Two public hearings during the Sept. 28 Sunbury Planning & Zoning Commission meeting ended with two different outcomes.
The Hub carryout, located at 245 N. Columbus St. and owned by Parth Investments, asked for and received two variance requests for a building expansion. Meanwhile, Pulte Homes asked commission members to approve a development plan amendment for the sections of Sunbury Meadows east of State Route 3, and were told to return to zoning’s Oct. 26 meeting with a more detailed plan.
Shawn Bogenrife of Columbus-based Bogenrife Architecture represented Parth principal Kalpeth Patel.
Bogenrife noted that previously Patel had approached zoning on an informal basis about possibly moving his building to the rear of the triangular corner lot to allow the business to install fuel tanks and gas pumps.
Last Monday Bogenrife said Patel had been unable to secure an agreement with a fuel vendor willing to install a gas station on the site, and would only ask for a front setback variance from 50 feet to 10 feet to expand the building, and a variance from the business’s parking spaces as required by village code.
That addition, Bogenrife said, would allow an expansion of space leased by Good Fella’z Pizzeria that occupies the front of the building.
“Almost all of the added square footage would be for the pizza place,” Bogenrife said. “We would demolish some of the inside to make it more efficient. A lot of his businesses is carryout; there’s no table service, but he does want to add three or four tables and modernize the restrooms.”
Sunbury consulting engineer Wes Hall said the right of way on North Columbus Street is 110 feet wide, and that allowing some leniency on the front setback makes sense.
“This is just a matter making a small addition to an existing building to make dining possible,” Hall said. “The current building is only 15 feet off the setback.”
Patel’s second variance request was a reduction from the code-required 43 parking spaces.
“There are currently 24 parking spaces available,” Hall said. “If they add six spaces at the back, that would get them to 30. Considering it’s a restricted corner lot and it’s been that way for a long time, I recommend approval with the contingencies of a final site development site plan, showing all detail, the addition of six parking spaces and final engineering and legal approval.”
Commission members approved the variance requests.
The Pulte Homes public hearing for a development plan amendment did not go as smoothly. The original Sunbury Meadows development plan, granted to Dominion Homes in 2005, allows for 432 single-family homes built on 65-foot-wide lots on the 119-acre site.
Steve Peck, representing Pulte Homes, said the amended development plan would lower the number of single-family homes but increase lot sizes, add empty-nester homes to the site, and contain two flex areas.
The flex areas would include 9-plus acres along SR 3 dedicated to Sunbury if the village could come up with a plan for a community center within 18 to 24 months. If the village could not meet that deadline, the acreage would be used for a Pulte-driven assisted living center.
The other flex area, near the northeast side of the development, would be composed of additional empty-nester homes, more single-family homes on 60-foot lots, or a multi-family complex.
“We’re not changing the development plan text, we’re just changing boundaries,” Peck said. “The trail system’s eight-foot-wide asphalt bike path connects at the south property line. We’re committed to open space.”
Hall said the development plan change Pulte is requesting is basically on the north end of the property where the flex areas are located.
“The trail system is improved, and there’s 21.8 acres of open space for the site,” Hall said. “That’s 19 percent open space on that side of Route 3.”
Hall said the original development plan specifies a minimum 1,450 square foot home in the development. He said Pulte would not build a single-family home that small, but commission members might want to increase the minimum square footage in case the property changes hands.
Hall then went through a list of items needing clarification before he would be comfortable with a development plan amendment; and commission members questioned the open-ended flex area arrangement for locations in the development that might not build out for five years or more.
Commission members asked if the public hearing and amendment request could be tabled until the Oct. 26 zoning meeting while details are worked out.
Attorney D.J. Young, sitting in for village solicitor David Brehm, said that because of time constraints after a public hearing is convened, five options are available: approve the request, deny the request, approve the request with modifications, have the developer withdraw the application and resubmit the request, or leave the public hearing open and continue the discussion at another date.
Commission members left the public hearing open. Discussion will continue at the next zoning meeting.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093