Apartments Are The Bane Of Suburbia!
At least that seems to be the impression of some in our area judging by discussions in Facebook groups and at trustee meetings (more on that later).
As the economy has bounced back there's been a recent burst of apartment building and proposed apartment complexes in Mason, Deerfield Township, Loveland, Kings Mills, etc.
The apartment complexes in question are being billed as "luxury" or "resort" style, typically 1-2 bedroom, rents around $1000/month (or more). They're going up mostly along busy roads (SR741, Kings Island Drive, Montgomery Road) in areas that would typically be unsuitable for a new subdivision, but still in areas with high demand. People want to send their kids to school in Mason, Kings, etc. but not everyone can afford the entry price to buying a home in the area and rental homes are scarce. And rental homes are often hard to find, or if you do highly priced. Add the fact that some potential homeowners are still shackled with restrictions from recent bankruptcies or short sales that keep them from qualifying for a loan anytime soon, and you have demand for apartments.
Concerns are obvious:
- Higher density per acre than a "regular" subdivision, and this is often where the developer's plans and the zoning rules run into conflicts. Variances may be requested and hearings held (don't like what is being proposed? Exercise your rights as a citizen and attend the board meetings and voice your concerns).
- Loss of greenspace, especially a concern to those who bought homes backing up to what USED to be trees and now will be parking lots and apartment buildings.
- Addition of children to schools (a problem if schools don't plan in advance for the potential growth)
- Increased traffic in the area.
- Renters will vote no against needed school tax levies (maybe they will, maybe they won't).
My opinion, some concerns are reasonable, others not so much (e.g. it won't be safe for my kids to walk past the apartment complex to go to the movies). Strangely, we never hear the same complaints when a new "regular" subdivision is being proposed and built out.
In our area, growth is to be expected. Warren County has traditionally been one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio, and we don't see a reason for that to change. There's too much here to like and a high quality of life, so demand for newer housing isn't going to stop.
And if you don't own the land behind you, you don't control it. Golf courses, farmland and other undeveloped land is ALWAYS subject to change.
Free enterprise is governed, and as long as the developers follow the legal process, they have the right to develop their properties for what's called "highest and best use". In some cases, like it or not as an area resident, that means 300 apartments are going in where there used to be a hotel or empty land.
All in all, these apartments are probably a good thing for the community: affordable housing in high demand areas. An opportunity for empty nesters, single parents, and yes, for Johnny and Susie to move out of mom and dad's basement and get out on their own. And for many of these apartment renters, it's the first step towards becoming an eventual homeowner. So say hello to your future neighbors, they just might be moving into one of those apartments!
That's our two cents on the issue.
Liz and Bill aka BLiz