WORTHINGTON — An unexpected hurdle has changed plans to begin development of the Dugdale Housing Addition, a 52.59-acre plot west of the Glenwood Heights neighborhood.

When the city purchased the land in May 2019, it intended to develop the land in two phases, beginning with the north and east sides of the parcel. New discoveries will alter plans for Phase One.

Further inspection has revealed two wetland areas previously unknown to city officials, Worthington Public Utilities General Manager Scott Hain told the Water & Light Commission Monday afternoon. One of them is right in the middle of the proposed Phase One project as originally outlined.

City Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield is in the process of applying for permission from the state to mitigate the wetlands offsite — meaning the creation of protected wetlands elsewhere, or buying credits in a wetland bank to result in a net zero loss of total wetlands.

"In order to keep construction moving, we wanted to identify Phase One," Hain said. Since it could be May before a final answer is returned on Haffield's request, the city would like to begin work on at least a portion of the site.

Rather than including the entire sum as originally planned, Phase One now includes 13 executive lots in the northwest corner of the property, five twin home lots along the southeast edge and four move-up lots just north of the twin homes, across Sutherland Drive.

The outcome of the application to mitigate the wetlands offsite will impact future phases of the project. If approved, development will proceed as planned. If not, there are two ideas for the final layout, which would mean reducing the number of lots from 92 or 93 to just 85.

The Water & Light Commission was not expected to make a decision at this point. After construction on Phase One begins, the next step is to await the state's decision on Haffield's appeal.