By kalea hall
Austintown and Boardman townships are rezoning multiple neighborhoods in hopes of retaining single-family dwellings and preventing any duplexes or multiplexes from moving in.
Austintown has nine locations already rezoned or in the process of being rezoned. Boardman has one neighborhood rezoned and is working on rezoning three other areas to single-family neighborhoods.
“We are basically going to rezone every single-family neighborhood to R-1,” said Sarah Gartland, Boardman zoning inspector.
Austintown first began rezoning in 2010, starting at the top of the township.
“People buying there were under the impression it was a single-family dwelling,” said Darren Crivelli, Austintown zoning inspector. “People tend to prefer to live next to owner-occupied units.”
In 2011, Austintown continued rezoning with the Stone Hollow subdivision, Sleepy Hollow Estates and Wedgewood areas. A portion of the Capitol Estates off state Route 46 also was rezoned to allow only single-family homes.
“We just wanted to protect the integrity of the single-family homes,” Crivelli said. “It’s not that we are against duplexes or multiplexes.”
This year, Austintown is in the process of rezoning areas two areas of Wickliffe and another area on Turner Road.
Although the rezoning of 33 acres on Interstate Boulevard was different from the single-family neighborhoods, the rezoning still was done with the same principle of ensuring the area’s integrity. Those acres on Interstate Boulevard are now considered business instead of industrial to prevent junkyards and sexually oriented businesses from moving there.
“The mortgage meltdown prompted me to think we needed to do something so investors don’t go into single-family dwellings to build multiplexes,” Crivelli said. “I think when most people find out what we are doing, they are in support of it.”
Crivelli said that while he was the zoning inspector in Boardman he also saw the opportunity to rezone multiple areas, which is what Gartland is now making sure gets done. Gartland said working with the planning commission made her already have an understanding of what needed to be rezoned and the process for doing so.
“As soon as I was hired here, within a couple of weeks, I was able to get started,” Gartland said.
Boardman has 4,000 parcels that need to be rezoned, and Gartland plans to do 150 to 200 parcels or one subdivision at a time. Boardman’s definition of R-2 includes the building of multiplexes, unlike Austintown where only duplexes can be built in R-2 areas. So far, the Robinwood neighborhood has been rezoned, and the Beachwood, Poland Heights and Larchmont Park neighborhoods are still in the process of being officially rezoned to single-family neighborhoods.
Both townships also have taken full advantage of the state attorney general’s grant to demolish condemned vacant homes. The state has extended the deadline from Dec. 31 to May 31, 2014, for Ohio counties to use the grant funds given.
Boardman received $100,000 in matched funds and plans to use it all. This year, 24 homes will be knocked down in the township, according to Gartland.
Austintown received $89,828 in both matched and unmatched funds from the state, and Crivelli said there probably will be 25 homes razed with the grant.