Developer offers changes for Springfield housing plan

Neighbor still critical of 110-unit proposal; city official: ‘I’d be stupid to say no to this.’

The developer of a proposed 110-unit housing development on Tuttle Road on Tuesday night outlined changes designed to address concerns from city and county officials and neighbors.

The planned east-side development at 330 Tuttle Road would include an additional access road to address traffic concerns, according to the developer, D.R. Horton-Indiana LLC, based in Westerville, Ohio.

Other proposed changes were additional green space, a playground, sidewalks and ponds with fountains, all in response to water drainage issues.

D.R. Horton-Indiana introduced the changes in response to concerns raised by the Clark County Community and Economic Development Board and Springfield Engineer’s Office.

Still, discussion about the project became contentious.

City officials see the development as part of a plan that will keep and attract residents and encourage additional economic development to Springfield.

If approved, the 110 residential properties will meet the medium density requirements the city demands of residential developers. The city will provide fire and police services to the area.

The provisions did not satisfy Scott Nelson, a resident of the Tuttle Road area representing a resident group. He asked the City Commission to table any action on the zoning revisions. Nelson said the residents of the “triangle area” consisting of Holiday Hills, Tuttle Road and Garden Acres residential communities continue to have concerns.

He wondered if the cost of the homes, now estimated in the $240,000 range, are suitable to the local economy. Noting that several other housing developments are also under development, Nelson asked if the city has the ability to meet infrastructure requirements for all of them. Citing previous staff reservations, Nelson pressed to delay action for further evaluation.

Assistant Mayor Rob Rue pushed back at Nelson’s opposition, noting developers had addressed multiple concerns and offered positive community centered solutions. He cited an influx of up to 4,000 jobs expected to be added to the Springfield area.

“You’re asking us to vote no to a great move for Springfield. We are seeing good-paying jobs coming to the area, and workers want to live here, not drive 30 to 40 minutes from somewhere else,” Rue said.

“I ran for office to make a difference in the community. Springfield is growing and good things are happening. I’d be stupid to say no to this.”

After the exchange, Nelson indicated residents of the area will continue to appeal for consideration of other options. Asked what will happen if the commission approves the plan at the next commission meeting, Nelson said voters will have a say in the voting booth when several commission members are on the ballot. Legal action is also under consideration, he said.

In other commission action:

- A grant application was approved that would provide rapid intervention training for the first responder fire staff. Commissioners noted that it coincides with the recent injury of a firefighter who fell down stairs during a recent blaze. His condition continues to improve and he is making solid progress toward recovery, officials said.

- A separate accounting line was established for the OneOhio Opioid Settlement Fund for the city to ensure settlements received from the companies responsible for the opioid epidemic are tracked and expended appropriately.

- A proclamation was issued naming the month of October Hermann Carr Month in Springfield as a tribute to the late Police Officer Hermann Carr, founder of Springfield’s Safety City education for city kindergartners, which touched the lives of thousands of children over 20 years time. Carr was also a magician who led the city during the 1970s to establish the observance of Magic Week annually in Springfield during the last week of October.

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