Clark County commissioners will hold a public hearing April 20 to discuss a proposal to re-zone 70 acres in Mad River Twp. and Enon that has faced opposition from some residents and township leaders.
Township officials and residents have expressed concerned about flooding, increased traffic and other issues. Enon officials haven’t taken a position on the project, Mayor Tim Howard said.
The request to rezone the agricultural property at the northeast corner of Fairfield Pike and Hunter Road near the Houck Meadows subdivision to residential was approved by the Clark County Planning Commission, but was rejected by the rural zoning commission last month in a unanimous vote.
Steve Butler, president of developer Community Civil Engineers, said the builder wants to establish a new subdivision with single family homes to benefit the entire county.
“As Clark County strives to attract new businesses, I think having new housing available for families would be a very positive attribute that the county could offer,” Butler said.
Garnett Traylor has circulated a petition against the development and hopes residents can stop the project.
“I do object to them trying to double the number of houses. I think it would put a severe strain on everything around here. Our schools are bursting at the seams. They’ve got trailers over there at Greenon High School and they don’t have enough room in the schools,” Traylor said.
County commissioners will decided later this month whether the project can move forward.
Commissioner John Detrick said he has visited the site and will make a decision after hearing more information from both sides at the hearing.
“I’d like to see development because development would lead to lower housing costs and it will create newer housing stock, which is a gauge that certain businesses use when they locate in a community,” he said.
Detrick said he’s aware that a portion of the project is in a flood plain and will also consider concerns by Houck Meadows residents concerned about flooding.
He said he would weigh whether a new subdivision would improve or worsen water runoff in the area.
“I’m going to weigh that in my conclusion and try to come up with what’s best for the citizens in the area,” Detrick said.
County Commissioner Rick Lohnes, who is on the planning commission, said he and others on that board approved it based on the information presented to them.
The planning board had minimal information about residents’ concerns at that time, he said, but county commissioners want to hear their views.
“I know drainage is a big issue, but the drainage isn’t getting fixed by anybody now — the township or anyone, the land owner,” Lohnes said. “Maybe this is a chance to add new homes in the county and the township, which is very important. At the same time, maybe fix drainage. But it’s one of those things that nothing is going to get fixed, nothing is going to get changed, if it doesn’t get rezoned.”
Developers won’t spend money on detailed plans needed by Clark County Community Development and the county engineer if the site is not rezoned, Lohnes said.
County Commissioner David Herier said he has visited the site multiple times and recalled seeing a home where there’s water just sitting in ditches.
“I’m definitely sympathetic to the current water issues and I understand the concerns,” Herier said. “It’s wet down there so I understand why they’re worried, but the experts are telling us that it would probably get better not worse.”