HUDSON — A developer's request to rezone more than 90 acres of land to accommodate a potential subdivision of more than 100 homes drew the ire of numerous residents at the Planning Commission meeting Monday night.

Nearly 50 residents crowded Town Hall Monday evening to hear about Pulte Homes of Ohio LLC's application for a zoning map amendment to rezone 92 acres of land at 2276 Ravenna Street from District 2: Rural Residential Conservation to District 3: Outer Village Residential Neighborhood.

For single-family homes, District 2 allows one unit per 2.5 acres; District 3 allows 2.5 units per acre.

If the rezoning is approved (no action was taken Monday), Pulte would apply for an Open Space Conservation subdivision of 111 sublots on the 92-acre property.

Commission Chairperson Robert Kagler allowed residents to share their feedback. All but one of the residents who spoke voiced opposition to the proposal.

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Ravenna Street resident Melissa Jones said that before moving into the area, she and her husband researched the land development code and were pleased with the low density and preservation of the rural character envisioned for the area.

"What I'm hearing today is an exception to that," said Jones. “Are we willing to start eating away at what the purpose of the [zoning] district is, because it starts with this and then it sets a precedent for another developer to come in and build more developments with the same type of plan in mind."

Ravenna Street resident Skylar Sutton said the proposed rezoning and development "does not embrace rural character."

"Obviously, they're asking for a rezoning because it doesn’t fit with the area," said Sutton. “It doesn’t fit with the intention of the folks who put together the comprehensive plan."

The development would target active adults age 50 or older who do not have children in school; however, there would not be an age restriction on the project, according to the city staff report. The development would offer single floor living options and each lot would be designed at about one-quarter acre. The development also includes an existing 12,000 square foot home which will remain on a 3.4-acre parcel that would be approved as a lot split, said Brad Piroli, Vice President of Land for Pulte, and a Hudson resident.

He added Pulte would like to maintain about 51 percent of the site (47.6 acres) as open space.

Community Development Director Greg Hannan emphasized that Pulte's development plan "is only a concept and a property owner may propose any use or development within an applicable zoning district."

The Planning Commission gave the issue a preliminary review on Monday night. City Council will give the proposal a first reading on Jan. 23 and then refer it back to the commission, which is tentatively slated to host a public hearing Feb. 12.

Piroli said it is "clear and convincing" that Hudson is "losing residents to other municipalities." At another one of Pulte’s developments in another city, Piroli said he often sees Hudson residents who visit and are looking for "emptynester-style homes."

Based on his research, Piroli said there are "very, very few opportunities" left in Hudson for active adult housing, and that his proposal would provide a chance for residents who are ready to downsize. Of the 853 acres available for residential development, about 550 is in zoning District 2 — including the 92 acres eyed for the proposed rezoning — said Piroli.

"I'm not in favor of making zoning amendments unless we have a pretty good idea of what the use is going to be,” said Commission Vice Chair Thomas Harvie.

While Piroli said that Pulte is flexible, he noted "In terms of what the market says, what we want to propose, we're very confident in terms of what we would like to do."

Resident Skylar Sutton said Pulte's proposed project is "300 percent more dense than the surrounding properties."

"It's a direct violation of the comprehensive plan's low density designation," said Sutton.

Sutton also said he was concerned the project would increase traffic congestion and flooding in the area.

"My property already floods," said Sutton. "And that's with open vegetation on this land. If you put 111 homes [on the land] … I'm going to be underwater almost every single day."

The lone resident who spoke in favor of the issue — Robert Healey Jr., who lives on Haymarket Way — said he and his wife fit the profile of the type of homeowner targeted by Pulte with the development. They are emptynesters and have been looking for the type of homes envisioned by Pulte.

"We have spent the last four years looking and looking and looking and we want to stay in Hudson," said Healey. "There's nothing like [what Pulte is proposing] in Hudson. You can either wake up and realize that there is a market for this in Hudson or stay asleep and remain a rural community with low-impact density and losing tax dollars to those of us that want to stay here, but can't find it."

He asked the commission to give "serious consideration" to the proposed rezoning.

Main Street resident Curt Van Blarcum said when he reviewed the comprehensive plan, "it's very, very clear that the intent is to do resource protection" in zoning District 2.

"I don't think this [proposed development] is a very creative design," said Van Blarcum. "I think this stamping out a lot of lots on a parcel of land without much regard to anything other than maximizing the return on the investment."

Kagler said the proposed rezoning would cause a "significant increase" in the density for the area and added, "I don't see support for that in the [city's] comprehensive plan."

He noted he believed a rezoning with a "dramatic increase in density”  should be addressed through the comprehensive plan.

Hannan said the comprehensive plan is "encouraging" the land in question to "stay in its low density zoning and just acknowledging that, if development is proposed, that it be with a low impact design."

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