By Linda Collins
For the Herald
SPRINGFIELD — The Clark County Rural Zoning Commission has voted no to recommending a request to rezone 70.06 acres in Mad River Township as the case is sent on to the Clark County Commissioners.
A standing-room only crowd of Enon and Mad River Township residents and local government leaders attending the Wednesday, March 9 public hearing at the Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St., cheered and applauded the commission’s unanimous decision which could postpone the development of a 140 plus housing project over 120.34 acres.
Property owners William and Cheryl Herrmann submitted an application to county officials to approve the rezoning of two parcels, located at 5370 and 5372 Hunter Road, from A-1 (Agricultural District) to R-1 (Rural Residence District) so development of a single-family subdivision could proceed. The proposed subdivision would also include 50.28 acres of abutting property in the Village of Enon which the couple owns and is already zoned R-1.
“The Rural Zoning Commission does not approve or disapprove the rezoning case. Following the public hearing, they will make a recommendation to the Clark County Commissioners who will hold their own public hearing and make the final decision on the rezoning case,” said Allan Neimayer, senior planner for Clark County Community Development.
Community Civil Engineers President Stephen Butler, who represented the Herrmann couple at the two-hour public hearing, said the goal of the developer was to maintain the integrity of the land, including the preservation of much of the woodlands, the rolling land and ponds.
“At the end of the day, everyone will be pleased that the subdivision is here,” Butler said.
Butler discussed his comprehensive design plan which covered the different stages of construction and explained how he would address common concerns, including drainage and traffic issues. He also explained how the developer would face the challenge of dealing with bedrock during construction and preserve the established flood plain which lies in a portion of the land.
According to Butler, the preliminary plans call for residential lots approximately one-half acre in size. He also pointed out on the map the proposed location of the main entrance to the subdivision and noted that the developer would perform a traffic impact analysis.
However, Rural Zoning Commissioner Bob Jurick expressed the need for more pertinent information before he could make a proper decision and proposed that Butler reconsider coming back with a more detailed proposal.
During the public comment period of the meeting, 20 individual took to the podium to voice their concerns and unified opposition to the rezoning of the two parcels, citing the potential of increased traffic flow and flooding and the overcrowding of local schools.
Dominick Tuccillo, who resides at 105 Dove Court in Enon, spoke out against the proposed development and presented a series of photos that showed significant flooding in his subdivision following a rain storm.
“I am concerned that this proposed subdivision would escalate the flooding problem we already have in this area,” said Tuccillo.
Houck Meadows resident Adrian Davoli pointed out the fact that he commonly deals with low water pressure at his home on the first block of Bob White Drive and was concerned with the impact that an additional 140 homes would have on the water system.
“My home is located at the crest of the hill, and the water pressure is minimal at times. The village completed some upgrades to the nearby pumping station. However, I still contend with low water pressure at times,” said Davoli. “I am also concerned about my family’s safety if traffic was to increase in the area. Also, Fairfield Pike was just recently repaved, and large construction vehicles would definitely degrade the new pavement.”
Enon Mayor Tim Howard pointed out that any additional development in the area would require additional engineering.
“There are a lot of issues to be addressed that have not been dealt with in the preliminary design,” Howard said.
Mad River Township Trustee Kathy Estep reminded the members of the rural planning commission that the developer needed to comply with the goals and objectives of the Clark County Land Use Plan.
“The key word here is ‘plan.’ Every issue should be addressed through a planned development; so I suggest tabling this decision for now,” said Estep.
Residents also expressed their concerns about decreased property values, increased taxes and water rates, and the impact on the township fire and EMS department, as well as the schools. One resident showed a video of significant flooding in Houck Meadows following a thunderstorm, and one resident submitted a petition signed by residents who opposed the proposed development but could not attend the public hearing.
“Approving rezoning these parcels today, based on what has been presented, would be reckless,” Enon resident David Eviston said. “Public support is an essential component of any zoning initiative. Without it, you could be facing a class action lawsuit.”
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.