More than 1,400 new homes have been built over the past 10 years in Clearcreek Twp. and two new projects that would add nearly 500 more are moving through regulatory steps.
Design Homes, developer of Soraya Farms and other planned communities and subdivisions, wants to build 419 homes on about 170 acres of the Clark Farm on the south side of East Lytle-Five Points Road, east of Ohio 48.
M/I Homes is planning to add 69 homes east of Ohio 73, Main Street in Springboro, on 52 acres of the Montgomery Farm, south of the Heatherwoode golf-course community.
Some residents are concerned about how the continued development will affect the townships’ rural character, add to the student rolls in the Springboro school district and feed traffic on the network of mostly two-lane roads.
“We’re just trying to find some common ground here,” said Mike Hemmert, who was part of a resident uprising over the last plan for development of the Montgomery Farm land, rejected in 2019.
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Clearcreek Twp., just south of the Montgomery County border between Springboro and Waynesville, is already home to more than 33,000, according to the U.S. Census, up just under 20,000 people since 1990.
There are an estimated 6,120 dwellings in the township, according to township officials. This includes single-family and patio homes, duplexes and quads with four residences.
Since 2010, township data shows almost 25% of the total, or 1,450 new dwellings, have been added - 826 since 2015.
Last month, the Regional Planning Commission approved M/I Homes’ concept plan for Woodgrove after officials indicated a new road sought to end Heatherwoode cut-throughs to Ohio 741, should be part of the development.
Staffers from Springboro and the township acknowledged the need for the road, along the township-city line. Springboro Development Director Elmer Dudas said details needed to be worked out. M/I indicated it was ready to dedicate the land needed for the road.
“We see that road being a real benefit to everybody,” Hemmert said, adding residents are also hopeful Ohio 741 and Ohio 48 will be widened to accommodate new drivers from the added homes.
The larger new project, proposing 123 homes, 296 multi-family lots and 46 acres of “green space” south East Lytle-Five Points and east of Ohio 48 was pulled from the county planning commission’s April agenda by Design Homes due to a flaw on the application. It is expected to be back in 60 days for review by the regional commission and a public hearing with the Clearcreek Township Zoning Commission. Staff was recommending conditional approval.
“People are already talking about it here in Springboro,” said Hemmert.
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Design Homes developed the Villages at Winding Creek and Soroya Farms, large planned communities north of Lytle-Five Points in Clearcreek Twp.
”The proposed development will bring a mixture of residential product to the area similar to the product at Soraya Farms in Clearcreek Township on State Route 48. The impact the proposed development will have on the community and area will be comparable to that of Soraya Farms,” Shery Oakes of Design Homes said in a letter to the planning officials.
Built in phases, the development “will have the impact on Fire Protection and Emergency services that is typical with residential development yet not to over strain the community’s emergency services,” Oakes added.
Adam Sweeney of Design Homes and the property owners, Clark Ventures LLC, did not respond to a request for an interview.
Like Villages at Winding Creek, the land is in two school districts, 100 acres in Springboro Community City Schools, 70 in the Wayne Local Schools. “Empty nesters” are the target customers. If so, this would reduce pressure on the schools and traffic.
Other large tracts of undeveloped land are in play. A large parcel is up for sale on Ohio 741, near the Springboro school complex and across from the proposed Woodgrove development.
South on Ohio 741 in Red Lion, Oberer Land Developers is constructing a new large-lot subdivision. A plan to sewer the area, a key impediment to construction of small-lot subdivisions, is on hold.
RELATED: Red Lion area could develop with sewers
“It’s going to push north toward us,” Hemmert said, adding the residents fought Oberer’s plan to develop the Montgomery Farm in fear it would set a precedent for accepting denser housing projects in the township, where half-acre lots are the minimum standard.
In February 2019, residents the Farms of Heatherwoode, Heatherwoode, Clearcreek Estates, Oakland Hills neighborhoods, and nearby properties, urged the trustees to hold Oberer to 70 lots permitted through the existing zoning. Instead Oberer abandoned the project after Springboro declined annexation.
“We’re not against rooftops, we’re against trying to cram as much as you can into a small parcel,” resident Brad Johnson said before the township trustees voted not to rezone the land for the Oberer project.
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M/I proposes 69 home lots. The family still plans to continue living on about 20 acres on the south end.
Despite the opposition, the area remains attractive to home builders, now including Columbus-based M/I Homes.
As in developments in Beavercreek and Sugarcreek Twp. in Greene County, Tartabini said the builder liked the Woodgrove parcel because it was close to Springboro schools, retail and shopping and interstates taking homeowners to work anywhere in the region.
Although less a draw than these factors, Tatrabini acknowledged some customers were also motivated by the lack of local income tax - assessed in most municipalities, including Springboro and Waynesville.
While just outside Springboro city limits, the development would be served by Springboro utilities and the Springboro school district.
“We’ve been trying to get a piece of land in Springboro for a long time,” said Tartibini, vice president for sales and marketing in M/I’s regional office for the Cincinnati-Dayton region.
Warren County Engineer Neil Tunison said a roundabout at Lytle-Five Points and Bunnell Hill roads in Clearcreek Twp. is to be completed next year.
In Springboro, Tunison said his office and the county commissioners are studying a dual westbound left-turn lane on Ohio 73 at southbound Interstate-75 and an additional combination right-left turn lane on the northbound exit ramp at Ohio 73. Also they are looking at improving the right-turn lanes on Ohio 741 at Remick Boulevard.
Also in the township, a lower weight limit was recently posted on the two-lane bridge on Springboro Road over Bull Run between Red Lion-Five Points and Pekin roads. The bridge is to be replaced next year, Tunison said.
Tunison said there were no plans for Ohio 741 or Ohio 48 widenings to offset traffic traced to continued construction of new homes in Clearcreek Twp.
“I have not been made aware of congestion issues on either of those roads,” the county engineer said.
Clearcreek Twp. New Dwellings