Loveland, Ohio – Joe Farruggia with Zicka Homes has been trying to rezone property off North Second Street (St. Rt. 48) south of the Sentry Hill subdivision with the potential use to build a 28-unit condominium development called the Blossom Hill Project since the first week in June. He has submitted three variations of the proposal, the latest on October 20. The current proposal is to limit the project to 25 or fewer individual units.
The site is approximately 5.5 acres on St. Rt. 48 adjacent to the Sentry Hill subdivision and on the opposite side of the street of the Loveland Health Care facility.
Previously, on June 24th and July 21, the Planning and Zoning Commission held public hearings for the zoning map amendment and recommended approval of the amendment. However, each time, Farruggia chose not to move forward with the processes which would be to have a public hearing before the City Council.
The latest iteration was also approved by the Planning Commission last week and sent to City Council for their consideration. The recommendation from Assistant City Manager Tom Smith is for Council to schedule a public hearing for the re-zoning on November 24.
The developer is asking for changes to the Loveland Zoning Map from the current zoning of Medium Density Residential to Residential Multi-Family.
The recommendation of the Commission according to Smith included the following conditions:
- The proposed housing development for the property as submitted o Planning and Zoning Commission must be actively under construction within eighteen (18) months from the date of approval by City Council in order to maintain the zoning;
- The approval shall be withdrawn, and the zoning shall revert to Residential Medium Density (R-MD) should the eighteen (18) month condition lapse.
- Approval shall be exclusive to this applicant. No transferees or assignees of the applicant are subject to this approval.
Smith also said the developer agreed to requests made by Sentry Hill resident, Dave Stanton. These items were also part of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s motion for recommendation:
- Construct a four to five-inch earth berm, fully landscaped with trees and grass, to be constructed along the property line of the two homes in the Sentry Hill subdivision and maintained by the new subdivision’s HOA.
- Street lighting and exterior lighting on the townhomes be designed to prevent light pollution into the Sentry Hill Subdivision.
- Townhomes to be constructed, at 40 feet, shall not exceed the height of the referenced home of 214 Sentry Hill Drive.
- Limit the number of townhomes to be built at 25 or less.
- No dumpsters or centralized garage collection. Individual residential trash and recycling pickup to be consistent with all the residential surrounding areas.
- No stand-alone garages or sheds.
- Exterior architecture and materials (brick, stone, and Hardie Plank) shall be consistent with the look and feel of neighboring communities.
Even though there are COVID 19 restrictions for the number of audience members in the hearing chamber, five residents appeared to express their displeasure with the re-zoning. No residents spoke in favor of the rezoning or the condos.
Residents have pointed out that the proposal must follow the guidance of the City Master Plan specifically for North State Route 48. They say the project must maintain similar development densities, preserve open space, a rural atmosphere, and assure that there is adequate infrastructure to support the development as mandated in the current plan. They cite the current gridlock of Historic Downtown that must be addressed before the development moves forward.
City Manager Dave Kennedy has argued that the current Comprehensive Strategic Plan (2002) is old and not in line with the current needs of the City. The City is currently rewriting a new master plan for the City. Residents say re-writing the plan is well and good, but until there is a new plan the City and Zicka are governed by the one that exists.
Residents of South 48 also protest that adding so many residential units will add to their already current traffic nightmares of trying drive into and out of Historic Downtown.
During the hearing, Tom Scovanner told the Commission they should be skeptical of the studies Zicka presented to them. One presenter represented that they had prepared their study for the Commission, and Scovanner said, “No, they represent Zicka.” He posed the question to the Commission of whether they would have ever seen the study if it did not turn out favorably to the developer.
Scovanner, a litigator for Clermont County also said in no uncertain terms that the P&Z cannot do anything the Loveland law doesn’t allow them to do. Holding up the code, he said, “You’re bound by these codes. This doesn’t comport with the Comprehensive Master Plan.”
Tom Scovanner spoke to Planning Commission against the re-zoning for condos on Rt. 48.
Dave Stanton spoke to Planning Commission against the re-zoning for condos on Rt. 48.
Sue Ann Walker spoke to Planning Commission against the re-zoning for condos on Rt. 48.
Allen Brooks spoke to Planning Commission against the re-zoning for condos on Rt. 48.
Courtney Hauck spoke to Planning Commission against the re-zoning for 28 condos on Rt. 48.
You can view the application and proposal that is now before City Council in this document and going to page 14 b. 2020-10-27 City Council – Full Agenda-1355