Concerns about a 146-unit apartment complex called Sunbury Pointe prompted the Sunbury Village Planning & Zoning Commission to postpone a vote until issues are addressed.
Champion Real Estate Services President and CEO Brian Yeager and Champion Chief Investment Officer Dan Hunter returned to the planning & zoning commission during its meeting last week. They brought a final plat for the apartment complex that their firm would like to build on the empty 12.8-acre lot at the South Miller Drive and Fairland Drive intersection.
With several dozen minor issues needing to be addressed, members of the zoning commission were reluctant to approve the final plat and send those unresolved issues to Village Council. They recommended that Yeager and Hunter address the issues and return to the Aug. 24 zoning commission meeting.
Mayor Tommy Hatfield said if all identified issues are worked through successfully, Sunbury Pointe could be approved at the Aug. 24 zoning meeting. He also said zoning commission members could forward the final plat to members of Village Council with a recommendation to suspend the rules and approve the final plat with emergency language during a first reading on Sept. 2, keeping the development on schedule for a November groundbreaking.
“We want you to be successful,” Hatfield said. “We’re all comfortable with Champion Homes.”
Yeager and Hunter were in chambers during the June zoning meeting for an informal session. When they returned last week, they hoped for a final plat approval, but zoning commission members decided the plan needed fine tuning before going to Village Council for that body’s approval.
Yeager said that following an informal meeting with about 50 nearby residents at the Big Walnut Grill, several overwhelming concerns about the apartment complex were addressed.
“This plan is a collaboration with their input,” Yeager said. “We’ve addressed mounding location, mounding height, added more landscaping, and we went back and modified our plan and added more walk-ability.
“Sunbury Pointe will be a first-class apartment complex with Class-A apartments; there will be no subsidized living,” Yeager said. “We understand there’s never going to be 100 percent satisfaction, but we put a lot of effort and money into developing this plan. We’re trying to be as receptive as we can.”
Hunter said the apartment complex property line along the back yards of residents living on Woodchuck Drive would have three- to four-foot mounding topped with dense pine trees.
“We’ve added sidewalks, moved the dumpster, and added fountains to the retention pond,” Hunter said. “We’ll also work with our engineers and make sure there are no drainage issues on the Woodchuck properties.”
Commission member Len Weatherby asked Hunter if Champion Real Estate had spoken with Fox Trail Drive residents about that roadway stubbing into the apartment complex site.
Hunter said Fox Trail would be blocked at the current stub. He said that BST&G Fire District had examined the preliminary drawings and said with entrances to Sunbury Pointe on Miller Drive and Fairland Drive a third access point for emergency vehicles would not be needed.
Hunter described building materials as a mix of brick and stone on apartment fronts, restoration-grade vinyl, some HardiPlank siding, and dimensional shingles. He said a complete materials list would be available after the design is finalized.
Sunbury consulting engineer Wes Hall, of CT Consultants, said he was uneasy not knowing the building materials.
“Those are things you need to work out before I’m comfortable,” Hall said.
Commission members questioned Sunbury Pointe’s 30 three-bedroom units, one fifth of the complex. They said they were concerned that a high number of three-bedroom units would bring more children into a rapidly growing school district.
Yeager said 20 percent is a low number, and there’s a huge rental demand for three-bedroom townhouses. With rents at $1,100 for garden apartments, $1,250 for two-bedrooms, and $1,450 for three-bedrooms, Yeager said Sunbury Pointe would draw a mix of desirable empty-nesters, young professionals and young families.
“It makes good economic sense for us,” Yeager said.
Hunter said Champion had planned to build Sunbury Pointe in one phase, but was now leaning toward a two-phase construction schedule with first dirt tuned this November, phase one complete nine months later, and the complex finished in 18 months.
“We’re local, we’re committed to project,” Yeager said. “We know you guys have the power. We’re at your mercy. We’re just trying to continue on with our goals. We understand we’re not there yet.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093