WILMINGTON — A lengthy Wilmington City Council meeting saw locals expressing concerns about developments at the former drive-in theater at 1057 N. Lincoln St.
At Thursday’s meeting, city officials heard from developers and residents during a public hearing about the planned unit development (PUD).
Andrea Tacaronte, City of Wilmington’s deputy service director and clerk or council, advised attendees and the council they had been in discussions for “about a year” with DDC Management in Miamisburg, the construction company behind the project.
“(We’ve been) going through different ways that this might work to develop a subdivision where the drive-in theater was,” said Tacaronte.
The 28.6 acres would go from being zoned as a suburban neighborhood to a traditional neighborhood. At a May city council meeting, there were talks of making it a 92-unit single-family dwelling neighborhood. Then at a planning commissions meeting in November, there was talk of increasing the density, resulting in 113 residential units.
The drive-in last operated in 2015. The property is still owned by Chakeres Theatres, according to the Clinton County Auditor’s website, and is listed as “sale pending” by Coldwell Banker Heritage (formerly Bennett Realty).
Clayton Sears, director of land acquisition at DDC, began by addressing concerns about drainage in the southwest corner of the lot and by the adjacent property.
“We’ve been working with our engineer … and we’ve come up with a very good solution,” said Sears. “We’re working with the city engineering consultant to propose a drainage swale.”
According to masterclass.com, drainage swales are “shallow ditches that blend in with surrounding landscape design, facilitate water management, and encourage natural irrigation.”
The swale Sears mentioned would be outside lot 92 and would traverse west into a catch basin they’re proposing.
He added that since they’ve been working on this for awhile, they are far into the engineering, which he said helped them catch these issues.
Council member Nick Eveland mentioned that City Public Works Director Rick Schaffer and other city people met on site and there would be a catch basin at a corner.
He also addressed concerns involving the connection the new development would have with Kentucky Avenue. The new portion of Kentucky Avenue that DDC is proposing would tie into the existing construct. They are exploring the possibilities of installing pedestrian sidewalks for Kentucky and Lincoln Avenue.
Amy Johnson, a local who owns property on North South Street, across the street from the PUD, wanted to know what average lot size would be, how much land would the structures take up, and wondered about street parking. She also wanted to know if a traffic impact study had been done and was available for the public.
Tacaronte advised an impact study had been discussed at a prior public planning commission meeting. She said she would offer Johnson a copy of the study. Tacaronte advised the lot width is 41 feet with a 4,000 minimum lot area.
David Ruck said he believes the city is ready to “accommodate the developers … by rezoning it to smaller lots” and felt it was trying to put too much into a small area. Ruck advised he heard people wanted small lot sizes but couldn’t find the study. He also expressed concern about traffic and parking in the area.
Jamie Knowles expressed his dislike for it and felt it would lower the property value. He also expressed concerns about the water drainage and was worried about how much was coming out of city funds.
“I just think we need to do a lot more studying on what’s going on here,” said Knowles.
Jason Stoops had two questions for the city. The first was on the zoning variance — he wondered if it was beneficial for the city or the developers. He also asked that with the additional housing, would there be a sewer upgrade.
Schaffer advised the city would install an upgrade that would run down Kentucky Avenue over to the water plant.
Jane Johns asked if the PUD was in line with the city’s fire safety code due to the distance between the units. Tacaronte advised there was a minimum distance of five feet with a combined 10 feet with side yards.
Council performed the first reading of an ordinance approving the preliminary PUD plan for CCD, and amending the zoning map to include a PUD overlay on traditional neighborhood parcels. The second reading is planned for the next meeting on March 16.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574