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Published: Wednesday, 1/7/2004

Proposed UT apartments vex neighbors

Bobbi Anderson heard some good ideas last night from developers hoping to build an apartment complex on North Westwood Avenue, but that does not mean she believed they all would come to fruition.

“You two gentlemen need a dose of reality,” she said after several presentations at the University of Toledo s Driscoll Alumni Center. “What you re talking about is not in our world.”

While the Bancroft Hills resident said she thinks the 586-bedroom facility proposed by Edwards Communities, Inc. would be good for the area, she said some of the assumptions related to traffic impact and the environmental state of the former industrial site seem idealistic.

She was one of more than 35 people who came to hear developers and UT officials talk about the proposal for 81/2 acres at 1744 North Westwood, just north of UT s engineering complex. The plan will go before the Toledo Plan Commission tomorrow. It calls for three buildings and 513 parking spaces and would require a zoning change from industrial to multi-family apartment residential.

The former Hilfinger Corp. site was used for foundry operations, electroplating, and metal finishing before Owens-Illinois, Inc., bought the property for warehousing. The land is vacant now other than a parking lot leased by UT.

Documents provided to the plan commission by MACTEC Engineering & Consulting, Inc., of Novi, Mich., concluded that “based on current and historical site data, the concentrations of contaminants do not pose a threat to human health or the environment. ...”

Ronald Cory, vice president of site selection for Edwards Communities, said the $15 million apartments would be “second to none” with kitchens and washers and dryers in every unit as well as a bathroom for every bedroom.

A six-foot fence is planned around the property, and Mr. Cory said he expects many students to walk to campus instead of drive since it would be so close. University officials said the complex, because of its proximity, could help recruit students to UT, which is experiencing a housing crunch.

Many residents expressed concern about the company s ability to control student behavior. Dan Dawson, president of the United Neighborhood Residential Association, said having that many students together will only add to the problems - trash, partying, and parking among them - already rampant in Bancroft Hills.

“We are surprised and disappointed that the University of Toledo has now sanctioned such a program,” he said.

Toby Schreiner, a Bancroft Hills resident, said it looked like a good project to him.

“There s a heck of a lot of worse things that could go onto that property,” he said.



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