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Published: Thursday, 4/27/2006

Voters to decide fate of proposed subdivision

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Voters in Springfield Township will decide May 2 whether a zoning change should be allowed for a 51-lot subdivision along Garden Road.

Earlier this year township trustees approved the zoning change, but residents opposed to the development circulated petitions to get a referendum on the ballot to decide the issue.

Opponents of the proposed Garden Glen subdivision, which would be built on about 18 acres at 6901 Garden Rd., have expressed concerns about property values and traffic congestion.

Charles Grass, of Kountryside Land Development Co. Inc. of Whitehouse, said opponents lack statistics to support their allegations. Mr. Grass noted that the Lucas County Planning Commission and the township zoning board were in favor of changing the zoning from RA-3 large lot rural residential to R-1 single-family residential.

A concern of opponents who live in Carmella Gardens is the price and size of the proposed homes. Carmella Gardens, where most homes were built in 1975 and 1980, is adjacent to the Garden Glen property.

Mr. Grass said his development would feature homes "for $195,000 and up," and homes would be 1,800 square feet or larger. "Our cheapest home will sell for more than the most expensive home in Carmella Gardens. My development will raise the property values" in the area, Mr. Grass said.

Dick Crowell, president of the Carmella Gardens Homeowners Association, said he was told by Mr. Grass earlier this year that the new homes would be in the 1,400 and 1,700-square-foot range. According to Mr. Crowell, the smallest home sold in 2005 in Carmella Gardens was 1,750 square foot, and the average sale price for Carmella homes last year was $174,280.

Mr. Grass counters with figures showing that the average sale price of Carmella Gardens' homes since 2001 is $152,744.

It's possible that a home in Carmella Gardens would sell in the $160,000s, but "to replace it would cost considerably more," Mr. Crowell said. That means, he said, that Garden Glen homes wouldn't be comparable in value to those in Carmella Gardens. The impact on property values "certainly is a valid concern."

The undeveloped land now generates about $180 in property taxes but would generate $180,000 in property taxes when the 51 homes are built, Mr. Grass said. "This is a major benefit for the township. It generates taxes, and it is consistent with the master plan," Mr. Grass said.

Bob Anderson, Springfield Township administrator, said that the subdivision "does fit with the master plan." Because water and sewer lines are already in place, no major infrastructure improvements would have to be made, he said.

Based on Mr. Grass' proposal, the new subdivision would have the same type of homes that exist in the neighboring development, and would be in the same price range, or probably a little higher, the administrator said.

The trustees' vote in January to approve the zoning change was 1-2 with Marylin Yoder voting yes and Andrew Glenn and Robert Bethel voting no. It would have taken a unanimous no vote to overrule the zoning commission's recommendation for approval.

Mr. Grass' figures show that Garden Glen would increase traffic by 279 trips per day at each of two entrances.

Robbin Syrek, of Garden Road, media liaison for opponents, said "traffic has increased in the last 12 to 18 months" along Garden Road. "It is much more heavily traveled."

Residents, Mr. Syrek said, are concerned that the township would lack the ability to control "landscaping, screening, uniformity, and architectural stipulations" in the proposed subdivision. The development "could have a lot of different styles" of homes, he said, but added that he's not suggesting a cookie-cutter approach, but has concerns about landscaping, among others.

If voters reject the zoning change, Mr. Grass can refile for a zoning change, the administrator said. Some residents oppose the subdivision because it would take another parcel of farmland out of production. Under the RA-3 zoning, farming is allowed, and if voters reject the zoning change, Mr. Grass could decide to raise chickens or pigs on the property.

Also on the May 2 ballot in the area are two Sunday liquor sales issues. In Springfield Township's Precinct 3, voters will decide whether to allow the sale of wine, mixed beverages, and liquor on Sundays between 10 a.m. and midnight at Rosie's Family Restaurant, 606 N. McCord.

In Precinct V in Sylvania Township, Kroger Co. is seeking permission to sell wine, mixed beverages, and liquor on Sundays between 10 a.m. and midnight at its store at 7545 Sylvania Ave.



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