Two long-standing development proposals in Granville moved closer to fruition after unanimous votes from the Granville Village Council during its last meeting of 2023.
A development plan for the Mill District, a 11,995-square-foot complex that will feature retail spaces and a Chipotle Mexican Grill near the fire station on S. Main Street, received final approval from the council during the Dec. 20 meeting.
With final approval from the council, the Mill District developers should be set to break ground on the lot, located at 520, 530, 540, 560 and 580 S. Main St., early next year, Mill District LLC Manager and real estate developer Karl Schneider said in November.
The project, which has been in the works for nearly two decades, received conditional approval from the council in November.
The complex will be smaller than neighboring buildings, including the 14,000-square-foot fire station directly to the north of the property, Mayor Melissa Hartfield said Wednesday night.
“The planning commission did a nice job” with the project, Hartfield said during the council meeting. “The building is going to have some architectural depth and height, and a lot of nice features so that it doesn’t look like a strip mall or anything like that.”
Hartfield said the developers paid “close attention to detail” when designing the project, which will include plenty of parking, easy pedestrian access and a rain garden out front.
Hannah Hutchinson, who works for Schneider, celebrated the council decision.
“It feels really good to have the unanimous support from the council,” Hutchinson said. “Speaking on behalf of the owner, they’ve owned the property for a really long time and have looked at a lot of different options here. It feels really good to have the community support for what we’re doing.”
At this point, developers do not have an anticipated cost for the project.
The second project, a proposed 70-unit housing development for Denison University faculty and staff members, took another step in the long bureaucratic process when the council unanimously approved annexation of the 31.317-acre township property along New Burg Street.
The property across from the Granville High School and Middle School complex is owned by Denison University and falls within the Granville Township, though with annexation, the village will provide municipal water and sewer utilities.
Though the property will eventually host up to 70 units, the first phase of the project will allow construction of up to 30, Village Manager Herb Koehler told the council.
Throughout the annexation process – underway for over a year – village staff members met with representatives from Denison University and the Granville Village Exempted School District, as well as residents along New Burg Street who raised concerns about a potential increase in traffic because of the new development. Although there is traffic congestion along New Burg Street during morning and afternoon hours when school is in session, a study conducted by the Kleingers Group of Westerville found the proposed Denison development would not have a significant impact upon traffic.
“We’re still going to work with Denison, the school district, and the township on ways to improve or alleviate congestion on New Burg Street,” Koehler said earlier this year. “One thing that is going to happen next year is there will be a roundabout installed at New Burg and North Pearl Street. We believe that will certainly help traffic and alleviate some of the congestion.”
Koehler said recently that some preliminary work for the roundabout was done this fall, including moving some utility lines and clearing some land at the intersection, but construction won’t begin until at least April to avoid disrupting school traffic.
Both the development proposal and the annexation ordinance were open for public comment during the Dec. 20 meeting, although no members of the public weighed in.
Julia Lerner writes for TheReportingProject.org, the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program, which is sponsored in part by the Mellon Foundation and donations from readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.