HUBER HEIGHTS — Residents of Aaron Lane got what they wanted at Monday night’s Huber Heights Council meeting.
A number of residents from Aaron Lane and the surrounding area were at the meeting for a public hearing on a rezoning request from developer Barry Eavenson, who is requesting a change in zoning from R-3 residential to R-4 residential for the Quail Ridge development, located on the south side of Chambersburg Road west of Old Troy Pike.
The change in zoning would allow more houses to be built on the 21.4-acre plot. R-3 zoning calls for a minimum 80-foot frontage with 15,000 square foot lots, while R-4 calls for 60 foot of frontage for each lot with a minimum of a 7,500 square foot lot.
Residents from Aaron Lane, Fishburg Road and Chambersburg Road all were on hand to talk against the proposed development. They cited safety, added traffic and potential higher crime rates as reasons to oppose the development. But their biggest concern was extending Aaron Lane so it would run from Chambersburg Road to Fishburg Road.
“Safety is the big deal,” Steve Corcoran said. “From what I heard from our neighbors it’s unanimous that nobody wanted Aaron to go through.”
Tony Rice and other speakers asked council to keep the country feel of Aaron Lane intact.
“We moved here, just as all these other folks have been talking about, to have the country in the city,” he said. Rice said traffic already is a big problem in the area. “You have too much going on in too small a spot,” he said.
After hearing the objections, Councilman Glenn Otto asked the audience if it was making Aaron Lane a connector between Fishburg and Chambersburg that was the problem or if the development itself was the issue. The overwhelming response from the audience was that Aaron Lane was the issue.
Eavenson then said he would be happy to keep Aaron Lane as a dead end. He said the original R-3 proposal did not call for the road to become a connector and he would do whatever the city wanted with the road.
That brought a comment from Mayor Tom McMasters, who advocates making Aaron Road a connector.
“I’m looking at this area and this area is going to have a lot of development here and further down on Chambersburg Road and the more cut-throughs you have through there the more likely you’re going to have good traffic flow throughout the city for all events.
“Ultimately, the best traffic flow for the city is to have as many cut-throughs between Chambersburg and Fishburg as we can get,” he said.
McMasters said he hoped the city would at least keep the option open of making the road run from Chambersburg to Fishburg sometime in the future.
That argument didn’t convince members of council.
City Manager Rob Schommer said the original recommendation from city staff was to not have Aaron Lane go all the way through. He said the actual width and design of the roadway is not up to current thoroughfare standards and the city would have to widen the road and put in sidewalks and curbs.
Councilmember Richard Shaw made a motion to amend the ordinance to prohibit making Aaron Lane connect the two major roads.
“As long as I’m sitting in this seat,” Shaw said, “Aaron Lane will remain as is.”
After discussion about the wording of the ordinance, council eventually agreed on wording provided by Schommer: “There shall be no public street connections to Aaron Lane or Hialeah Place except only a gated emergency access to Hialeah Place.”
Council passed that change to the ordinance 6-0. Councilman Ed Lyons was not at the meeting and Council Member Janell Smith left the meeting early.
Council then passed the ordinance onto a second reading. As it stands now, the rezoning to R-4 would take place but Aaron Lane would remain a dead-end street. Council will take up the ordinance again at its next council meeting.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.