Easton Farm project returning to Springboro Planning Commission for more review

Ed Richter, Dayton Daily News, Ohio
·4 min read

Apr. 11—SPRINGBORO — Developers of the proposed $256 million Easton Farm mixed-use development will return Wednesday to the Springboro Planning Commission for more review of their plan and request to rezone the 103.31-acre property.

Dan Boron, Springboro city planner, said the project's latest submission in the multi-step process included a revised design guidelines booklet, but no other revisions to the layout of the proposed plan were submitted for Wednesday's meeting.

He said the March meeting was for the planning commission to "get a look at the big picture" and that subsequent meetings, such as Wednesday's meeting will enable the commission to drill down more on the details. Boron said that requests are not up for final review or a recommendation vote at Wednesday's meeting and that comments about the project will continue to be accepted.

At last month's meeting residents raised concerns about traffic, density and building heights. The developers, Dillin LLC of Springboro and Borror of Columbus, were asked about downsizing or eliminating the apartments. Developer Larry Dillin said he would be against it because it would not have the quality they are looking for in this project.

"If you want that, I'd pull the application," he said.

The first step is to rezone the approximately 103 acres from R-1-residential to Planned Unit Development-mixed use development and a review of the general development plan.

Dillin LLC and Borror have submitted an application for the rezoning of the land that sits between Anna Drive and Tamarack Trail.

The two developers want to build a development on land called the Easton Farm, a 103-acre parcel of land on the west side of North Main Street/Ohio 741, that would include a commercial district, parks, walking/biking paths, multi-family housing, an independent living center, retail and restaurant areas, townhomes and single-family homes.

Dillin said the goal of the project is to create a walkable, mixed-use community and neighborhood to address various needs not being met in Springboro. Last month, Dillin said the goal of the project is to create a walkable, mixed-use community and neighborhood to address various needs not being met in Springboro.

"We continue to have an interactive dialog to improve the details of the plan," Dillin said. "We are paying close attention to the questions from members of planning commission, and we are working cooperatively with city staff to plan and make incremental adjustments to the design standards and site plan details, but to maintain the character and the vision that was thoughtfully and deliberately created for The Easton Farm."

At Wednesday's meeting, Dillin is planning to show past development work, a master planned, mixed use community with a fully integrated plan, along with interviews from public officials responsible for that project and current city staff who will speak to the quality, character and commitment to the original vision even today, 20 years later.

In addition, Dillin will also provide current video of two existing mixed-use developments that have been benchmarked for Easton Farm. Norton Commons in Louisville, Ky. and Baldwin Park in Orlando, Fla. Both feature a master plan almost exclusively with rear loaded homes, townhomes, multi-family and a commercial district — fully integrated and walkable. The goal is to give planning commission a better feel for the quality and the character of the overall development. It is that quality and that character that will drive the services and amenities at Easton Farm, Dillin said.

"When we started planning the project in 2017, it started with conversations between city staff and the land owner on goals for the property. With that input, we knew that everyone's desire, at least in part, was to reflect Springboro's history," Larry Dillin said. "The idea of TND or traditional neighborhood design, lead us to the rear loaded lots and homes with front porches that connect to a strong streetscape with no driveway interruptions. The New Suburbanist way of planning is pedestrian oriented, while accommodating todays automobile needs. Connectivity — social connectivity — between neighbors throughout the development along with an atmosphere that encourages walkability is a key aspect to the overall design."

HOW TO WATCH

The online meeting will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday and a link to the virtual meeting can be accessed through the city's website.