Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Council rejects Dilcrest office

Developer failed to strike a deal

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FLORENCE - To applause from the crowd, City Council voted Tuesday to keep an office building from being built at the entrance to one of Florence' oldest subdivisions.

The vote was the latest defeat for Florence lawyer Dennis Helmer, who has been trying to develop the site at U.S. 42 and Dilcrest Drive for 10 years.

Residents from the 120-home Dilcrest subdivision who packed the Florence City Council meeting say the vote means no increase in traffic for their neighborhood.

The 4-1 vote overrides the Boone County Planning Commission's decision to allow a 6,000-square-foot office building.

Councilman and Dilcrest resident Dale Stephens led the charge against the zone change, saying it did not agree with the county's comprehensive land-use plan.

Councilman Mel Carroll, who lived in Dilcrest for 14 years, was the lone dissenter.

"The lot could end up being a convenience store, a fast-food restaurant or other business that would have a large traffic base," Carroll said after the meeting. "It was my thought, and the thought of many residents in Dilcrest, that a doctor's office would be the least restrictive as far as traffic goes.

"What the council has done is to force the owner to take us to court," he said. "And unfortunately the court will decide."

City Council had asked Helmer to add a right-turn lane out of the subdivision. But Helmer said the $40,000 cost for the lane was too high.

He offered to give the city the land to build the turn lane, but a deal could not be worked out.

"I thought it would pass," Helmer said. "I think it's a great development."

Though the property is zoned for residences, a house at the busy intersection of Mall Road, U.S. 42 and Dilcrest would not be practical, he said.


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