Sunday, March 7, 2004

Amberley zoning vote looms



By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

AMBERLEY - The opponents of the proposed housing development on the former Crest Hills Country Club have won every round so far in their fight to keep the 133-acre site a park or a golf course.

The next and perhaps final round is approaching.

By a 5-1 vote, Amberley Village Council recently rejected the developer's proposal to create a new classification of zoning that would allow the houses to be built on the Crest Hills property, at Ridge and Galbraith roads.

In addition, the village planning commission has recommended that council turn down the developer's alternative proposal to change the zoning of the property from park to residential to allow the construction of 90 houses.

Council will hold a public hearing on the zoning issue at 7 p.m. April 14 at Rockdale Temple, 8501 Ridge Road. Previous public hearings drew hundreds of residents.

Council could vote on this latest zoning proposal from the developer, Hal Homes Inc. of Blue Ash, at that hearing or its regular meeting on May 10. The property is owned by the Ridge Club.

Opponents of the development say that while they're pleased with their victories so far, they don't want to presume that council will vote on their side.

"We're optimistic," said Susan Glazer, a member of the Save Amberley Village Committee, a citizens' group that formed to keep the Crest Hills property from being developed. "We hope (village officials) continue to see it would not be in Amberley's best interests to change the zoning."

Hal Silverman, president of Hal Homes, said he has tried his best to alter his housing project in response to the criticism that it would harm the ambience of Amberley, a community noted for its large houses on expansive, wooded lots.

He has scaled back the proposed development from 137 homes to 90 homes and has offered the village 12 acres for park land as well as the clubhouse and other facilities. He has promised to preserve a 530-foot-wide strip of green space along Ridge Road to Galbraith.

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




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