Friday, January 9, 2004

Land scarce, houses pricey

2 big developments planned

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ANDERSON TWP. - Two large housing developments with about 400 homes combined are coming to this eastern Hamilton County suburb.

The subdivisions will offer a variety of large homes starting at about $300,000 and plenty of green space.

One of them, the 148-acre Ivy Trails development, will straddle the Hamilton/Clermont county line - with 105 acres in Anderson and 43 acres in Union Township. As land is cleared, an effort is being made to preserve as much of the natural beauty as possible, said Peter McGarey, president of Ivy Trails LLC. More than one-third of the land will stay undisturbed, bucking the typical complaint about developers overrunning nature.

"We have about 50 acres of what will be permanent, privately held open space with about 2 to 21/2 miles of walking trails," he said.

The subdivision already has been booked for a Homearama show later this year on more than a dozen lots in the Union Township portion, he added. Home construction will begin this spring.

Township officials say the development will increase the tax base. And though Trustee Peggy Reis concedes the Ivy Trails subdivision and the other new one, Eagle's Watch at Ingram's Ridge off Bruns Lane, will bring in a lot of development, she doubts they will burden roads or schools.

The schools have the capacity to handle all the new children, and road improvements are included in the development plans, she said.

Homes at Ivy Trails will run from $300,000 to more than $1.5 million. The site will include a 4.5-acre lake, miles of walking trails, gazebos and footbridges. There also will be a covered bridge and long driveway serving as the entryway off Eight Mile Road, with a second access from Ravenwood Court in Union Township, records show.

Eagle's Watch at Ingram's Ridge will rise on the former Ingram farm property of about 127 acres. It also can be accessed from Meadowcreek Drive and Ashton Court.

Eagle's Watch will hold 193 homes that will start at $450,000. Lot sizes will vary from one-third acre to one acre; there also will be empty-nester homes on one-third acre lots, township records show.

But the new homes are making some current residents nervous. They expect traffic congestion to worsen on Beechmont Avenue, which sees more than 40,000 vehicles a day.

In the past two years, Anderson has had only one major new subdivision (more than six lots): Bogart's Point, with 26 lots off Berkshire Club Drive, said Paul Drury, the township's assistant director of development services.

With large parcels of land growing scarce, it's unlikely the township will see future developments of this magnitude, officials say.

"Anderson is about 80 percent built out, so we need to look carefully at any future use of land development and/or redevelopment," Reis said.


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