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Mayor Answers New Development Concerns
Monday, August 26, 2002 12:00:00 AM - Monroe Ohio
Response from Mayor Michael P. Morris to Emails Concerning the Proposed Monroe Crossings Project

CONCERN: There will be apartments in this development.

RESPONSE: Since 1993, the property in question has been zoned for 90 acres of multi-family/duplexes (R-5 and R-4 zoning).

CONCERN: Apartments proposed by Brisben are Section 8 properties: due to aid in financing with a reduced % construction dollar.

RESPONSE: The “traditional” Section 8 program consists of vouchers used by very low-income individuals so that a portion of their rent may be picked up by the government. Any rental property has the right to sign up with this program with the government in order to accept these vouchers. The term “Section 8 housing” is being misconstrued when referring to this particular project.

The type of financing proposed for the Brisben development is not the traditional Section 8 voucher program. It is a tax-exempt bond program that provides incentives to multifamily developers to provide higher quality dwelling units to individuals with an annual income in the moderate ranges of the mid 20’s up to the low 40’s depending on the number of family members. Per the program guidelines, the most common percentage of units rented to this income range is 40% of the total number of units, but may be as low as 20% or as high as 50%. This particular program also states that after 15 years, the developer has no obligation to rent to moderate-income individuals and may rent to any prospective tenant as if conventional market financing had been used to construct the project.

CONCERN: If the City allows the developer to build apartments, it will lower my property value and crime will increase.

RESPONSE: The developer can build apartments on the 90+ acres as this property is presently zoned with no zoning regulations. If he wanted to, the developer could build 4-sided Army barracks style structures to R-4 and R-5 standard sizes and rent them for any price he chooses. All he has to do is comply with existing codes and unit sizes. The City, with a Planned Unit Development Agreement (PUD), possesses the only legal contract zoning tool permitted under Ohio zoning laws. A PUD allows the City of Monroe to enter into an agreement with a developer and have some control as to what type of product is constructed. The PUD Agreement binds the Applicant (Brisben) to the precise specifications of the building design, materials and overall site layout including all proposed amenities. If Brisben failed to construct the development as expressly presented to the City Council, the City has the authority to take legal action to halt the development until the PUD provisions are complied with. It also allows the Planning Commission to negotiate what is contained in the Home Owners’ Association contract for the ENTIRE development. Under the current “straight zoning” the developer currently retains, the City loses all of the above leverage and may only enforce the development under the current zoning regulations.

Increase in crime comes with an increase in population. The increase in Monroe’s population will bring ALL the suburban growing pain issues. Monroe’s incidences of crime has increased as we have grown without the addition of any apartment complexes. Need for expanded services – fire and police – streets and parks – just to name a few.

CONCERN: Building this rental complex will put a stress on the new school student projections.

RESPONSE: The 90+ multifamily zoned acres contained on this property was factored into the projected student enrollment numbers for the school as presently designed and those numbers were figured on the HIGH SIDE for planning purposes.

CONCERN: People who don’t want their own homes and rent and who pay $750.00 to $900.00 per month rent are not the best and brightest to work and live in this community.

RESPONSE: This is my personal opinion as a property owner and landlord in Monroe.

My renters do not pay $750 to $900 in rent per month and I consider them to be good citizens of Monroe and take exception to the statement that just because they rent they are not the best and brightest of people!

The rest of the citizens who rent property in this town can express their own opinion on this issue as to Mrs. Hinkle’s statement.

CONCERN: The history of the developer for the rental complex is in question.

RESPONSE: The Planning Commission and City Council can only act on what is presented to them and the only way to assure that his claims of this development are adhered to is to enter into a fully enforceable PUD agreement with them.

CONCERN: Middletown has toughened up it’s zoning to prevent exactly this type of project and rid themselves of their existing problems.

RESPONSE: I really don’t know where this statement is going nor am I familiar with Middletown’s zoning laws for multifamily developments. I do know that Monroe has some of the most restrictive multifamily density standards in the area. Maybe that’s why Monroe doesn’t have a large number of multifamily units to offer those not so best and bright citizens who can afford to pay $750 to $900 per month rent. Existing land use in Monroe zoned R-4 and R-5 account for only 1% of the total land in the City.

CONCERN: Why can’t you offer upscale apartments in this development?

RESPONSE: The Planning Commission is trying to accomplish that very effort by using the PUD Agreement.

CONCERN: Traffic will increase and needs to be re-evaluated.

RESPONSE: The traffic patterns for this development are being studied and evaluated for the latest development scheme. FYI – there will be a signal at the main entrance to the complex across from LeSourdsville Lake (Americana) and the access to State Route 63 is being restricted in their movements.

CONCERN: Don’t build tents in my front door in Monroe!

RESPONSE: Mr. Thomas has the right to develop under the existing zoning. He doesn’t have to develop the 500 acres under the not yet adopted new single-family architectural and size standards. He has agreed to use the new single-family dwelling standards even though they have not yet been voted on by the citizens of this community. That issue will be on the November ballot due to the referendum petition recently circulated by Mr. Brock and filed with the Butler County Board of Elections.

CONCERN: Size and quality of the apartments being proposed by the developer.

RESPONSE: The square footage proposal for the units, 6 to 10 in each building, as proposed in order to vary each building size, ranges from 1100 + square feet up to 1340 + square feet. These units are larger than some of the new houses that are presently being built in Monroe single-family subdivisions.

CONCERN: There are already enough apartments in Monroe.

RESPONSE: I can only speak on this issue from a personal point. I get calls from people looking to rent in Monroe because they or their spouse work in either Cincinnati or Dayton and they would like to live in Monroe due to our proximity between Cincinnati and Dayton and they can’t find available places to rent.

CONCERN: Council and Planning Commission have the ability to stop this development of perceived low-income housing, if not, a referendum could.

RESPONSE: A referendum cannot stop the eventual development of this 500 acres. The only thing a referendum action by the citizens can do in this case is take away the City’s ability to enter into a PUD agreement with the developer to help control how the 500 + acres will be developed, and what goes into this area.

It is very likely that a referendum petition of this project will force the developer to develop the property as presently zoned. In this scenario, some of the concerns expressed above may likely become a reality.
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