BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — When The Shops at Fallen Timbers opened in October 2007, the open-air mall was set to be just the start of a larger, mixed-used development.
Isaac Land Investment, which owns over 300 acres surrounding the mall, had a goal of developing the area with homes, apartments, office buildings, a bank and a second hotel – until the economy tanked.
“For this project to be a success, it needs to be mixed uses. Like any other mixed use, it will have commercial and residential,” said property owner Zac Isaac.
The first steps toward building on the property started this summer, when the Maumee Planning Commission and Maumee City Council approved the rezoning of 60 acres from C-M (Commercial/Manu-facturing) to R-2 Resi-dential, to allow for single-family homes. Subject to site plan design, about 200 single-family homes are planned for the area, Isaac said.
Isaac is also asking for the rezoning of 24 acres of property along Black Road from C-M to R-4. The designation of R-4 is single-family residential with the possibility of apartments, explained Maumee Planning Commission member Eddie Campos. On August 26, the Planning Commission app-roved the zoning change. On September 3, Maumee City Council was set to hear the request.
“The zoning change is just the beginning of a series of steps involved before this will start development. At this phase, the commission’s only concern is whether or not the property meets the requirements for a zoning change,” Campos said.
If Maumee City Council approves the zoning change during its September 3 meeting, which was after The Mirror’s press time, it could pave the way for the proposed Fallen Timbers Villas, shown on a preliminary drawing to include 174 single-story units with eight to a building.
The higher-end villas will rent for $1,300 to $1,500 a month and appeal to empty-nesters and busy professionals, Isaac said.
“These will be Class A apartments,” Isaac said, noting that some neighbors have voiced concerns about subsidized housing or how construction might impact drainage on their properties. “The city of Maumee will not allow us to put in something that isn’t well-drained and well-designed.”
Monica Gregory, whose property is directly north of the proposed villas, said that she and her neighbors are concerned about traffic, safety and road conditions. While she and her family knew the property might be developed one day into single-family homes, they didn’t expect high-density housing, she said.
Last week, Gregory met with Monclova Township officials and Anthony Wayne Local Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Fritz to ask what she, as a Monclova Township resident, could do about the Fallen Timbers Villas, as the land is in Maumee. Any homes and apartments in the mall area would receive police and fire protection from Maumee, but are considered part of the Anthony Wayne Local Schools.
“There are several housing developments (multi-family homes, condos and apartment complexes) that are either already approved or in the planning stages in the Anthony Wayne Local School District,” Fritz said. “In the past, we have shared with the Lucas County Planning Commission and area governmental agencies that the school district would request that property not be developed for the purpose of high-density housing because of the impact on the school district.”
If the rezoning is approved for the Fallen Timbers Villas, engineering will proceed and construction is slated to begin in 2020. Isaac also expects construction on the single-family homes to begin next year.
While the change may be a shock for neighbors who have been used to vacant land all around, it’s been a long wait for the family, which took the option on the property in the mid-1990s, Isaac said. He believes the villas are a better fit than what could have gone onto property zoned C-M.
“The R-4 zoning is better than the C-M – in which he could build anything from a car dealership to an office building,” he said.