Hudson -- The developer of the proposed The Reserve at River Oaks subdivision is getting an early start on the project thanks to action Dec. 9 by the city planning commission.
The commission approved Prestige Homes request to begin tree clearing at the 144 lot project located between West Streetsboro Street and Boston Mills Road.
"We're trying to get a little head start," said Chris Brown, director of land development and acquisition at Prestige Homes.
Brown said clearing permits from the Army Corps of Engineers do not allow trees to come down between April 1 and Sept. 15.
"If we get an extremely wet spring, the tree clearing could possibly take more time than we have and the project would be delayed," Brown explained to the commission.
Brown said his company hoped to begin construction of houses by the middle of summer.
The request was tabled until the commission could hear details of an additional proposal presented by Brown for a revised layout of The Reserve at River Oaks subdivision. That revision entails developing an adjacent 91.5 acre parcel owned by Prestige into 88 additional single family lots.
The request would require a zoning map amendment changing the industrial/commercial designation to residential.
"What we're asking for is your consideration for a rezoning," Brown said. "We've never asked for this before."
Brown told the commission that the 91.5 acres of property, owned by Prestige, has 21 acres of wet land. He added with all the setbacks and requirements connected with the property, there would only be 16 acres of buildable land.
"That makes this parcel difficult to develop," Brown said.
Commission member Bob Drew said he was not in favor of losing industrial/commercial [land] for more houses.
"It is important for us to protect and preserve industrial/commercial land," Drew said.
Community Development Director Mark Richardson said the request was in the early stages. He said the request would go to City Council then be returned to the commission for a public hearing.
Commission member Rob Kagler asked Brown if he had "looked at the viability of developing all that land as commercial.
Brown responded he had not.
Kagler suggested an independent evaluation of the viability of developing the land as commercial property.
He moved to forward the request to City Council with suggestions there be an independent evaluation and that the school board and the economic development board be involved.
Commission member Michael Dostal said he thought it was healthy and appropriate to have that discussion.
"It's a different day. It's something we should revisit," Dostal said.
The commission voted five to one to send the request to Council. Drew was the lone dissenting member.
After voting on the request the commission, returned to the request for clearing trees on the original site plan.
All of the commission members present voted to allow the tree cutting. Commissioner Paul Wolenki was absent.