By Kelly Cantwell
Pierce Township Trustees approved a preliminary development plan for a 219-home subdivision during a special meeting on Oct. 25.
The project, called Prestwick Place, is a 109.53 acre subdivision. Representatives from Fischer Homes asked the trustees to approve the plan with 229 homes, which is a density of 2.09 homes per acre, but the trustees instead approved an earlier plan, that the Zoning Commission recommended, for 219 homes at a density of 2 homes per acre.
“The way we see it is it’s 10 additional good homes in Pierce Township paying taxes and contributing,” Mark Kinne, project planner for Fischer, said. He added that even someone who works in the home building business would not be able to tell a difference between 229 and 219.
The code that the township has would allow for 219 homes, said Allen Freeman, trustee.
“For us to make that change, as you recall, that is somewhat precedent setting, in my mind, and I’m not willing to do that,” Freeman said.
Jason Wisniewski, vice president of planning and zoning for Fischer, said he was talking to an adjacent property owner and possibly could add five acres onto the subdivision, which would allow Fischer to build 229 homes at 2 units per acre. The additional five acres would be greenspace.
“It’s a cavalier presentation to say there’s no difference between 229 and 219. I’m sorry, there is a difference. There’s a difference in the quality of life that these people will live when they’re packed in,” said David Fankhauser, township resident.
He added that the 10 extra homes would also impact the schools, traffic and the sewer system.
Fischer Homes did a traffic study per the Clermont County Engineer’s Office’s requirements, Wisniewski said. The county engineer looked over the study and said it was done correctly. The study showed no changes needed to be made.
When the trustees asked Fischer about doing another study because of concerns from the residents, Fischer contacted the county engineer, who said that their findings had not changed.
“Let me just remind us that our trustees are the ones that are protecting the quality of our life here and if they say that that study was not adequate its incumbent upon them to say ‘no,’ even if you follow the letter of the law,” David Fankhauser said.
The subdivision will include manor and village homes. Manor homes are an 80 foot wide minimum home sites, 9,600 square foot minimum lot size and a total of 15 side set back between homes, which Kinne called “pretty well spread apart,” a comment that drew chuckles from the crowd of about 80.
Village home sites are smaller and targeted to empty nesters. They are 50 foot wide minimum home sites and 6,000 minimum square foot lot size. The smallest homes would be 1,400 square feet.
The architectural requirements for the community are mostly based on Legendary Run.
“We want to maintain the quality of home that is found throughout Pierce Township and that’s also found in Legendary Run,” Kinne said.
The landscaping plan meets or exceeds all Planned Unit Development requirements. The open spaces include a minimum 50 foot buffer yard along both White Oak Road and Merwin 10 Mile Road with a hiker biker trail and a minimum 20 foot buffer yard for the rest of the site utilizing existing landscaping.
Amenities will include an adult and a children’s pool, a playground and parking, Kinne said.
The plan meets all of the resource protection requirements except for the “unstable slopes” provision. The majority of impacts to those areas, however, is that the builder plans to put retention ponds in those areas.
“Looking forward we are working with the township to create the best community possible,” Kinne said.
Since the trustees approved the plan, it goes back to the zoning, then there will be public hearings and then it will come back to the trustees.
“I wish to record that I protest this subdivision and any other subdivision that looks like this with houses packed together,” said Jill Fankhauser, township resident.
Bob Pautke, chairman of the board of trustees, was glad the conversation went well during the meeting.
“I was really happy that there was a civil discussion,” Pautke said.