Austintown rezoning will box out developers
By Elise Franco
Township trustees voted to begin the process of rezoning about 130 residential properties to protect them from duplex developers.
The properties, mostly on Starwick Drive and 42nd Street, were built on land that was zoned as R-3, which allows for apartment buildings and duplexes. They would be changed to R-1 and R-2, single-family homes.
Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli said though the land is zoned that way, most of the residences are single-family homes.
The trustees voted unanimously during Monday’s meeting to initiate hearings to amend the township zoning ordinance and the township zoning map to reclassify and rezone the land.
Crivelli said he asked the trustees to change the zoning on 128 properties to protect them from investors and developers buying vacant houses in that area and turning them into duplexes.
“My goal is to protect the integrity of the existing housing stock,” he said. “With this change, no one can come in and turn a vacant home into a duplex.”
Crivelli said rezoning the properties to R-1 and R-2 should give homeowners and residents who live there peace of mind about their neighborhoods.
Andy Frost Jr., Austintown fire chief, also showed off a new thermal-imaging camera that was purchased through grant dollars. Frost said the hand-held camera costs $9,000, and the department had to pay only about $900.
“It can find a hot spot in a wall, which saves on damages to a house,” he said. “It’s a very valuable tool that we use in almost every fire we go out to.”