Saturday, September 14, 2002

Meeting on project encourages residents

By Michael D. Clark,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONROE — Concerned homeowners left a Friday meeting with Monroe city officials, developers and school officials encouraged that a compromise can be reached on what would be the city's largest housing development.

        “All the issues were put on the table and discussed in a constructive fashion,” said Tim Haller, spokesman for Concerned Citizens for a Better Monroe. The group was recently formed in response to a rezoning proposal to convert more than 500 acres in southwest Monroe near Ohio 4 and Ohio 63 across from LeSourdsville Lake amusement park into a community of single-family homes and apartments.

        The homeowners' group had complained that the planned community would devalue their properties, overcrowd the city's schools and overly burden public services with more than 1,000 new homes.

        The proposal was recently tabled by Monroe City Council, in part because of the outcry from area homeowners who had many questions about the development.

        Mr. Haller described Friday's meeting as “very encouraging.”

        Jay Stewart, development director for Monroe, agreed with Mr. Haller's assessment of the meeting: “We all left the room encouraged that we could come to a compromise plan” that would lower the number of proposed multi-family units to about 200 and create a total of about 1,000 homes.

        Monroe Mayor Michael Morris also said the meeting was “very positive.”

        All sides said they will meet again soon, perhaps by the end of next week.

        The citizens group will hold its own meeting 7 p.m. Sunday in the community room of the Monroe city building at 233 S. Main St. All Monroe residents are invited.

        There have been concerns that Monroe Crossings, which would be built by Brisben Development Inc. and Harry Thomas of H.T. Investments, would overcrowd Monroe's new school complex, scheduled to open in August 2004.

        The citizens group had threatened a referendum if City Council approved the rezoning proposal without their input, but city officials this week argued that such a ballot issue would severely curtail the zoning control they would exercise under a Planned Unit Development and could bring more problems for homeowners.


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