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Housing

At the most recent Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11, commission members unanimously approved a final plat for a proposed subdivision dubbed “Spring Meadows.” Sited for the 23 acres at 402 N. Wright Street, the subdivision would contain 90 single-family homes. The final plat is now set to go before Village Council in an upcoming meeting. (Map data courtesy of DDC Management, LLC)

‘Spring Meadows’ to go before Village Council

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A proposed 90-home major subdivision — dubbed “Spring Meadows” — is one step closer to being developed in Yellow Springs.

Following unanimous approval from Planning Commission members at the group’s regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11, the final plat is set to go before Village Council for review at a future meeting.

Pursued by Miamisburg-based development company DDC Management, LLC, the proposed subdivision would be sited on two parcels and span approximately 23 acres at 402 N. Wright Street. It would include a total of 94 lots — 90 of which would be suitable for building single-family homes on an average of 0.25 acres per lot. The remaining four lots, totaling nearly four acres, would be preserved as open space.

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As DDC Land Acquisition Manager Clayton Sears told Planning Commission at an April meeting earlier this year — during which the commission reviewed and ultimately approved DDC’s preliminary plat plan — the development company is not a homebuilding company. DDC’s intentions are to plat out the land and build the planned neighborhood’s infrastructure, which would include roads, utilities, a detention pond, sidewalks, natural pathways, a playground and other features.

Should Council vote to approve the ordinance to accept DDC’s final plat, the development company would be permitted to begin construction on the site, and then, upon completion of the infrastructure, sell the 90 lots on the open market.

Sears reminded Planning Commission members at the recent Oct. 11 meeting that both the number of lot-buyers and the prices of the eventual homes still remain out of the development company’s hands.

“It’s entirely up to whatever offers we get. If somebody has a plan and they want to pursue it, [DDC] is happy to review all offers,” Sears said.

However, as Sears pointed out, it’s likely that a single homebuilding company would develop each lot on what he described as a “take-down schedule,” in which that single company would incrementally build homes as they are purchased.

“[DDC] usually runs about nine to 12 homes a quarter around Dayton, Ohio,” Sears said. “That’s between three and four homes a month. With 90 lots, and it taking us about a year to build [the infrastructure], it’ll probably be three or four years until this is completely done. That’s my guess.”

Zoning Administrator Denise Swinger told the News in a separate correspondence that she believes each lot will end up costing a homebuilder $80,000 to $100,000 per lot. Swinger added that DDC will spend upwards of $4.5 million building the infrastructure for the subdivision.

“It’s an expensive piece of property,” Swinger said.

Although the land is still currently owned by Dianne Kinney, the property sale is listed on Zillow as pending, selling for $735,000. As Swinger explained, DDC won’t opt to close on the property until Village Council grants approval for their final plat.

Little changed between DDC’s preliminary and final plat plans, according to Swinger. Unlike the preliminary plat, the final plat included a natural buffer zone that would separate the southernmost part of Spring Meadows from the existing Stancliff neighborhood on Kenneth Hamilton Way. Also included in the final plat is a proposed sanitary sewer lift station to help direct wastewater runoff to the subdivision’s detention pond. Lastly, lot setbacks shrank by two feet between the preliminary and final plats.

Planning Commission members heard from only one community member during the public hearing section of the meeting. Speaking on behalf of her Stancliff neighbors on Kenneth Hamilton Way, Emily Seibel expressed concerns about the eventual traffic going in and out of the proposed subdivision.

DDC aims to create two entrances into the future neighborhood: one stemming from Wright Street and the other extending from the presently stubbed-out Kenneth Hamilton Way. Connecting the two roads within the subdivision would be newly created “Snowdrop” and “Iris” drives. Branching off Snowdrop would be a cul-de-sac called “Tulip Court.”

“Our top concern is that right now, our neighborhood [on Kenneth Hamilton Way] is more of a cul-de-sac than a thoroughfare,” Seibel said. “We have children playing and pets running around. We would love to see some effort to calm traffic … such as signage that says ‘animal crossing’ or ‘slow, children at play.’”

Village Public Works Director Johnnie Burns addressed some of Seibel’s concerns by assuring her that all future construction traffic will enter the subdivision through the neighborhood’s Wright Street entrance. Further, Burns said he was amenable to eventually working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road from 35 to 25 miles per hour.

In terms of the traffic within and coming to and from the subdivision, the Village’s civil engineer, Matt Hoying of Choice One Engineering, said the design of the neighborhood would naturally spur drivers to go slowly.

“Every one of these streets — minus the cul-de-sac of Tulip Court — has at least one, if not two curves in it,” Hoying said. “Long straight roads are what tend to increase traffic speeds. Here, it’ll be hard to get up to excessive speeds unintentionally. From a traffic calming standpoint, this neighborhood is really well-designed for passive traffic calming.”

Another major topic Planning Commission members broached dealt with the eventual homeowner’s association DDC will establish for the subdivision. As outlined in DDC’s final plat document, the homeowner’s association’s primary responsibility will be maintaining the four acres of open space, including the detention pond and the natural trails. Further, the association will compel homeowners to abide by various aesthetic parameters.

Of the many stipulations in the Spring Meadows homeowner’s association manual: “no animals shall be raised, bred or kept on any lot or in the common areas,” “vegetable gardens shall only be located in the rear yard … and not exceed 200 square feet,” “no above ground swimming pools of any type shall be constructed on any lot,” “no structure of a temporary character … shall be … erected, maintained or installed,” “absolutely no metal or plastic structured playground equipment or trampolines will be permitted.”

“When I read the HOA document, it seemed it was for an older community, not a community that really welcomed children,” Planning Commission member Susan Stiles said. “So I had a lot of issues with various things in it. In Yellow Springs, we love chickens. We like trampolines for children and colorful houses.”

Sears responded by saying the HOA document that was included in the final plat plan was just a “boilerplate draft.”

“Nothing in there is too hard and fast,” Sears said. “It’s just to get the conversation started. We will control the HOA until there are homeowners in place who we can hand it over to. Once they’re in charge, they can modify it.”

Swinger told the News separately that she believes the HOA stipulations shouldn’t keep Council from approving the final plat.

“We need to get past the aesthetics of what people call ‘cookie cutter,’” Swinger said. “When you live in a development for a decade, people change their colors. Everything gets its own individual look over time, even if that look rubs people wrong at the beginning.”

Swinger added: “At the end of the day, we’re going to get 90 new families in the community, and the village and the schools should welcome them. We’re desperate for more housing.”

Additional reporting on the proposed Spring Meadows subdivision will appear in the News when the final plat ordinance appears before Village Council.

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