Sycamore residents oppose development

Saturday, August 8, 1998

Enquirer Contributor

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP -- Against the township's wishes, Hamilton County planners have recommended office development be allowed on the northwest corner of Kenwood and Galbraith roads as part of the Sycamore Center land-use plan update.

But township officials and some nearby residents are concerned that the office designation might spur further commercial development in the bustling area, well outside Kenwood's commercial district.

"That's kind of where we have decided the main business center should end, is that corner," said township Trustee Cliff Bishop. "I see the potential for problems . . . it would make it easier for business development to move on up closer to the (Silverwood Presbyterian) church."

Homes near the site also prompted the township to push for a "residence transitional" designation. "There are homes directly across the street, and that's why we were trying to keep that transition effect."

Township trustees had wanted the site, now a parking lot for Jewish Hospital, to be residence transitional, which would not have allowed office development. The Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission adopted mixed-use transitional, which allows offices.

The changes came after the planning commission updated the land use plan, which was first adopted in 1993. Land use plans are examined every five years, and this review has been ongoing since May, said Caroline Andrews, a planner with the regional planning commission.

The land use plan for this busy area -- which includes Kenwood Towne Centre and the ever-growing Jewish Hospital -- is a blueprint for development, Mrs. Andrews said.

"The land-use plan is just a guide," she said. "It just says that if the site is to develop or redevelop, it proposes suitable land uses."

The plan does not invoke zone changes, but it is used as a resource when zoning requests being considered by the Hamilton County commissioners, Mrs. Andrews said.

"It's a fairly flexible document," she said. "What it does, it provides a guide for any new zoning or any new uses."

The commission designated the corner site for offices to be consistent with current zoning, Mrs. Andrews said.

"The site in question is already zoned for office use," she said. "Even though it's zoned office, (township officials) don't wish to encourage office."

Residents living near the site are mixed on what type of development should go there.

"If we're going to be here, I'd rather it be residential," said Lynn Elfers, who lives three doors down from the site. "Personally, I'd rather see it stay a parking lot."

But next door, Paul Tabor said the area is already in a transitional mode, and an office development may create a buffer from the commercial. "They're kidding themselves if they think this is a residential neighborhood," he said. "We don't consider ourselves living in a residential area at all."

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