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Planning Commission recommends zoning change

By Scott Rawdon

B U C K E Y E L A K E – Developers of a proposed Buckeye Lake subdivision are one step closer to receiving a zoning change for the development’s property, but there are still many steps before any ground is broken.

F e b . 2 0 , t h e B u c k e y e Lake Planning Commission recommended that village council approve a zoning change for the former 118 acre Bounds Farm property from agriculture to Planned Development District with several conditions. Planning commission members were clear that they only recommended a zoning change for the property, and the developer must come before them again for approval of the construction plans.

The proposed development has two sections – the “Residences at Maple Bay,” a 144-lot single family development that constitutes roughly half of the entire 118- acre project. The other half is the “Landings at Maple Bay,” which features 176 condominiums and water access to Buckeye Lake via man-made canals.

The commission’s conditions for the recommended approval of the zoning change are:

+ The Landings at Maple Bay: The developer must provide emergency access points as shown on the development’s plan, Feb. 20. Each emergency access point will be constructed at the time the phase is constructed after first being reviewed by the Buckeye Lake Fire Department and the Licking County Engineer’s office.The project’s infrastructure will be maintained by the developer until the development’s condominium association takes charge.

+ The Residences at Maple Bay: Its conditions are similar to The Landings at Maple Bay.

+ Protection of a recognized archeological site: The Residences at Maple Bay site may contain an ancient Native-American solstice structure, which uses the angle of the sun to identify a change in seasons. The developer agreed to permit further research to determine if it is authentic. That research will not delay or prevent the rezoning of the property. Conditions of the research are as follows:

1. Access to the solstice site is limited to those with professional qualifications in prehistoric, astronomy, and historic archeology.

2. Access is granted after 48 hours prior notice.

3. Access to the site is limited to a period not exceeding 180 days from Feb. 20.

4. Findings must be submitted to the Ohio Historical Preservation Office(OHPO) no later than Oct. 1, 2007.

5 . A n y e x c a v a t i o n s o r disturbances to the site must be conducted by qualified individuals and summarized in a professional document.

6. The OHPO will determine the authenticity of the solstice structure and the developer will abide by the OHPO’s decision. If authentic, the solstice site will be preserved.

7. All documentation on the site gathered by the firmof EMH&T–which was hired by the developer, among other things, to conduct an archeological study of the entire development site– will be available to the planning commission and, likewise, the planning commission’s information will be available to EMH&T.

8. The developer will not pay any costs for the evaluation nor will it be responsible for any injuries during the study.

+ Boat storage and surface: The planning commission recommended that council postpone considering the buffer requirements and fencing for the boat storage area until the construction plans are submitted.

+ Lighting: It’s recommended that street lighting is placed throughout the entire project, but it mustn’t project onto neighboring properties.

+ Construction traffic: All construction activities, including loading and unloading trucks, and storing construction supplies and debris, must take place within the project’s site. The developer must repair any damage to village roads caused by construction traffic.

Mayor Frank Foster explained after the meeting that the zoning approval is merely the approval of the land use. The construction process approval will be reviewed by the Licking County Planning Commission, acting as the village’s consultant on its subdivision regulations. The construction plans will be further reviewed by the Buckeye Lake Planning Commission and then go to council for its approval.

Connie Klema, an attorney representing the developer, assured those at the Feb. 20 meeting that a soon-to-be annexed parcel of land on Hunts Landing Road will not be a “hang out” for anglers and will remain private. The property will allow for water access to the main lake from the canals planned for The Landings at Maple Bay. Klema also the name of the annexed area will be changed from “Picnic Point” to something else, since there is already a “Picnic Point” on the lake.

The developer will increase the right-of-way on Slocum Road from 20 feet to 50 feet when it’s dedicated to the village. But, homeowners on Slocum currently use the additional 30 feet for private parking.

“I don’t believe it would be in the village’s best interest to dispose of that property, but we also would like to accommodate the needs of the residents for parking,” said Foster. He added that the village administration has discussed potentially licensing or leasing that space to the homeowners to allow the village to maintain control and ownership while at the same time allowing the homeowners to continue parking there. It’s not intended to be public parking.

Buckeye Lake Planning C o m m i s s i o n C h a i r K a r e n Cookston said the village may consider asking the developer for exactions – conditions or financial obligations imposed on developers to aid the local government in providing public services – in the future. “The village is not ignoring exactions,” she said, but this particular meeting was not the place to discuss them.

“I believe the work of the planning commission has been extremely thorough and has unquestionably protected the residents and the future of the village by ensuring that a high quality development occurs,” said Foster. Although developers are invited to the village, he said, they need to realize the village will scrutinize their plans.

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