Perry Township residents voice opposition to rezoning request for new housing development

Mar. 5—Perry Township residents who attended a public hearing overwhelmingly spoke out against a request to rezone property to build a large housing development on Lane Road.

At the conclusion of the March 1 hearing, the township Zoning Commission recommended that township trustees not change the property's zoning classification from single-family residential to single-family planned-unit development.

Lane Road Partners is requesting the zoning amendment to allow construction of a planned-unit development housing community with 150 homes on 93 acres of land. The property owned by the entity is situated on the west side of Lane Road, north of the railroad tracks located closest to South Ridge Road, or Route 84.

A planned-unit development is a project that provides for clustering of single-family dwellings, so a higher density — or greater number — of homes can be built within a particular property.

Township trustees will hold their own public hearing before making the final decision. However, trustees cannot schedule that event until they receive a letter from the township Zoning Commission, which is considered an official notice of the panel's recommendation.

As of March 3, trustees had not gotten that letter from the zoning commission, township Administrator Karen Sundy said. Once that written notice is received, trustees have 30 days to slate the public hearing.

When the township Zoning Commission convened its public hearing on the proposed zoning change, the community's Administration Building meeting room was filled to capacity.

About 50 Perry Township residents or business owners attended, and nearly 20 of them either asked questions about or commented on the planned-unit development housing community that hinges on approval of the zoning amendment.

Lane Road Partners LLC was represented at the hearing by project developer Thomas Trivisonno, who owns Contract Consulting Inc. He provided an overview of the planned-unit development housing community and responded to inquiries from the audience and zoning commission members.

He described the project as a residential development with moderate density.

"We could theoretically put 180 lots in, but we like this a lot better," he said. "It gives us more room to have some nice houses."

Trivisonno said all houses in the development would be built by K. Hovnanian Homes. The ranch-style houses, which come with basements, all would be 2,200 to 2,500 square feet and priced in the range of $275,000 to $325,000.

Snowplowing and other property maintenance would be provided to residents through fees paid to a homeowners association, Trivisonno said.

In addition, he said that 40 percent of the development will be kept as open greenspace, and the housing community is designed with only two access points to Lane Road, to provide improved traffic control.

But Trivisonno had a tough time converting any audience members into supporters of the proposed housing development.

Mark Baughman, a Maine Avenue resident who also is a real-estate agent, said he's familiar with the type of buyers attracted to homes built by K. Hovnanian.

Many of them are young families, he said.

With 150 homes for sale, he said the proposed Lane Road housing development could contribute to overcrowding in the Perry School District, where enrollment already is high.

"I'm more worried about the schools and everybody's else's property values in here," he said. "If those schools go down, because there's too many kids, all of our property values go down."

When Trivisonno noted that residents of the housing development with and without kids would both pay school taxes, River Road resident Toni Kramer said he was missing the point.

"It's not about taxes, it's about how big those classrooms are going to be and overflowing, and the education that they're going to get in those schools," she said. "We're already maxed, classroom size. So we're talking about people, we're not talking about taxes."

While Trivisonno emphasized the fact that the housing development is designed with 40 percent open space, Lane Road resident Karl Losely wasn't impressed.

Losely said open space in residential developments is a nuisance.

"Everybody has toys with wheels and engines, and they don't have the property to run it on, on their own property," he said. "So they see open land, they go, 'Wow! We could go over there!' They don't ask permission, they don't care about what they do."

Jason Monaco, who owns a business on Lane Road, said children in the proposed development would be likely get into other mischief, as well. Because they will live in homes with very small yards, he said kids would roam around the neighborhood and could end up encroaching on the property of businesses and horticultural nurseries.

"So they're going to come and hop fences, they're going to see big tractors and big trucks. That's what kids do," he said. "They see, they go and they want to play on it. It's not that they're trying to be disruptive, but kids are kids."

Losely also noted that since many of the households will be families with two people who are working, a lot of cars will be pulling in and out of the housing development every day.

"There will be a lot more traffic on my road," he said.

Tom Liedtke of Lane Road described the proposed housing development as "very disproportionate.

"It's like putting New York City next to Perry Township," he said.

After listening to residents' questions and comments for slightly more than an hour, the township Zoning Commission voted 4-1 to recommend that township trustees not change the zoning of the property from single-family residential to single-family planned unit development. Commission member Randy Vermilya cast the lone vote in favor of asking trustees to approve the zoning amendment.

Trivisonno said he had no comment on the zoning panel's decision.