The developments appeal to empty nesters, the inspector said.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- A change in township zoning regulations aimed at broadening housing options cleared the way for five new residential developments in the works.
Dave Morrison, township zoning inspector, said the township changed its regulations last year to allow for planned unit development (PUD) districts.
"It was to promote a wider range of housing options and have a greater possibility of retaining long-time residents in the township," he said.
The code requires at least five acres to develop a PUD district and density is limited to 3.4 units per acre, the inspector said.
Since the change, a 34-unit PUD off Raccoon Road is awaiting final approval from trustees next week. Zoning changes have been approved for two others, one off Tippecanoe Road and another as part of the Westford development along U.S. Route 224.
Two others, one off Summit Drive and another off Gibson Road, are in the preliminary stages.
PUDs can consist of single-family villas, duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes or a combination.
While new to Canfield, PUDs have been part of neighboring townships for several years.
PUDs first appeared in Austintown 10 years ago, said Michael P. Kurilla, that township's zoning inspector.
There are now eight such developments in the township, the last one approved in 2002. The housing plans include villas, condominiums, duplexes and tri-plexes, ranging from 10 units on Atlantic Avenue to Heron Landing off New Road with more than 100 units.
Darren Crivelli, Boardman's zoning inspector, said the first planned unit development in that township occurred several years ago and there are now at least 12.
Morrison said the developments, which often involve homeowners' associations that take care of lawn maintenance and snow removal, appeal to empty nesters looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle.
Because the roads within PUDs are private streets, their maintenance also is the responsibility of the association, meaning the township doesn't have the expense of salting and plowing them.
"There's no maintenance for the township whatsoever so the tax dollar stretches further," Morrison said.
Because the communities often appeal to retired people without children, it doesn't burden the school system, he said.
"It's a kind of conservation of land," Morrison said. "It's a development of a community or neighborhood of its own."
Regulations require PUDs to include varied unit designs.
"There's no cookie cutter," the zoning inspector said.
The township zoning commission completed a two-year study, reviewing PUD regulations of 30 different townships and municipalities before adopting the change.