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Published: Thursday, 7/29/2004

Lucas County Plan Commission puts off a decision on Monclova subdivision

Dayle Reed said she has nothing against development.

But when a subdivision was proposed in Monclova Township adjacent to her Maumee-Western Road home, she said she felt compelled to remind members of the Lucas County Plan Commission that they had seen this concept before.

In 2002, township voters overturned the approved rezoning of 36.3 acres near Swan Creek, in essence blocking a proposed upscale subdivision that was being planned.

Mrs. Reed, a lifelong township resident, said yesterday that although a new developer is involved, township residents already have seen the proposal and made their decision.

"When a similar proposal came before the voters, it was defeated in every precinct in the township," she said.

Craig Harris, president of Westvalley Development Inc., of Toledo, appeared before the Lucas County Plan Commission asking that the acreage be rezoned from agricultural/residential to suburban residential.

The plan, he said, is to build 53 houses on 1,600-square-foot lots on the south side of Maumee-Western, west of Butz Road. Fifteen percent of the area would remain greenspace and access to Swan Creek.

Mr. Harris said the proposal differed from what voters previously overturned because it would have larger lots and fewer houses. He also noted that the proposal was in line with the township's current master plan.

Township Trustee Barbara Lang admitted the development did not contradict the current plan but said the township board has made it a priority to update the plan, including changing the planned use of the 36.3 acres to reflect the will of the voters.

Ms. Lang said she was relieved that the Lucas County Plan Commission deferred the proposal to the Aug. 25 meeting, giving local officials time to hash out concerns with developers. "I hope we can reach a consensus because without that I'm afraid there will be another referendum and that won't do anybody any good," she said.

James Kennedy, vice chairman of the township zoning board, said township officials would feel more comfortable if the developer would agree to a Planned Use Development that would require that any modification to the original plan would require approval from the board of zoning appeals.

"There's a different engineering name on it, but it's the same layout," he told plan commission members. "If he says he's going to present something different, he should in fact present something different."

Mr. Harris said he would use the 30 days until the next meeting to meet with officials. He said he is open to a Planned Use Development agreement, but felt strongly that it should not come into play at this time.

Mr. Harris said despite warnings from township and plan commission officials that the issue could wind up back before voters, he's not so sure he'd lose.

"The complexion of the voting public in the last two years has changed completely, as is what happens in all quick-growing areas," he said. "We have a little different product, quite frankly, that's nicer, more architecturally harmonious, and the builders that buy our lots enjoy a higher reputation."

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