Board delays vote on condo project

Residents are worried the development would increase traffic and affect the rural atmosphere.
AUSTINTOWN -- Township trustees surprised a developer and earned applause from residents by delaying a vote Monday night on a plan to build condominiums and duplexes.
The plan calls for Mark IV Builders Inc. of Hubbard to build 39 units in a 15-acre planned unit development west of North Turner Road and north of Lake Drive. The zoning commission has recommended approval.
About 50 residents attended a 2 1/2-hour hearing Monday night to express concerns. Afterward, trustees delayed a vote for up to 20 days to give them time to consider the concerns. A unanimous vote of the trustees is needed to overturn the zoning commission's recommendation.
Builder protests
Mark IV owner Jim Carsone Jr. said he was shocked by the delay. When he told the trustees it could hurt his chances of building a model condo before the end of the construction season, Trustee Richard Edwards responded, "I really don't care."
The statement earned a round of applause from some residents.
Carsone, however, stressed he still thinks the trustees will approve the development. "I think we're going to be OK," he said.
Some residents are worried the development would increase traffic. "We have a hard time getting our mail sometimes," said North Turner Road resident Bill Wilps.
Others, including Clearwater Cove resident Julie Roussel, said they're afraid the development would affect the rural setting.
"We don't want it to become a big development of house after house," she said. Chris Morris of Lake Avenue added, "When I bought [my home], it was residential, I want it to stay that way."
Morris also said he wants to make sure Mark IV maintains a buffer of trees between his home and the development.
Trustees stressed that the planned unit development designation gives them control over the type of buffer to be used. They wouldn't have that control in an area zoned residential.
"We cannot control a developer once it goes [residential]," Edwards said. Trustee Bo Pritchard noted, "we can control what your back yard looks like with a planned unit development."
Mark IV also is planning to build 19 single-family homes and a cul-de-sac on eight acres zoned residential north of the PUD. Trustees said the Mahoning County Planning Commission would discuss that project at a meeting today.
Private roads would connect the PUD to the cul-de-sac. Trustees noted that if the development were zoned residential, the township would be responsible for maintaining the roads.
After the hearing, Roussel said she still thinks trustees might vote to overturn the zoning commission recommendation.
"I don't know how much of a possibility, but there is a possibility," she said.

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