Sunday, February 22, 2004

Revised plan has 47 fewer houses

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

AMBERLEY VILLAGE - In hopes of gaining support for its controversial housing proposal for the former Crest Hills Country Club property, now zoned as park land, Hal Homes Inc. has revised its initial proposal for the property. It now has offered to build 47 fewer houses than originally planned and to cede to the village 12 acres for park land as well as the clubhouse and other facilities.

"We felt it's a good compromise," said Hal Silverman, president of Hal Homes Inc. of Blue Ash.

The developer wants the planning commission to recommend a zoning change for the 133-acre site at Ridge and Galbraith roads from park to residential. He presented plans to the planning commission last week.

The planning commission will vote on the new request at a 7 p.m. March 3 meeting at the village administration building. Village Council makes the final decision.

Residential zoning for part of the property would allow Hal Homes Inc. to build 38 homes on lots one acre or larger. A different kind of residential zoning for another section of the site would allow construction of 52 homes on lots a half-acre or larger.

A 500-foot-wide strip of park land would run along Ridge Road to Galbraith, Silverman said.

But Susan Glazer, a member of a committee formed to fight the housing development, said the revised housing plan doesn't sway her group's opposition to the zoning change.

"Our mantra is, keep Crest Hills zoned park," she said. "We don't care how many houses he wants to build."

Opponents of the development say it would create too much traffic, harm the ambience of Amberley and overburden village services. Silverman and his development's supporters say theproject would cause none of those problems and would provide needed tax revenue.

Silverman also is pursuing planned unit development zoning for the same property. The planning commission recently recommended the rejection of the request to create that zoning classification. Village Council will make a final decision about that request before voting on the residential zoning proposal.


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