Springboro residents reiterate density, traffic concerns at proposed Easton Farm project

Springboro residents said they appreciated the concessions made by the developers of the proposed Easton Farm project to address various concerns, but density and traffic continued to be major concerns.

About a dozen residents told the Springboro Planning Commission Wednesday that the density of dwellings per acre exceed the city’s master plan target goal of six to eight dwellings in a Planned Use Development/Mixed Use. That target goal for a PUD/mixed use zoning also includes the possibility for business uses, the potential for multi-family and 25% open space, according to the city master plan.

Residents were also confused about how the density and open space was calculated. In addition, residents raised concerns about possible connections of Fox Trail/Deer Trail with the development. During the discussion, there were residents that said some of the questions had been answered.

City Planner Dan Boron gave an update of the PUD review process and said city long-range plans included the 103-acre site off North Main Street/Ohio 741 between Anna Drive and Tamarack Trail as a mixed use development. He said when the property was annexed into the city, it continued its single-family zoning of R-1.

City Manager Chris Pozzuto clarified inaccuracies of some social media posts concerning traffic on Ohio 741 and the capacities of the city infrastructure systems and schools. He said the city has plenty of capacity in its water and sewer systems and Oho 741 can accommodate additional traffic. Pozzuto said the Springboro school district estimates a potential of 200 new students over 10 years can be accommodated under current conditions.

The developers, Dillin LLC of Springboro, and Borror of Columbus, are requesting PUD/Mixed Use zoning and approval of its plan for the $265 million project. The project has been under review by the zoning commission since March. A development would have a total of 540 dwelling units that includes single-family homes, and apartments, in addition to retail and commercial spaces.

Dillin also presented a virtual reality video of the latest revision.

The current density calculation, which includes the farm’s 16-acre homestead, is 6.05 units per acre, according to city officials.

Since the initial plans submitted in March, the developers have reduced the height of the apartment buildings from four stories to three stories; eliminated the parking garage; reduced the number of apartments; increased the green space; donated more acreage to North Park; removed the assisted living area.

Resident Kevin Smith said a citizen’s petition that has been circulating are 90% opposed to the project and rezoning from R-1 residential. Smith said he was “impressed with the changes” but still favors R-1 zoning.

“We have concerns,” he said. “We ask that you consider our concerns.”

Dustin Dershem of Deer Trail questioned why these residents were not included in the various stakeholder discussions with the developers, city officials, business leaders, etc. He also noted that having outside dining at the restaurants “was not a selling point.”

“This isn’t Orlando,” Dershem said. “The question is if this is the right fit for Springboro?”

Resident David Beckman said the land should be developed as R-1 and remain low density. He said residents expect it to be developed but it should “stick to the spirit of R-1.”

“We don’t want aggressive growth,” he said. “You’re not listening to the residents.”

Beckman said “the petition is growing to referendum strength” noting 90% of those who signed a petition are opposed to the development. He said the development won’t bring any benefit to Springboro.

The Planning Commission will continue its review of the project at its June 9 meeting.

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