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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

94-unit plan for senior village spurs anxieties

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
An artist s rendering shows James E. Moline Builders Inc. s proposed village. An artist s rendering shows James E. Moline Builders Inc. s proposed village.
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Neighbors of a proposed housing development off Dorr Street in southwest Toledo cite concerns about zoning density and wetlands preservation as reasons for their opposition to the 94-unit senior village.

Yet the developer of the $4.5 million to $5 million project said he believes their real reasons boil down to anxieties about the race and class of the people who could move there.

I don t think they re really concerned about the wetlands. I don t think they re really concerned about the density, said Jim Moline of James E. Moline Builders Inc., Sylvania Township. Some of it has come down to almost a race issue.

The proposed village would be located on 15 acres of vacant wooded land between 6064 and 6132 Dorr St. that is sandwiched between an older subdivision and the fairly new Foxwood Villas, a 33-lot development of free-standing, single-family villas.

The new project, Brooklyn Park, calls for building 94 two-family, single-story villas in groups of two, four, six, and eight units, and a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse.

The buildings would be situated around a large wetlands area at the property s center, but nearby residents, such as Don Allen, say the construction could cause irrecoverable harm to the wetlands integrity.

I just don t see how you can thread a project in and out of wetlands and not negatively affect it, Mr. Allen said.

Rocleen Reihing, president of Reynolds Corners Community Development Inc., shares Mr. Allen s concerns and said she also worries that the villas would be too dense and out of character with the surroundings. We want low-unit [numbers], conformity to the neighborhood, and we want the wetlands saved, she said.

Not entirely true, according Mr. Moline, who serves as president of JLJ Development Inc., which is proposing the project.

Mr. Moline said in recent months he s been approached by several dismayed residents who expressed worry about low-income residents moving into their backyards by way of his villas.

None of these people are concerned about the environment, he said. They re concerned about their own little world and their property values.

Mrs. Reihing bristled at the suggestion that class or race concerns have played any role in neighbors opposition.

We want to keep it single-family dwelling. We don t care whose single-family dwelling or what color, she said.

The site plan for Brooklyn Park is set to go before the Toledo Plan Commission on Thursday.

The commission twice has approved earlier versions of Mr. Moline s housing proposals for the land, but those plans needed to be redesigned to accommodate the wetlands, he said.

Mr. Moline said Brooklyn Park would be restricted to those 55 or older, and all units will be market-rate.

Pending necessary approvals, which include an OK from the Army Corps of Engineers, construction could begin by late summer and be finished a year later, Mr. Moline said.

Contact JC Reindl at:jreindl@theblade.comor 419-724-6065.



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