WOOSTER — A proposed rezoning plan for a 376-unit housing development on Oldman Road across from Wooster High School was withdrawn from Monday’s City Council meeting this morning.
The decision came after the applicant, Wooster City Schools Superintendent Gabe Tudor, requested that it be withdrawn.
In addition, the zoning proposal was removed from the Monday agenda and the public hearing was canceled, according to a Facebook post by the city.
The move comes after residents from a nearby neighborhood expressed concerns about the proposed housing development.
Many residents along Skylark Avenue and Oak Hill Road placed signs in their front yards that read, “Not in my backyard” and “Against WCS land swap.”
“I don’t feel like the administration is listening to us because the Planning Commission passed the development plan and what’s to stop City Council from passing it,” Marc Hussman, a resident on Skylark Avenue, told the Daily Record last week. “We were blindsided by this.”
The bi-monthly Wooster City Council meeting will go on as scheduled without the proposal or hearing, according to the revised Nov. 1 agenda.
Tudor did not immediately respond Monday to a call for comment.
What the proposal entailed
If approved by the council, the now-withdrawn proposal would have rezoned the 29-acre R-1 suburban single-family residential property to planned development and community facilities.
This rezoning would have paved the way for a senior living campus on the west side of the property built by Lemmon Development. According to the development plans, 36 single-family homes, 16 villas, and an 85-unit independent living facility were planned for the site.
Vision Apartments planned to build a 236-unit complex on the east side of the property.
The project was part of the city’s plan to increase its housing stock following a boost in population over the last decade.
“This project will serve to create new housing opportunities for newer and future workers who would otherwise need to commute,” said Jonathan Millea, the city’s development coordinator.
To keep up with the anticipated population bump in the area, the city planned to install a roundabout at the intersection of Oldman Road and Oak Hill Road, Millea said.
No announcements were made regarding this roadway plan.
A proposed land swap
The Wooster City School District considered a proposed land swap deal with the Noble Foundation for a transaction fee of $10,000 in March, according to a Daily Record report.
In return for the 29 acres adjacent to Kean Elementary on Oldman Road, the school district would gain 32 acres directly north of the Wooster High School stadium.
The 29 acres next to Kean Elementary is where the proposed senior living campus and apartments would be constructed.
This land swap would have given the district room to expand, according to former Superintendent Michael Tefs.
“As we look at the need for growth in the future, this is going to be 32 acres right behind our stadium and is really going to be very, very positive for the school district for generations to come,” Tefs told the Wooster school board in March.
Not long after the considered land swap, the school district announced its 30-year master plan and three proposals that would see renovated and new schools throughout the city, the Daily Record reported in April.
The plan aims to accommodate the city’s anticipated population growth as more housing developments are constructed, according to Wooster City Schools website.
Outlined on the school districts’ website are six different housing developments proposed in Wooster, including the Oldman Road apartments and senior living campus.
With an estimated 683 housing units to be constructed throughout the city, the school district would need to accommodate an additional 1.4 students per unit, according to the district’s website.
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