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City Planning Commission Plans unveiled for development near lake
|By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
Cottages, luxury apartments, pools and ponds soon may fill an
undeveloped 15-acre plot of grass between West Bank Road and U.S. 127.
Site plans for the new development were approved Tuesday by the Celina
City Planning Commission, and developers hope to begin construction in December.
Brent Crawford, owner and manager of Crawford Communities, Columbus,
unveiled his plans for "Westlake Villas & Luxury Apartments" to the
commission. If all goes as planned, he hopes the development will be completed by next
Plans include building three, three-story apartment buildings with 24
units each overlooking Grand Lake St. Marys and 23 rental cottages all in a subdivision
encompassing the entire 15-acre area. Also included are numerous parking spots, three
ponds, a community center and two pools.
The site is located south of Bella's Italian Grille and the Beaver
Creek, west of the new homes being built on West Bank Road and east of The Boathouse at
Grand Lake along U.S. 127.
Crawford has been working on the development plans with Vern Hoying of
St. Henry, owner of Hidden Shores subdivision on the south side of the lake. Hoying's
company, Brackett Builders of Troy, will be the lead contractor and construction manager.
Crawford and Hoying addressed the commission with their plans Tuesday.
Crawford said his company constructed and manages approximately 1,500
similar developments in and around Columbus, and he want to spread his operation across
"We've already seen quite a bit of excitement over this,"
Crawford said of the need for apartments and seasonal rentals on Grand Lake St. Marys.
Celina Safety Service Director Mike Sovinski said Vickie Waterman of
the Auglaize and Mercer Counties Convention and Visitors Bureau said there is a great need
for cottage-type rentals on the lake. Crawford also said he has been talking with fishing
groups and Eldora Raceway crowds to gauge the need.
Crawford said his development would not have been prevented if the city
didn't have a lakefront revitalization plan, "but it certainly helps to know that
this fits into what the city wants to do."
"We want to go that extra mile, spend the money to make sure it
good all year round," Crawford said.
Even if not one cottage rents during the winter, Crawford said he is
confident the summer season business will make up for it.
The three luxury apartment buildings stretch 550-foot along West Bank
Road with 64 boat docks lining the lake. Parking spots are planned for 450 vehicles inside
Westlake, along with a 4,000-square-foot community center.
The entrance to the development will be on West Bank Road, just south
of the small existing parking lot. The road into the development will be a private drive.
Crawford said he also has an option to purchase two more acres at the northwest corner of
the property that would give the community U.S. 127 access.
Jarred Ebbing of Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc., Celina, said all
requirements are met in terms of sanitary and storm sewers and water lines.
Planning commission members asked if the development will hinder West
Bank Resort LLCıs ability to sell the large homes being built nearby on West Bank Road.
Three homes are built with a fourth being constructed and room for seven more.
"I think it will drastically improve those residences' backyards,
Crawford said, adding that they will probably sell quicker as a result.
Crawford said he wants construction to start by Dec. 1.
"And this isn't a phase project - wow," said Celina Planning
Commission member June Scott.
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