Saturday, February 21, 2004

House plan alive

Developer aims to resubmit

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FORT THOMAS - A developer is preparing to resubmit plans for a subdivision previously rejected by the Fort Thomas Planning Commission.

And even though planners have indicated that Fischer Homes would have a better chance of winning approval if the scope of the $38 million, 117-home project was reduced, the revamped plan may actually be larger than the original.

Officials at Crestview Hills-based Fischer Homes, one of the Northern Kentucky's best known and most prolific homebuilders, did not return phone calls Friday. The company has until the end of next week to submit a formal development plan to the city, Fort Thomas City Administrator Jeff Earlywine said Friday.

That plan will include specifics about the project, including the number of homes and how they will be built on a hillside along Chesapeake Avenue that abuts the city of Woodlawn.

Other concerns

Fischer representatives attended Wednesday's planning commission meeting and applied to appear at a March 17 zoning hearing. But the project details won't be known until the formal plan is submitted next week.

"From what we understand Fischer has acquired another piece of property along Chesapeake that will improve access to the proposed development site," Earlywine said.

"Because they've acquired the additional property they actually might have a few more lots than they originally proposed," he said.

Earlywine said the commission had "environmental concerns" about tree removal, grading, and the impact of the project on the hillside.

In its original application, Fischer said as many as 4,300 trees would be cut down.

"The plan will have to show how those concerns are addressed," Earlywine said.

Residents in Woodlawn helped lead the effort to defeat the original plan. Their concerns included increased traffic congestion, storm water runoff and the elimination of a wooded area that overlooks the.

Woodlawn resident Terry Rasche, the city's former mayor and an opponent of the original plan, said Friday he is willing to "wait and see what the (plans) look like," he said.

Rasche said Fischer representatives have contacted Woodlawn officials to set up a meeting on the project.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they make some kind of offer to upgrade Woodlawn's sewer system or some other way to deal with the water runoff from the hill," Rasche said. "We're concerned about mudslides and erosion if we get too much water coming off that hill."

Bellevue city and school officials are also concerned about water runoff, said Bellevue City Administrator Don Martin.

"The only concern we have is the potential for increased flooding down near Bellevue (High School) football stadium," Martin said Friday.

"But as long as the development complies with storm water regulations and retains runoff on the site, they can probably accomplish what they want to," he said.


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