Saturday, July 07, 2001

Madisonville residents oppose apartment development

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A 17-acre wooded area teeming with small streams and wildlife is at the center of a dispute between residents and a developer in Madisonville.

        Developers want to build 320 upscale apartment units, parking lots, swimming pools, lakes and tennis courts.

        The Madisonville Community Council would rather see it remain as is, or developed with single-family homes.

        “Our community is already saturated with apartment dwellers,” said Sue Micheli, president of the council. “Single-family homeowners and their fami lies traditionally become stakeholders in the community.”

        Ruth Ann Busald, chairwoman of the council housing committee, said members also are concerned how upscale apartments will fit in with the existing houses in that area.

        “This is the last open area where we can get single- family houses built in Madisonville,” she said. “We would like to see houses that will complement the existing housing styles in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

        Madisonville is one of the city's older neighborhoods, with many Victorian homes, especially along Erie Avenue, near Red Bank Road close to the proposed development.

        Entrance to the development would be off Erie.

        Statistics compiled by the city's Neighborhood Housing Services show that of Madisonville's 12,193 residents, 47.3 percent are renters.

        “We have apartment dwellers, ranging from low- and moderate-income complexes on Erie Avenue, Tompkins, Madison roads and Dahlgren Avenue to higher-end apartments with scenic views on Kenwood Road,” Mrs. Micheli said.

        “With this complex, there will be an additional 490 vehicles a day on Red Bank Road. We don't want the added traffic congestion.”

        Chris Shannon, with the Delta Group in Columbia Tusculum, the developer, said it is in the preliminary stages of the project, looking at soil samples and engineering designs.

        “We have met with some of the people of the council and told them that we will consider the single-family housing,” Mr. Shannon said. “Since the area is zoned for multiple-family development, that is what we proposed originally. But we don't want to be adversarial in this.”

        He said they have not taken plans to City Hall yet.

        Two owners of the property are willing to sell and they think upscale apartments would be ideal.

        “I think it would be too expensive to try to develop single-family houses,” said Dave Clippinger, who owns about half of the area.

        Mr. Clippinger is a retired developer who lives in Mariemont. “I think upscale housing would add so much to that area in income and real-estate taxes for the city. The area needs a boost. This could do it.”

        Louis and Barbara Ireton own the rest of the property and live in a 96-year-old house adjacent to the land.

        “We would love to see it developed,” Mrs. Ireton said. “We loved it here, but we are ready to move on to a smaller place.”

        The Ireton house would remain a part of the development to be used as a clubhouse.


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