Thursday, September 2, 2004

Township 'biggie-sizes' lots

Hamilton zoning change aims
to slow growth by limiting homes

By Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON TWP. - Trustees changed the township's zoning code Wednesday as part of efforts to ensure that homes in new subdivisions are built on larger lots in this booming area.

The changes, which alter items such as yard width requirements and lot size minimums, will decrease the density of single-family homes built in some residential zoning districts.

It's a significant move for the Warren County's fastest-growing township, where residents have been pushing trustees and county commissioners to put limits on the housing boom. Proponents of larger lot sizes argue that if yards are bigger, developers won't be able to build as many homes on a piece of property.

"We have an abundance of smaller lots," Trustee Becky Ehling said. "... It's oversaturated us; it's oversaturated the schools; it's oversaturated, you know, the southern part of Warren County. There's a place for them, but its time for Hamilton Township's code to go back the way it was."

The changes return the code to the way it was nearly 10 years ago, before the township made changes to allow for smaller lot sizes.

Single-family home lot sizes in "R-2" districts are increasing from 8,000 square feet to 12,800 square feet. In R-3 and R-4 zones, the minimums are boosted from 5,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet.

Representatives from the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati and the Ohio Valley Development Council raised some questions Wednesday, but didn't outright oppose the changes. They argued that there is sometimes a need for the smaller lots, though trustees said that option is still available with planned unit developments.

"It's a mistake to remove that opportunity from the zoning code," said development council member Richard Young, an associate with consulting engineers Henderson and Bodwell. "There are certainly areas where (the smaller lots) would be a legitimate lot size. It would fit well."


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