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Zoning approved for new development

BUCKEYE LAKE- Developers of a proposed Buckeye Lake subdivision are breathing easier as the Buckeye Lake Village Council approved the subdivision’s necessary zoning changes Monday night. Council still needs to approve the project’s construction plans before any actual dirt is moved.

“Tonight is about rezoning,” Buckeye Lake Planning Commission Chair Karen Cookston told council. Feb. 20, commission members recommended a rezoning of the Landings at Maple Bay and the Residents of Maple Bay – adjacent subdivisions proposed for the 118 acre Bounds Farm – from agriculture to Planned Development District with several conditions.

The proposed development has two sections–the “Residences at Maple Bay” is 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.

Monday night, council members unanimously approved the zoning changes with conditions. Some of them are:

+ The Residences at Maple Bay: Its conditions for zoning approval 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 of the structure to determine if it is authentic. Further research will not delay or prevent the rezoning of the property. Final submittal of findings to the Ohio Historical Preservation Officemust happen on or before Oct. 1, 2007. That officewill decide on the authenticity of the solstice structure . If authentic, it will be preserved.

+ Boat storage and surface: The planning commission recommended that council postpone considering the buffer requirements and fencing associated with the subdivision’s boat storage area until the project’s construction plans are reviewed and approved. The planning commission will participate in the consideration of buffer requirements.

Monday night, former planning commission member George O’Donnel reiterated his recommendation that developers should be required to pay exactions – conditions or financial obligations imposed on developers to aid the local government in providing public services – to the village. He believes that exactions provide more immediate benefit to the village than assessing a development for improvements over a 15 year period or longer and he believes exactions are a more responsible approach. “The approach of an assessment is a band-aid,” said O’Donnel. “The village needs money today.”

Attorney Connie Klema, who represents the developer, said the developer will provide the following to the village:

+ Roadways: Prior to the developer’s rezoning application, village representatives expressed concerns about existing roads and inefficientright-of-way widths, and anticipated having to negotiate with land owners for additional right of way along public corridors. There were also concerns regarding safety and traffic issues arising from the inadequate alignment of the Mill Dam and East Street intersection.

In response to these concerns, Klema said the developer offered to give the village additional right-of-way along Hunts Landing Road, East Street, and Slocum Avenue. These donations will permit the existing roads to accommodate existing and future traffic. Also, in regard to the Mill Dam and East Street alignment issues, the developer provided engineering studies to determine how best to address the issue, and agreed to do so by providing the property and additional right of way for the realignment of Mill Dam and East Street.

+ The “Point:” Klema said the “Point,” or a two acre parcel along Hunts Landing Road that provides canal access to Buckeye Lake, will be privatized to prevent trespassing and the noise, trash, and other issues arising from trespassing. The Point will be improved and maintained.

Existing drainage issues that effect neighboring properties at the Point will be studied and addressed in an effort to resolve any flooding problems. A bridge slated to be built on Hunts Landing Road to cross the canal, which includes a pedestrian walkway, will not only be constructed by the developer, but will be maintained by the owners of units in The Landings. The Landings will have private streets and will not require village dollars for maintenance.

Wednesday, Klema added that the developer agreed to deliver dirt to the village’s proposed park on Mill Dam for use as fillwhen the village starts construction there.

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