Former KSU Golf Course will become an 85-home development

Kent State’s old golf course is about to be home to a whole lot of new homes.

In a Valentine’s Day decision, Franklin Township’s Board of Zoning Appeals and township trustees approved a plan from Heritage Development, in Moreland Hills, to build 85 new single-family homes on 40 acres of the former golf course on state Route 59.

The development will stretch from state Route 59 south to the CSX Railroad tracks, and from Powder Mill Road east to the Pebblebrook subdivision. Golfers may remember that land as the front nine.

The development will consist of two intersecting roads, each ending in cul-de-sacs. There will be one entrance off state Route 59 and one off Powder Mill Road. The developers are also planning walking paths and a gazebo, though where they may be is not finalized, said Heritage Development Vice President Rob Benjamin.

The developer’s site plan describes a typical lot as having 60 feet of frontage and being 110 feet deep. Homeowners will be subject to the rules and regulations of a homeowners association.

Benjamin said home prices are anticipated to start in the low $300,000 range, with increases contingent on the builder’s or buyer’s specific requests. Though several builders have expressed interest in buying lots, Benjamin would not identify them and no contracts have been signed. Builders may construct model homes to entice customers or may build on spec, hoping to impress buyers with ready-made residences, Benjamin said.

The plan now goes to the county engineer’s office for additional approvals and then will be subject to scrutiny by ODOT and the Ohio EPA, Benjamin said. They hope to begin building the roads this fall, with home construction to commence in the spring of 2023.

The township’s Board of Zoning Appeals got involved because of a zoning code that allows for 75 dwellings on the acreage. Heritage’s plan is for 85.

The land had been zoned commercial along state Route 59, and then R-1 (low density residential housing) south to the tracks and beyond them, but was rezoned entirely R-1 upon Heritage Development’s request, said township zoning inspector Joe Ciccozzi.

Heritage had previously tried to have the land zoned R-2, (medium density housing), which would have allowed 112 potential homes, but was denied. 

Township trustees, who may accept or reject the board’s recommendations, did not want the two-family duplexes or attached homes that R-2 zoning would have permitted, Board of Zoning Appeals member Sam Abell said.

“We reached a compromise, and with 85 units they could still have 10% more open space than the zoning code requires,” he added.

Kent State closed the 50-year-old golf course in 2016, citing a five-year trend of decreasing revenues. Though the university retains ownership of the land, BHHS Stouffer Realty listed it for $1.4 million about two years ago, and it is under contract to Heritage, said BHHS Stouffer Realty branch manager Tara Kleckner.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.