CENTERVILLE – The city is delaying a decision on a developer’s request for its proposed residential complex at Cornerstone of Centerville North after legal advice and opposition by a nearby builder.
Treplus Communities wants to change the prominent façade material from wood to vinyl for the 110-unit Dogwood Commons apartments at the 156-acre mixed-use development off Wilmington Pike near Interstate 675.
The vinyl amendment would set “precedent” for Phase IV of Cornerstone of Centerville North, the law director said, and a neighboring developer said it would hurt property values.
Centerville City Council voted unanimously last week to put off a decision until next month on the issue its planning commission – by the same vote – recommended rejecting regarding the development, which would cater to those 55 years or older.
Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
“This is a tough one,” Mayor Brooks Compton said before the vote. “We’re very impressed with the product and definitely want Dogwood Commons in the city of Centerville. There’s no question about that.”
Treplus is seeking the change primarily because of increasing lumber costs since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a company representative told council.
Centerville officials had earlier “concluded that vinyl is inconsistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and the Cornerstone Development Agreement,” city records show.
But up to 25% vinyl would be acceptable under current approvals, City Planner Mark Yandrick said. Dogwood’s proposal would use vinyl up to 75%, city records show.
“What the issue deals with is really precedent and that’s what was explained to the planning commission,” Centerville Law Director Scott Liberman said. “Typically a variance does not create any precedent” but “you cannot have a variance for materials.”
The plan is also opposed by the developer of Cornerstone Apartments, a 260-unit complex to the east.
“We are concerned that inferior projects such as vinyl siding would negatively impact the value of our property, as well as others within the Cornerstone development,” a letter from John Murphy, CEO of the J.A. Murphy Group states.
“Approving such an amendment after numerous property owners have built high-quality developments under existing regulations would be inconsistent and unfair,” according to the letter.
Council’s delay would give Treplus more time to consider alternative materials, city officials said.
After council’s vote March 15, Treplus Construction Director Ross Sanford told city officials “we’re just going to hold off and delay until later - until the economic (climate) is better.
“We have other projects that are queued up that have vinyl” in West Chester Twp., Beavercreek and Springboro, Sanford said. “So I don’t think we’ll have anything more” alternatives.
Treplus on Wednesday sent the Dayton Daily News a statement, which read in part:
“In times like this, we have the unique advantage of leaning on our years of building industry experience to find a viable solution that moves projects forward.
“Our mission is to redefine 55+ living and provide a maintenance-free lifestyle for a growing segment of active adults, especially when real estate inventory is at an all-time low and demand is incredibly high,” according to the statement.
The city said Wednesday Treplus plans to move forward with the request, which is set to be discussed again April 5.
Once a zoning certificate – which is under review now – is approved, Treplus has one year to begin construction, Yandrick said.
Dogwood Commons would offer one- and two-bedroom ranch units, Sanford said. They would include garages, a commons area and community gardens for a monthly rate of $1,500 and up, depending on amenities, he said.
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