
Weatherby said the zoning change request was contingent on final engineering and legal approval; and the zoning change text is being modified because of nearby residents’ concerns.
“Approval by zoning just starts the rezoning process,” Weatherby said. “There will be a public hearing and a first reading in January. There’s plenty of time for input, and we do listen to input.”
Weatherby said the 50-foot setback has been adjusted to 100 feet, and the village and the developer were working with Delaware County to make certain a stub in the Estates at Cheshire would not connect to Northgate.
“We want to be open; we listen to our neighbors and work with developers,” Weatherby said. “This zoning commission has the highest integrity; I’m proud to be a part of that body.”
Mayor Tommy Hatfield agreed with Weatherby.
“I like to think the values you have, we have,” Hatfield said to the Estates at Cheshire residents. “We’re going to do the best we possibly can. We’ve got a good thing going here in our community, we want to keep it.”
Council member Dave Miller advised all concerned area residents to contact the village if they hear rumors about development plans.
In other business, Village Administrator Alan Rothermel reported that the village’s new leaf collection machine arrived just after leaf collection had been completed for the season.
“The Partner Manufacturing Group manufacturing rep spent time with village staff to review the proper operating procedure of the machine,” Rothermel said. “He then followed the crew to a site as they collected leaves in on Middleview, Southview, and part of Columbus Street.”
Rothermel said the new leaf collection machine has greater suction, as well as extended reach for gathering leaves outside the curb line; and it can also be used as a tool to clean leaves and debris from streets, gutters and parking lots.
“Worthington, Upper Arlington and Cardington have them and swear by them,” Rothermel said. “It comes with a two-year leaf season warranty; the Perkins diesel engine has a separate warranty.”
Sunbury maintenance supervisor Brad Gerwig asked if there were concerns about paying full price for the unit because of the late delivery.
Weatherby recommended accepting the leaf collection unit and paying the agreed price.
“It’s here, it’s working, you like it, and the warranty is good for two years,” Weatherby said.
Council member approved a $39,947 purchase order to pay for the leaf collection machine.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093