Traffic concerns led two Miami Twp. trustees to vote against a plan for new homes north of the Dayton Mall, which caused the board president to warn the defeat puts “this entire development at risk.”
The 2-1 vote was the township’s third defeat of Rivendell, a plan to build 81 homes on 31 acres north of the mall.
The vote was a move that trustees President John Morris said — during an impassioned plea to colleagues — “is a safety issue for the entire township” because of what added revenue from land value could provide for police and fire services.
The two-hour public hearing on Rivendell on Tuesday night attracted about 40 residents, more than 10 of whom questioned how the project would adversely impact traffic, drainage and property values in their Vienna Park neighborhood that abuts the proposed site.
“I voted against this” last year, trustees Vice President Doug Barry said. “To date, nothing has significantly changed on the resubmittal of this project for me to go back on what I stood on.”
Barry said “my number one concern….is for the residents of Miami Twp. That is what we were elected to do – (look out for) the residents. So I can’t at this point in time” support the plan.
Morris said recent moves by the township would help alleviate traffic concerns in the Vienna Park neighborhood just east of Ohio 741 and north of Ohio 725.
Morris said a deal trustees approved to acquire more than 10 acres for $1 from Rivendell developer Zengel Construction and the township’s creation of a Tax Increment Financing district – which trustees approved unanimously Tuesday night – on that land creates a path to extend Vienna Parkway to Ohio 741 and help solve the traffic problem.
The land purchase also puts the township in a position to negotiate with nearby property owners for a temporary road for construction vehicles to avoid Vienna Park streets, he said.
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“I don’t see the value in delaying the development at this time,” Morris said. “We have acquired the property. We have installed a TIF that will allow us to immediately start collecting dollars which we can use to leverage and finish this road in a short period of time.
“I think we put this entire development at risk,” Morris added, noting later: “This is not only a safety issue relative to traffic. This is a safety issue for the entire township.”
Morris said township administration estimates indicate that, upon completion of Rivendell, land values would generate more than $100,000 each year in revenue for the jurisdiction.
“We’re looking at an annual $50,000 going to our fire department and $66,000 going into our police department,” he said. “That’s an officer. That’s a cruiser. That’s the safety of this entire township.”
The Rivendell proposal involves Zengel seeking a major modification to a preliminary plan adopted in 2007. The request had been recommended 5-0 by the township’s zoning commission.
If the zoning commission’s recommendation would have been approved by trustees, each of the three phases of Rivendell would have been required to have final township approval before those sections could be built.
Attempts to reach Zengel about whether the company would resubmit the proposal were unsuccessful.
Rivendell includes about 27 Ryan Homes to be built each year beginning in 2019. The plan involves 1,400 to 2,900 square foot homes in a price range starting at about $250,000, according a Ryan representative.
Each of the homes, Zengel President Jim Zengel has said, would include two-car garages and two-car driveways in a development that would feature streets 29 feet wide - equal to or greater than many Vienna Park streets - and sidewalks.
The garages, driveways, sidewalks and street widths would help alleviate traffic and safety concerns, Zengel said.
Still, Trustee Donald Culp, like Barry, said he could not support the plan.
“I agree it’s a valuable development,” Culp said. “It should go forward at the first possible opportunity. But I don’t think that we’ve made sufficient progress on determining exactly when Vienna Parkway would be completed. Nor do I believe we determined what the solution was for the construction road.”