In Howland, all signs point to more growth

A sizable project extending Kenyon Drive for commercial ventures is planned.
HOWLAND -- Loads of earth are being moved this winter as the township continues the boom in commercial and residential building activity that began in 2004.
The township last year saw $23.4 million in new total valuation, compared with $17.2 million in 2003 and $18.3 million in 2002.
And although it's only January, a handful of projects have had pre-application meetings with the township's zoning office -- which means they are seriously considering a development in Howland but haven't yet submitted site plans.
Howland is the fastest-growing community in Trumbull County for both homes and businesses, according to the Trumbull County Planning Commission.
Mickey Rhoades, the township's zoning inspector, explained why:
UAccessibility to highway traffic including Interstates 80 and 76 and state Routes 82 and 46. "Transportation networking has a lot to do with it," she said. "The demand for the type of commercial development we're seeing is here in Howland Township." In other words, people have the incomes to support the businesses located here.
UThe attractions already here draw others. Commercial development off Route 46 feeds off the Eastwood Mall. There's also Avalon Inn and golf courses, Eastwood Field and close proximity to Delphi Packard facilities.
All of this activity keeps Rhoades busy. She started working for Howland last April, with experience from the Summit County Soil and Water Conservation District and a master's degree from the University of Akron in geography and planning.
"It's a pretty good community to work for; there's a lot of growth potential here," she said.
Last year's largest commercial buildings, location and construction cost are:
U$2.2 million for two buildings (each $1.1 million) at 9371 and 9375 East Market St. A group of three doctors including Dr. Christopher Chuirazzi is building across from the Butler Institute of American Art's Howland branch. The buildings will provide a multitude of medical services and practices. Out front is a sign stating that Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital will open a diagnostic and medical imaging center this summer.
ULa-Z-Boy Furniture, 2075 Niles-Cortland Road, $1.51 million.
UDr. Rufus A. Sparks, veterinary medicine, 8000 E. Market, $1.1 million.
UDrs. Neuman and Kelley, 349 Niles-Cortland, $748,000.
UUncle Bob's Storage, 3787 Elm Road N.E., $220,000.
UPeter J. and Victoria Cicero, plaza at 4248 North River Road, $170,000.
UBob's Tree Service, 1130 North River, $100,000.
These ventures, Rhoades noted, are "basically transports. Many of them are not new businesses. They were here and expanded, or came from other parts of the county."
Off and running
Projected growth for 2005 is off and running with a large swath of land being cleared and graded off the west side of Route 46 for an extension of Kenyon Drive. "This is our big project," Rhoades said.
There, Polivka Surface Engineering of Niles is planning Center West initially on 2.3 acres although Center West Enterprises owns about 35 acres there. This extension of Kenyon Drive will take new ventures that want to be along Route 46 and group them together in a development, taking ingress-egress pressures off of the state route. A traffic signal will be there, Rhoades said.
These will be broken down into individual commercial lots. Businesses that have inquired with the township about the location, Rhoades said, are Fire Mountain steak house and Sleepy Hollow.
Also making inquiries for the southwest corner of Kenyon and Route 46 is Waffle House, she said.
Continued residential growth is forecast "especially in the North River Road, state Route 46 area," the zoning inspector explained.
Developer Brian Ross has a subdivision plan called The Seasons for about 20 lots, with condominiums in the front and single-family homes at the rear. There's also talk about expanding the Spring Run condominium complex.
Also tentative, she explained, is Lutheran Retirement Services Inc.'s building more senior independent living quarters near its current Shepherd of the Valley complex. Further, Newton Square plans condominiums along North River just east of an airstrip.
The zoning fees collected by the office support the township's general operating fund. For 2004, that meant $48,556 in fees collected from 306 permits.
Permits also are issued for multifamily homes, residential additions, garages and garage additions, fences, storage buildings, pools, institutional buildings, commercial additions and signs.

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