UPDATE: Change for apartments at 19th century farmhouse site gains initial approval

A 90-unit apartment complex is being proposed on 18 acres of a Riverside residential site built in the 19th century.

The project by Redwood Apartment Neighborhoods is supported by the property owner, but opposed by some residents, Riverside records show.

A proposal by the Independence, Ohio builder calls for the demolition of a Union Schoolhouse Road farmhouse built in 1815 on land just north of the Dayton border and within the Fairborn City School District, according to records submitted to the city.

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

A plan to rezone land that includes the “Wolfe Farm” near the Forest Ridge/Quail Hollow subdivisions was endorsed by the Riverside Planning Commission Wednesday night, a move supported by city staff.

The commission voted 3-2 to recommend the zoning change. Commission Chairwoman Julie Denning, David Owens and Anthony Rodgers voted in favor of the issue.  Jonathan Hairston and Harold Vasquez voted against it.

The issue will now go to city council.

“I’m aware those in opposition to the proposed rezoning action have identified specific concerns they believe relevant,” landowner Robert J. Allen said a letter to the city dated Jan. 10.

“These concerns were posted on various local social media outlets,” Allen added. “The posts I’ve seen are grossly inaccurate regarding the history and character of the subject parcel.”

Allen said “the house is relatively old, but in no way historic by the usual definition of that term. It is not listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is likely not eligible to be listed, according to the published criteria.”

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The proposal calls for rezoning the land at 7544 Union Schoolhouse, now designated as residential, to a Planned Unit Development district.

The complex would include “multiple principal structures” that contain units renting for between $1,700 to $2,300 per month, Riverside records show.

Redwood documents state that its residents are generally those seeking single-story designs with private, attached garages. Residents’ average age is 51.5 years and about 70% are empty nesters, according to the company.

But neighboring Union Schoolhouse residents question the plans.

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“I really do not know how else to express to you (how) important this is for us no(t) to happen,” Kelly Bush said in an email to Riverside Zoning Administrator Nia Holt. “There has to be somewhere else Riverside can build homes and benefit from the taxes and support for the schools, which you will not have from the (sale) of the farm.

“The Allens are good people and we wish them the best,” she added. “Their farm deserves a new family that will grow there and make new memories and history.”

Neighbor Dave Fisher told city council earlier this month he is concerned the rezoning and development could have negative impacts on Union Schoolhouse traffic.

Riverside Mayor Pete Williams, a planning commission member, said Tuesday he wanted to reserve comment until tonight’s meeting.

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“I’m interested in hearing the planning commission recommendation to city council,” Williams said. “I will say that from the time I became mayor I pushed hard for us to have a PUD as a part of our zoning code … and I’m happy that we have that tool at our disposal for (issues) that pop up that aren’t exactly one of our current residential or business district type settings.”

Depending on planning commission’s actions, the issue could go to city council in February, officials said.

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