YOUNGSTOWN Developer dispels residents' concerns

Beachwood Village residents embraced the idea of nine new houses in their complex after the meeting.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Councilman Rufus Hudson had hoped Beachwood Village residents would leave his committee meeting with less hostility toward the construction of nine homes in the East Side housing development.
For a while, council's buildings and grounds committee meeting Wednesday was quite contentious as a number of Beachwood Village residents expressed their displeasure with having nine new neighbors, concerned that those homes would lower their property values.
They believed that the complex's developer was going to build $80,000 houses next to their homes, which are worth two or three times that amount, and destroy the neighborhood.
But after city officials and Bruce Lev of Titan Construction, the complex's developer, made it clear that the homes would actually improve the neighborhood, the residents left the meeting satisfied.
The houses being built in Beachwood would sell for between $110,000 and $130,000, Lev said. Those buying the homes would be eligible for federal financial assistance toward the down payment but would be solely responsible for paying their mortgage, he said. Also, those buying the homes would have to live there.
Barry Finley, who recently bought a home on Beachwood Drive, said he was concerned that a home of less than half the value of his would be built next door.
"Everything I have is in my house," he said. "I have a problem if you're trying to bring down my property value."
But after getting assurances from Lev that the nine houses being built in Beachwood -- which currently has 15 houses in the development and space for about 90 homes -- would be of similar value compared to the homes currently there, Finley, a city firefighter, was satisfied.
"Coming to this meeting helped dispel a lot of rumors," said Finley, who was among about 15 Beachwood Village residents at the meeting. "If this is the plan, I have no problem with it."
The Rev. Bennie Hardin of Beachwood Drive, who was also initially concerned about his property value, also left the meeting pleased with what he heard.
"I'm glad we had this meeting," he said. "What I'm hearing sounds OK. If it works like that, let's go for it."
Ground was broken eight years ago for 100 homes in Beachwood Village, and the city spent $675,000 of federal money installing streets, lights, sidewalks and water and sewer pipes.
Only eight homes were built before the original developer pulled out. Lev's company took over in 1999 and built seven homes.
"I'm glad everyone got to sit down and clear the air," Hudson said. "I'm glad we were able to dispel the myths and rumors."

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