Huber Heights councilman walks out during vote on townhome development

HUBER HEIGHTS — A development plan for a 97-home subdivision on Bellefontaine Road failed to pass a vote by Huber Heights council this week.

Campbell Berling originally submitted an application to the city late last year which detailed plans to build 132 townhomes on nearly 23 acres on Bellefontaine Road near Chambersburg Road, adjacent to The Oaks of Huber Heights development. Earlier this month, the developer altered its project proposal from 132 townhomes to 97 in response to resident pushback.

ExploreSubdivision with 132 homes planned for Huber Heights

This week’s council vote to approve the altered development plan failed by a technicality which involved a show of protest by Councilman Ed Lyons, who walked out of the meeting instead of casting his vote.

In accordance with the city’s charter, if a vote is split down the middle, with four council members voting in favor and four voting against an issue, the mayor serves as the tie-breaking vote. If Lyons, who has been vocal about his opposition to the Campbell Berling development plan, would have cast his vote against the plan, the result would have been a tie, allowing Mayor Jeff Gore, who is in favor of the project, to have the final say.

“(Councilman Lyons), rather than do his duty as an elected official and casting his vote, decided to get up and walk out, so there were only seven votes cast, not eight, meaning I did not get a chance to vote and break the tie,” Gore said.

Lyons said he is against the project for multiple reasons, including that numerous residents within his ward have been vocal about their opposition, as well as concerns regarding inadequate staffing of emergency response personnel to meet demand from a growing population.

ExploreHuber Heights subdivision reduces density in response to resident concerns

“The residents in The Oaks are vehemently opposed to it, so I’m representing my constituents,” Lyons said. “I’m not against the development in that area, per say, it’s just this type of development didn’t follow the comprehensive plan that we had set for the city with (regard) to duplexes.”

According to Lyons, the comprehensive plan calls for “single family detached homes,” and Campbell Berling’s development plan includes both detached homes and some duplexes.

Given this, Lyons said his only option to stop the development plan from moving forward in its current state was to walk out of the meeting in protest.

The developer could submit another application to start the approval process over again, however, it is unclear if there are plans to do so. Representatives of Campbell Berling declined to comment on the issue.

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