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Crafting a community

January 18th, 2007
Mike Pramik, The Columbus Dispatch

A Columbus developer hopes to create a classic Ohio small town northwest of Dublin in Jerome Township.

Final plans are gelling for Jerome Village, a planned community that will offer housing, offices, retail stores and other amenities on 1,350 acres of farmland.

“Normal development goes along at 80 acres at a clip,” said Scott Mallory, president of Highland Management. “You fit things together in a piecemeal fashion. In a development like this, you can plan so you don’t end up painting yourself in a corner.” Highland purchased about half of the land for the project. It has the remainder under contract.

Highland also has secured the backing of Arena District developer Nationwide Realty Investors for the project, which promises 2,200 rooftops.

More than half will be within a 10-minute walk of a town center complete with a police and fire station, a library, a post office, shops and restaurants.

Its backers say Jerome Village is a concept unique to central Ohio that will incorporate antisprawl principles of smart growth, new urbanism and resource conservation.

Highland has submitted a final development plan to the Jerome Township zoning department, and a hearing is scheduled for February. It could reach the township trustees in the spring or summer, trustee Bob Merkle said.

What is Jerome Village?

It could be the new New Albany or at least could resemble it. Highland plans to create a community-development authority, similar to New Albany’s, in which residents will pay for roads and services such as access to parks and pools.

Mallory said the goal is to create a property-tax obligation similar to that of Dublin. That makes sense because 85 percent of the development is in the Dublin City Schools district.

Jerome Village intends to tap into the Marysville water system and use a Marysville waste-water treatment plant in Marysville expected to come on line in late 2008.

The use of Marysville’s services will allow Highland to begin building houses next year with the first residents to be in place in 2009. That’s market permitting. The past two years have been slow ones for local homebuilders, so there is a question whether the demand will be there.


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