CENTERVILLE – The city has rejected a builder’s request for apartments at Cornerstone of Centerville North, upholding its standards but dealing the project a “significant setback.”
Treplus Communities sought a change for the 110-unit Dogwood Commons apartments to use more vinyl than wood on its facades, citing the rising cost of lumber since the coronavirus pandemic.
But Centerville City Council Monday night voted unanimously against the amendment to the final development plan for the apartments at Cornerstone, a 156-acre mixed-use development off Wilmington Pike near Interstate 675.
“I think you should be proud of your project,” Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton said. “I’m sorry you didn’t get your results. But we do want your development.”
Centerville officials had earlier “concluded that vinyl is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and the Cornerstone Development Agreement,” city records show.
Council’s decision came after legal advice that the vinyl amendment would set “precedent” for Phase IV of Cornerstone of Centerville North and a neighboring developer said it would hurt property values.
Without city approval, “frankly, we’re back at the drawing board” for development, which would cater to those 55 years or older, Treplus Development Director Steven Hicks told council.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to make the project work. And we’re going to try to do everything we can to make sure that happens,” he added. “But it’s a significant setback. We’re hopeful that lumber prices will eventually come back down.”
Council had considered the Treplus requst last month, but had delayed a decision many members said was a difficult one.
Deputy Mayor JoAnne Rau told Hicks “I love your buildings” but “I do struggle that the amount of vinyl is acceptable” under city guidelines and agreements.
Since July 2019, when Treplus agreed to the predominantly wood façades, the cost of lumber has jumped about 200%, Hicks said.
Treplus officials said since mid-March they have made “a good faith effort” to revise plans and use “high quality” vinyl material.
“We came to Centerville for a reason and this is a very strong community,” Hicks said. “And we would love to be here. But frankly, if we can’t make the numbers work, we can’t build this at a loss.”
Centerville City Planner Mark Yandrick said the architecture of Dogwood Commons is “an important element of this highly-visible site.”
Compton told Treplus officials council’s concern is “not a reflection in any way upon what you’re presenting to us and the product.
“We’re very enthusiastic about that,” he said. “But I don’t think – personally – it meets the standards of our comprehensive plan and I do think it’s inconsistent with the development standards that virtually all of us have participated in for years.”
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