Riverside, developer plan apartments to replace 200-year-old farmhouse



Property owner supports plan to demolish 19th century house; some residents say 90-unit project doesn’t fit area

RIVERSIDE — A developer said it will submit plans soon for a 90-unit apartment complex on 18 acres in Riverside where a 19th century farmhouse sits.

Redwood Apartment Neighborhoods intends to expand its reach in the Dayton area after Riverside last week approved a rezoning for 7544 Union Schoolhouse Road, despite opposition.

Redwood Vice President Greg Thurman said Monday a preliminary plan should go to the city within 30 days.

The Independence, Ohio firm has properties in Centerville, Fairborn, Sugarcreek Twp., Tipp City and Washington Twp., with sites under construction in Miamisburg, Troy and Vandalia, Thurman said in an email.

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

The Riverside site near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Dayton has “extremely convenient access to I-75 and I-675″ and is “minutes away from recreational opportunities” — such as Five Rivers MetroParks facilities — and retail areas, he said.

Changing the zoning for the Union Schoolhouse land from residential to Planned Unit Development was unanimously approved by Riverside City Council on Thursday night.

Councilwoman Brenda Fry said she thinks “that it is fiscally responsible” for the city “to look at our density and to look favorably on more density in our development.”

Councilwoman April Franklin said she has to look out for the city’s best interest.

“I make decisions for 25,000 people,” Franklin said. “Not every single person will benefit. Not every single person will be affected by it. But you have to look at the overall” issue.

Plan calls for the demolition of a farmhouse built in 1815 on land just north of the Dayton border and within the Fairborn City School District, Riverside records show.

While site owner Robert Allen favors the change, several Riverside residents and/or neighbors have opposed the move over the past several weeks.

The city’s planning commission last month endorsed the zoning change — which was supported by city staff — in a 3-2 vote.

Allen has told the city that residential development is “the highest and best use of the property.”

He said last month in a letter to the city “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.”

But critics’ opposition of the zoning change has included circumventing Riverside ordinances and overdevelopment of the area.

John Calligan told council last week his “biggest issue is the density of this project. It just doesn’t fit the area.”

Others are concerned for underground springs, waterways and traffic congestion.

But a 52-page report compiled by the city includes a Redwood engineering consultant saying, “the traffic volume along Union Schoolhouse and the expected traffic generated by the development both appear to be below the threshold” to require a turn lane in the area.

The consultant also said “we do not anticipate any further improvements” needed for traffic.

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