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Some residents against planned Middletown housing development

City Council to hear first reading of legislation at Tuesday's meeting.
Middletown housing development
Posted at 10:35 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 10:45:57-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Some residents who live near a proposed housing development in Middletown are against City Council approving a plan and map amendment that would allow 50 ranch-style homes to be built on the former Middletown Regional Hospital site.

Developer D.R. Horton, on behalf of the property owner Oaks Community Church, which purchased the property for $2 million in 2016, is asking City Council to approve a new subdivision on two parcels at 105 McKnight Drive and 3000 McGee Ave.

After a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. today, City Council will hear the first reading, and the second reading on May 3, according to the agenda.

The legislation would need at least three “yes” votes from the five council members to pass. Neighbors said they are interested whether two first-year council members and Realtors, Zack Ferrell and Rodney Muterspaw, will vote on the legislation because of possible conflicts.

If approved, as a part of the Planned Development process, the property would be rezoned to “Planned Development District” to acknowledge there is a development plan associated with the property, according to the city.

The 50 houses would site on 16.64 acres, according to the Butler County Auditor’s office and D.R. Horton.

City Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on March 9 and recommended to City Council the request to rezone the property be approved.

Tonight’s meeting is expected to draw a large crowd of concerned citizens who plan to speak during the public hearing.

Michael Combs, a longtime Middletown Realtor who lives on The Alameda near the proposed development, called it the “wrong product on the wrong property.”

D.R. Horton is proposing building the homes on 50 foot lots. Combs said that land is one of the last “premier parcels” left in the city and it shouldn’t be “wasted on cookie-cutter houses.”

He wants the land developed because there’s a housing shortage in Middletown as there is across the U.S. He wants fewer houses built in the development.

“That land deserves something better than that,” he said of the proposal.

His message to City Council: “Don’t fall for that ‘shiny object syndrome,’ which we historically have. Think 10, 20 years from now.”

Christopher T. Lacy, who lives on Euclid Street, sent a letter to City Council members saying he was “vehemently opposed” to the proposal and urged them to reject the plans.

He’s worried about the “negative impact” the development would have on the Highlands Historical District and Euclid Heights due to the vinyl-siding/faux building materials utilized on the exterior of these homes, the traffic pattern changes and the parking problem.

“The plan is a bad plan,” he told the Journal-News. “It doesn’t pass the smell test.”

He said representatives from D.R. Horton have said this is the best plan for the city. That’s because, Lacy said, it’s the only plan the city has received.

“We need something that lends itself to the neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t need vinyl homes in there packed liked sardines.”

D.R. Horton broke ground on its first home in 1978 Fort Worth, Texas. Since then, the company has built more than 890,00o home, according to its web site. In the last 20 years, more homebuyers have chosen D.R. Horton than any other national builder, according to its site.