Developer proposes 300 more homes in Xenia; existing residents frustrated

City council vote on changes to Wright Cycle Estates plan along U.S. 42 is set for Nov. 22.

XENIA — The developer of an existing Xenia neighborhood has proposed building more houses there at a slightly increased density, but current residents are opposed to the change, citing frustrations with maintenance of the development’s common areas.

In March, the new owner of Wright Cycle Estates, a neighborhood along U.S. 42 south of U.S. 35, was granted a zoning change converting commercially zoned space to lots for single family homes.

However, the developers withdrew their final plans for developing that space in August, citing construction costs. Now, modifications to the proposed plans would bring the number of proposed single-family homes from 294 to 304 across approximately 179 acres, city planner Brian Forschner said.

The increase in density is relatively minor, and in terms of infrastructure, would have little to no impact on the existing development, according to city documents. However, residents frustrated with the new developer told city council Thursday night that they opposed the change.

“The builder, I think, has done themselves a disservice, they’ve done us a disservice, in that nobody’s talking to us. We have no idea what they’re planning to do,” said Steve Nickerson, a longtime resident of the neighborhood.

Residents expressed similar frustration last month at the city’s previous council meeting, with discussion predominantly centered on maintenance issues residents had experienced.

Ownership of the complex changed last year from Phillips Companies to a holding company, Wright Cycle Estates Holdings, LLC, represented by Bernard Neiderman. Since the development changed hands, residents said, maintenance of developer-owned properties had deteriorated, and residents had taken it upon themselves to mow them and rid them of nuisance animals.

“We now have an absentee owner whose interest is probably making profit,” Nickerson said.

Other residents said they didn’t have a problem with more houses, as long as the common-area properties are maintained.

“It’s a huge issue with all of us. We’ve all been up there and pulled weeds and this and that,” said resident Ed Bell. “But we don’t want to set a precedent where Mr. Niederman thinks that if he doesn’t do it, the community will.”

The city has a property maintenance code that has maintenance standards for weeds and grass, and the residents can contact the city if they think there is a violation, Forschner said. However, if the developer complies with these standards, the city can’t legally force a higher standard of maintenance, because the land is privately owned and is not controlled by a neighborhood association.

The proposed development change and the maintenance of the common area are two separate issues, city officials said.

City council will vote on the development change at its next meeting, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m.

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