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Sugarcreek Twp. trustees rezoning approval for new homes ‘difficult decision’

Published: Monday, December 03, 2018 @ 9:15 PM

Sugarcreek Twp.considering rezoning request from HPA Development Group on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.

UPDATE @ 9:00 p.m. (Dec. 3): The Sugarcreek Twp. trustee vote to OK rezoning for the HPA Development Group Inc.’s plan now to build 187 homes on approximately 66 acres between Swigart and Darst roads was “a very difficult decision,” township Administrator Barry Tiffany said.

RELATED >>> Nearly 200 new homes planned in Sugarcreek Twp. development on farmland

If the trustees had not approved the rezoning tonight, he said, the property more than likely would have been annexed into [the city of] Beavercreek, probably at a higher density and not as nice a development, he said.

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“This was a very difficult decision for the trustees,” Tiffany told News Center 7’s James Buechele on Monday night. The trustees, Tiffany said, heard citizen concerns about traffic issues connected to the project.

An earlier proposal was to build 189 homes on the acreage.

Representatives with HPA Development declined comment.

What does tonight’s decision mean for the future of Sugarcreek Twp. housing development?

Tiffany said township leadership in 2013 looked at where the threats were coming from in terms of housing development.

“If we allow them to develop, maybe at a higher density those cities will give them, it builds kind of a border that cities can’t cross over,” he said. The property on which HPA wants to build was one of those open spots, one of those pieces of the puzzle.

"Now that it develops,” Tiffany said the Sugarcreek Twp. property, “it kind of closes that area off, so Beavercreek isn't the threat tomorrow that it was today." 

Tiffany said the township has worked out “some great agreements” with Centerville. 

“They are not the threat today they were two years ago,” he said of Centerville. 

"The idea was to allow the perimeter in spots to develop, to preserve the balance of the township because the pressure is here,” Tiffany said. “We get it. This is a great place to live. 

“Everybody wants to be here. We get why they want to be here. We want to preserve everything nice that we can about this community that makes everybody want to be here."

EARLIER REPORT (Nov. 14)

The Sugarcreek Twp. trustees decided on Nov. 14 not to make a decision about the housing development because there were too many unanswered questions about the project and a related traffic study.

The trustees planned to take up the issue at their Dec. 3 meeting.

Township Administrator Barry Tiffany said the board’s decision would be for the initial rezoning for the property and the preliminary plans.

Even if it is approved, there is a lot of work to be done before HPA Development would be able to break ground, which Tiffany said would be next spring (2019) at the earliest.

The proposed development has brought concerns from people living in the township.

“Anytime that there’s change it’s difficult, especially when people like the area that they live as it sits today,” Tiffany said. “People can see out their back windows and see open vistas and when those things change it’s difficult, it’s very difficult. Of course, none of it was here at some point and it’s just a gradual process.”

The developer has been cooperative with changes requested and the township’s process, Tiffany said.

HPA Development Group, based in Cincinnati, initially submitted its proposal to the township’s zoning commission in September.

The plan calls for maintaining 30 percent of the property as green space. 

The single-story, two-story and patio-style homes would range in size from 1,400 square feet to just more than 2,500 square feet. The various home designs are set up to attract both families and empty-nesters, according to planning documents. The homes would range in price from $325,000 to $400,000.

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The property is owned by California-based Ralph D. Black Inc., which was established by Janice Dunlap and her son Kevin.