Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Village's future debated

Amberley council votes tonight on big housing development

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

AMBERLEY VILLAGE - A controversy over a proposed housing development on the former Crest Hills Country Club in this usually tranquil community comes to a head tonight.

Village Council will consider at a public hearing a zoning change that would permit Hal Homes of Blue Ash to build 90 houses on the 133 acres at Ridge and Galbraith roads.

The hearing will be at 7 p.m. , at the Rockdale Temple, 8501 Ridge Road. Previous hearings on the issue have drawn several hundred residents.

Mayor Charles Kamine said he expects council to vote on the developer's request to change the zoning for parts of the property from park to residential classifications. That would allow the developer to construct 38 houses on 1-acre lots or larger and 52 houses on lots a half-acre or larger.

In response to critics, Hal Silverman, president of Hal Homes, has reduced his development from 130 to 90 homes. He has offered to donate to the village 12 acres for park land and also donate the clubhouse and other facilities. In addition, he promised to maintain a 530-foot-wide strip of green space along Ridge Road to Galbraith.

"It's going to preserve the character and the ambiance of the village," Silverman said.

The homes would sell for $500,000 to $1.5 million, he said.

The development's opponents say it would harm Amberley's pastoral atmosphere, create traffic problems and overburden village services. Supporters dispute those concerns and say the development would provide much needed tax revenue.

Susan Glazer, a member of a citizens group that formed to lobby against the housing development, said she has no inkling for how a majority of council will vote.

"All I can say is I hope they vote in the best interests of Amberley Village and listen to the residents," she said.


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