A request for an amended “trigger event” to require construction in the Toftrees planned community triggered a debate on the importance of town centers in Patton Township.
During the Patton Township Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, the board reviewed a request by the developers of the community asking the board to amend the event that requires initial construction of the proposed town center area. Regulations require that construction begin when the total number of residential units hits 2,300.
The developers are requesting that trigger number be raised to 2,700.
According to the board, the community is closing in on 1,800 units. The requirements for the town center are coming in sooner than anticipated, according to a representative from S&A Homes.
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The reason for the trigger, said Vice Chairman Bryce Boyer, was so that when “x” number of residents arrived, the town center would be able to supply the needs of the residents. Because people are still coming in, why would the center not be needed at the original trigger point?
According to township Manager Doug Erickson, it comes down to a policy issue. When community concepts were planned, there was always a thought that the community would have a “rich mix of uses. Over the last 30 years of development, we haven’t really seen that.”
Some communities do well commercially, he said, but that can be attributed to location, such as the Oakwood area being near a planned interchange. Other communities, such as Grays Woods, he said, will be little more than residential due to its location.
“At this point, no one is interested in doing a town center,” he said. “If someone was interested in doing a town center, they would be doing one. It’s a matter of when we get to that trigger, what will happen at that point.”
Board member Jeff Luck said that if he thought any of the residents were expecting a town center, he’d be less inclined to agree to the amendment.
Member Walt Wise said that the center is part of the whole deal, but if things are lining up too quickly, they could move forward in the future.
The board agreed that a downtown area is something that must evolve within a community, not something that can be regulated. The addition of a center reflects the desire to bring different types of housing into the township. Outside of single-family dwellings, housing doesn’t vary.
Community centers are also dependent on population density, according to a planning representative. The type of density needed to support a town center is about seven to 10 units per acre. Centers are supported by the developments adjacent to it — community members should be able to walk to the center.
The board agreed unanimously to refer the matter to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation.
In other business, the board discussed three options for routing the Circleville bikeway in the area of Grays Wood boulevard and Scotia Road.
The first option would see the bikeway following the east side of Grays Wood, crossing where the boulevard meets Scotia and continuing along the east side Scotia. The estimated total cost for this option is $391,075.
The second option would see the bikeway cross Grays Wood where the path first meets the road, continuing along the west side of the boulevard and crossing Scotia. The estimated total cost for this option is $422,311.
The final option would see the bikeway cross Grays Wood near Pinewood Place and travel through a wooded area east of the homes along Thorndale Road. The path would then cross Scotia and continue south. The estimated total cost for this option is $425,581.
The board decided not to act on the bikeway options, but to instead gather additional information from the community.