Wednesday, April 23, 2003

New gated section draws questions

Wetherington addition on hold

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - A new controversy is brewing at a gated subdivision that ranks as the second-richest community in the state.

The developers of Wetherington want to build a new section onto the rear of the subdivision off Tylersville Road and Interstate 75. It would place 84 homes on 26 acres, more than three units per acre, along Hamilton-Mason Road.

The new section, called Harbour Town Village, would rise on a parcel of land that held a mobile home park until it shut down last year. The new homes, which would range from $250,000 to $500,000, would target the "empty-nest" lifestyle buyer.

But concerns over two proposed gates, and traffic and drainage studies, kept the subdivision from being approved Monday by the West Chester Township Zoning Commission.

"It doesn't really seem like there's much of a plan on this gating thing, and it's really worrying me," Commission Chairman David Pickard said, later adding: "I am not real big on these gates. It was just terrible the last time we went with gates. I can just see nothing good coming out of this."

Specifically, the commission wants the developers, Great Traditions Development Group of Cincinnati, to work out an agreement with the Wetherington Homeowners Association on two proposed gates aimed at blocking cut-through traffic.

The commission also wants to see the results of traffic and drainage studies on the property before they recommend the zoning change to township trustees, who have the final say.

Wetherington, where homes range in price from $350,000 to $1.2 million, gated its streets last year to keep out some 11,000 motorists a day, making it the first gated community in the Tristate.

Wetherington's gates off Tylersville Road are open during the daytime, while a set off Cincinnati-Dayton Road is closed at all times.

The proposed new gates off Hamilton-Mason Road for Harbour Town likely would be open during the daytime. But the homeowners association also wants a gate between Wetherington and the proposed new section that the association would control.

More Wetherington residents spoke in favor of the new subdivision Monday than against it, but one homeowner, Eve Wise, objected. She said Harbour Town has too many homes per acre, and could cause drainage problems.

But Norman Stehlin, a member of the Wetherington Golf and Country Club, said the organization has been struggling to retain enough members to pay operation costs and could use the membership boost.


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