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Ravenna's Harvest Rose development, the senior housing project long stalled by court challenges, has received more than half a million dollars in state funding.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency recently awarded $550,000 to the project through the Housing Development Assistance Program toward the 40-unit development. The program provides flexible, low-interest financing for affordable housing developments.
Neighborhood Development Services first proposed the development in 2008. It is planned for the southeast corner of the city limits, between Summit Road, Lake Street and Harvest Drive.
Area residents sued to stop the development and in 2010, Portage County Common Pleas Judge John Enlow ruled in their favor.
However, a three-judge panel of the 11th District Court of Appeals in Warren overturned Enlow's decision and put the matter back before the city's planning commission.
At a January meeting, residents complained about the impact the project would have on drainage in the city's Collins Pond area.
Attorney David Williams, whose clients originally sued to stop the project, told the commission that water from Harvest Rose would drain into an easement on his client's property. Though developers had permission from Portage County, they did not have permission from his client, Williams said.
Attorney Robert Paoloni, who represents NDS, said the easement is not owned by the resident, and the county has owned the easement since 1912.
The commission approved the new plans, and a resident sued, citing drainage issues. Enlow affirmed the planning commission's decision on Oct. 9, and the resident filed an appeal with the 11th District Court of Appeals last week, Paoloni said.
The legal challenge is not delaying construction, Paoloni said. NDS is wrapping up financing for the project and hopes to start construction soon.
"We're confident in the decision of the commission and the trial court," he said.
The development proposes 40 two-bedroom units. Amenities will include a new community building and a private driveway with single-car garages.
Paoloni said the development will have income and age requirements, and one of the city's requirements was that the units be restricted to people age 62 and older.
"We feel it's a very worthwhile project and it's very much needed," he said.
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I am leery of anything Neighborhood Development Services does. I will bet that only welfare people will be able to live there.