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Housing Revisited

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VietVet View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 07 2017 at 1:15pm
Another article in the Journal today about the visit the city leaders had in Amelia touring Ryan homes........

Ryan would like to build in Sawyer Mill on the northeast side above Manchester Rd.

Ryan would like to build $150,000 to $500,000 (??? ) dollar homes there.

Some study tells city leaders there is a need for 127 more costly homes that can be absorbed by Middletown.

The city manager tells us that we need to upgrade the housing stock and that will help attract existing residents to stay and will attract new residents to buy in Middletown.

Got some questions for the city leaders and the city manager.....

1. Do you actually think that people looking for a place to live, who can afford this price range in housing will actually consider Middletown at this time?

2. Do you actually think they would want to send their kids to this poorly performing school system with the bottom dwelling reputation?

3. Do you think people will be impressed by and tolerate the drug usage and crime this city presents at this time?

4. Do you think they will be impressed by the scarce amount of entertainment and interesting things to do in this city?

5. Do you think they will be impressed by the general overall condition of the city as to cleanliness, modernization, roads, infrastructure or amenities offered here?

6. Do you think they will want to live in a city with the current reputation that exists here?

7. Do you think that most will be happy after they find out the true picture of what this city is all about?

It has been discussed here as to why this city is losing population. Poor schools. Poor city operation. Selling out to cut property value losses. Poor shopping choices. Poor roads. A lack of job offerings. Crime. Overwhelming drug usage. A poor image making it undesirable to many who are looking to move.

City leaders have to fix the abovementioned shortcomings before considering that just upgrading housing will solve a multitude of problems. Just too many ghetto driven problems to fix at this time to put out the welcome mat using housing as a sales gimmick. This city has decades to go before it will realize any decent, quality people living here. You can't just build nice housing and surround it with ghetto-like amenities.

Eliminate the ghetto/low income theme first. Quality people will follow as soon as you erase the stigma. JMO
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 07 2017 at 1:24pm
Some clarity on one of your points-  Sawyer Mill subdivision is actually in Franklin City Schools.  While those residents do have the option for Middletown Schools though open enrollment (and some parents might prefer due to sports, convenience, newer facilities), I believe the default option is Franklin.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 07 2017 at 3:15pm
From the Journal story and one of the responses:

from "TomCat"

"Mr. Adkins and team may need to do a little research. I am looking for a house in the $225-275K range but I will not buy in Middletown because of poor school system, crime / drugs, poor community maintenance.....poor streets and tall grass"

This supports some of the comments I made in the initial post.

swohio75:

The story mentions Sawyer Mill and gives some more information from Law Director Landen as to this area. I pass this subdivision every day to and from work, cutting through Franklin on the way to WPAFB.

These proposed $150,000-$200,000-$500,000 homes would have to be in undeveloped parts of town primarily in the north end toward the Breile/ Rt. 73 intersection. Although the story indicates the Ryan homes can be built on smaller lots, I don't see a $150,000 home being built on one of the demolished lots the city has to offer, especially in a second ward location. A $150,000 new home is not going to sell in those areas given the neighborhood. No one will pay to live in an area like that and pay that much for a house knowing they will never see close to a re-sell value versus what they paid initially. The only thing I can think of to help occupy the second ward empty lots would be Habitat for Humanity type homes in the older parts of town. I couldn't see a typical builder tackling any new housing project in the older sections with empty lots. Not enough of a profit margin I would imagine and an "iffy" customer base after building the speculation houses in troubled neighborhoods. JMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 07 2017 at 6:54pm

HOUSING ISN’T A PROBLEM, IT’S A SYMPTOM

As advertised on the City Manager’s blog, July 31, 2017, Mr Adkins’ first “Housing Meeting for the Public” took place 8/3/2017. It was reported in the Saturday, August 5, 2017 Journal News article, “Middletown explains housing issues city faces” by Ed Richter, with a subheading titled “Residents supportive of efforts to address ongoing challenges”. Again, staff writer, Ed Richter’s reporting presents an enhanced and slanted view of Mr Adkins special interests, exactly as Mr Adkins likes it.

The current “housing problem”, in Mr Adkins opinion, is most undesirable. He keeps his dark and gloomy description of Middletown’s supposed “housing problem” prominently displayed and furiously discussed because it serves the purpose of hiding the real problems. Of course, no mention is ever made of how or why this supposed “housing problem” evolved, because, Mr Adkins’ overall policies as city manager have been a major cause of our problems which have AFFECTED housing. The Journal News articles’ subheading goes on to say that “residents are supportive of efforts to address ongoing challenges” which plays up a positive for Adkins same old rhetoric about housing but fails to mention the well taken opposing view in the article.

The sole purpose of this and subsequent meetings seems apparent: Cover up the real problem (with the help of the Journal News) by convincing the public that our housing situation is THE MAJOR PROBLEM that Middletown faces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Housing is not a problem at all, but is the result of Middletown’s real problem… a long list of mismanagement with devastating results. We are the only area community that has not made a significant recovery from the recession.

The Monday 8/7/17 Journal News announced the Planning Commission will make a ‘50-year decision’ which will address the ((non existent) need for larger family homes in Sawyer Mill which is in Franklin School District of Warren Co. (so about 80% of the property tax goes to Franklin Schools). And the new Ryan Homes being considered are of questionable quality for the federally required specifications that were agreed to on the original construction. Lowering the standards for new construction may cause current residents to lose property value and/or consider moving away! That’s certainly counter productive, as usual. Does the Planning Commission think that Ryan Homes will build on speculation? If they expect Middletown to finance this endeavor will city hall put us deeper in debt? Moodys will be downgrading us again if this involves new bonds. We can’t even afford to pay our current bills.

Anyway, we will not be attractive in the real estate market for old or new home buyers until we remedy the real problems.

Here’s an abbreviated version of the long list of problems and reasons why no one wants to live here:

A short-sighted city hall caused the loss of our major contributors to the tax base; such as AK Steel Corporate Offices and Black-Clawson. They didn’t appreciate what they had until it was gone. When the recession hit, many of our industries moved away or succumbed to Middletown’s ‘tax and spend like there’s no tomorrow’ policies. No effort was made to prevent these losses. Instead of encouraging new business to move in, every possible road block imaginable was thrown in the way; things like stringent rules for facades, restricted parking location and restricted signage all resulted in prospective new business going some place where they were actually welcomed.

Jobs disappeared and people moved away to a better job market, which adversely affected income tax revenue and devastated property tax revenue for schools, which necessitated an additional school tax levy. Our schools’ academic rating dropped to one of the lowest in the state because the city decided to spend the extra revenue to build new school houses instead of raise the quality of education.

Even though we pay the higher taxes, city coffers were nearly emptied by frivolous spending and giveaways of property to a favored few in the downtown area. That favored few had no money or expertise to fulfill their promise of rehabbing and/or establishing new businesses. So, many of the downtown properties (some of which are bought back giveaways by the city) have been left to rot and become blight right under city hall’s nose. Stinks, doesn’t it??

Section 8 housing was sought after as the answer to the city’s nearly bankrupt condition, which invited in our current low income, indigent, and drug addict population, which resulted in more people exiting Middletown to escape the thievery and violence that ensued.

This brief list doesn’t tell all of the city’s problems! But addressing and solving at least some of our REAL problems will improve Middletown’s reputation which will improve our ability to attract a better demographic; and the new populace can THEN determine what housing they need.

HOUSING ISN’T A PROBLEM, IT’S A SYMPTOM!!

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 08 2017 at 8:56pm

I made this reply to Doug’s City Manager Blog on the city’s website under 

Housing Meetings for the Public…


but I doubt that he will allow it to be posted


Whistler's Mom

August 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Constant repetition of most anything… even a lie, eventually gives it the “appearance” of credibility. Housing isn’t a problem, it’s a symptom! But your constant claim of a housing problem has the public fooled into belief. Fix our real problems and housing issues will fix themselves with little or no city input or expense. Work on our infrastructure and amenities, improve academic rating of our schools, invite instead of discourage business and jobs… you can fill in more.


I would have liked to add a list of costly major mistakes the city has made every year or so and point out that the ‘50 year decision’ that the Planning Commission is contemplating is likely going to make the list and be a real ‘doozy.’ Warren Co.,Franklin School District will reap all the revenue from the school tax levies from all of Middletown’s endeavors in Warren Co Those endeavors include Sawyer Mill and The Renaissance. Poor ole’ Middletown will live with this one for 45 years more than Doug’s 5 year plan(s).

Some of the previous major blunders are:

Trinity Place

Lake Mistake

Renaming & Moving our hospital to Warren Co,Franklin School District and demolishing the original hospital

Losing our major industries and jobs and losing that income tax base

Purchasing the Thatcher Estate

Building all new schools at the expense of academic excellence

Bringing in Section 8 which attracted indigents and drug addicts

Razing 400 properties (even though some could have been rehabbed) and losing our property tax base

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dezzyfits Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2017 at 8:54am
I would like to say that after reading this thread, in my opinion, whistlersmom could not be more incorrect. I would list everything, but if you read whistlersmom's  post(s)- just take the exact opposite- and that is my opinion. Wacko
dez
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Nagy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2017 at 9:06am
Dezzyfits,
    After reading your post about Whistlersmom I conclude that you couldn't be more incorrect. 
     Paul nagy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2017 at 9:21am
Originally posted by dezzyfits dezzyfits wrote:

I would like to say that after reading this thread, in my opinion, whistlersmom could not be more incorrect. I would list everything, but if you read whistlersmom's  post(s)- just take the exact opposite- and that is my opinion. Wacko


Interesting comment dezzyfits. Please provide proof that the comments made by whistlersmom are incorrect. Based on your response, we will be able to form a conclusion and you will be able to establish yourself as a viable source for truth. Please specify the incorrect info from whistlerssmom.

Thanks in advance for your response.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dezzyfits Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2017 at 11:40am
"...Housing markets continued to strengthen in 2016, with new and existing home sales, prices, and construction levels all on the rise. Still, single-family construction, traditionally the largest source of residential investment, remains well below historical levels. As a result, low inventories of homes for sale are driving nominal prices above pre-recession peaks in many metros. In rental markets, low vacancy rates are pushing up rents and keeping multifamily construction relatively strong. Easing these tight conditions is especially difficult where labor shortages and limited land availability constrain new housing supply....." from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/research/publications/state-nations-housing-2017. 

Sure, now go ahead and reply with all the "..but this is Middletown- and it's so different from everything else and so bad..." rhetoric.

Geek
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2017 at 1:16pm
dezzy:

The information you have provided is a generalized overview of pockets of the nation's housing market. There are neighborhoods in all states that have greatly appreciated in value and there are cities, like Middletown that have taken an equity bath with no one escaping the lowering of their property value. The nation's housing market in no way resembles the Middletown housing market in most instances. Very little appreciation if any for any property owner in this city.

It is a fact that Middletown's housing owners have taken a bath as to home value for many years now. You can see this on the Butler County Auditor website with any Middletown property. I have lost 20 thou in value the last few years. As a matter of fact, when I refinanced my home four years ago, I qualified for a HARP loan because my home was underwater as to any equity built up since 2005.

Bottom line is that Middletown is not a destination for most to buy a home no matter the price range. We could have the best home choice stock of any community around here and people will still not drive here to look around to see what this city has to offer.

Why?

I refer you to whistlersmom's posts listing the drawbacks as to interest in living here. It isn't the housing offered as much as it is the poor environment/city operation offered in which to live to potential residents in this town. The city leaders have just flat out made the town non-attractive in almost every aspect and have made poor decision after poor decision the last four decades.

If you don't see that this town needs a total remake involving leaders that have a clue about real needs, then you are in denial. That includes the false thinking that upgraded housing, as the city manager is proposing, is going to make a large dent in the unappealing environment this town is offering at this time. Gotta develop a program that will fix the unappealing factors listed before we start thinking that new housing is the answer to everything. Upgrading housing is a band aid on a city that requires serious surgery at this time.

Clean up the current problems, make it appealing, lose the poor image and they will come and consider living here. Until that is done, forget bringing in new people. No outsider wants to live here unless they are drug dealers-users/career criminals or people looking for a freebie handout due to the welfare, HUD, low income stigma placed on the city by it's leaders. We no longer attract quality people here. It is quite evident.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dezzyfits Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2017 at 1:43pm
if you build it they will come
dez
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 20 2017 at 5:59pm

 The Planning Commission could(should) shelve their recent housing research into Amelia/Ryan Homes for future reference, and instead come up with some realistic plans for making Middletown competitive with surrounding communities that are outpacing us. Middletown needs fresh ideas from Planning that don’t involve the same old housing (non)issues.

Planning could(should) recommend losing the numerous obnoxious, unnecessary planning and zoning ordinances that discourage new business and industry, in favor of stream lining the process of setting up new businesses in Middletown. That could actually help solve our jobless condition and lack of tax base … then many other problems would just cease to be.

The Planning Commission, hopefully, will wake up to the fact that they have a voice and are not obligated to follow or repeat the city manager’s rhetoric and needless micro-management with the subsequent mistakes and problems that continue to hold us back. And all the oppressive redundant bureaucracies, groups, committees and commissions, etc., created at Mr Adkins’ suggestion, could (should) be abolished. If the The Planning Commission has nothing to offer as alternative to Mr Adkins’ plan(s) then of what use are they? Oh, forgot, you could be “decommissioned” and asked to resign for disagreeing with Mr Adkins if you are not one of his bobble-heads.

Our current condition and problems will persist until Middletown shakes it’s bad reputation and becomes a desirable place to live and work. Housing isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom. We need business, industry, jobs and sensible government that will promote achieving those goals. Stop clinging to useless past policies which are not working! Take us in a new direction that we can be proud to declare as good and positive.

Mr Adkins has said that tearing down 400+ homes would rid us of blight and raise the value of the remaining real estate in Middletown. It did neither! In some cases, truly blighted areas were ignored while some nicer homes for possible rehab were razed in order to reach a quota. He said in the recent ‘housing meetings for the public’, that his discussion wouldn’t involve tearing down more housing. But that doesn’t mean it’s off his to do list and with probable intent to make the same a fore mentioned mistakes! Mr Adkins’ meetings did not succeed in explaining away mistakes and he indicated that there would be no change of course. It will be his way or no way. Now he wants to build more housing which will likely cost the city big bucks to achieve. So, Mr Adkins, neither one of these actions has significantly improved Middletown’s condition… tearing down or building new. All of the new home construction plans have been or will be in Warren Co. Franklin school district with little or no benefit to Middletown’s tax base!!!

The current set of plans and policies is in direct opposition to the growth and improvement of Middletown. We are just marking time! When will our city government take some positive steps? It will require some backbone and willingness to consider alternative choices and then make appropriate changes. To those who read this blog but have remained silent … if you think we need positive change you need to support positive change … express your opinion … vote … and take part in the proces

Planning Commission Members

Name

Address

Zip Code

Term Expires

01 Friedman, Mike

4920 Timberline Drive

45042

2017

02 Gross, Gary

4909 Shannon Way

45044

2018**

03 Langhorne, John

16 Sycamore Terrace

45042

2019

04 McCauley-Myers, David

308 S. Main Street

45044

2018*

05 Mejias, Joanne

409 Regent Drive

45044

2017

06 Nenni, Paul

1064 N. University Blvd.

45042

2020

07 Moore, Todd

1808 Schirm Dr

45042

School Board Representative

Combs, Ashley

One Donham Plaza

45042

 

Mulligan, Larry

One Donham Plaza

45042

PS My reply to Mr Adkins’ City Manager Blog on CityofMiddletown website, regarding “housing meetings for the public” was edited out and never posted there (but was posted on this forum). Critical or opposing remarks will not be tolerated on his City Manager Blog.

PPS In response to dez’s “if you build it they will come” … If you subsidize it and /or give it away or sell it for $1, they will come.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 22 2017 at 10:01pm

The only new housing trend in Middletown is empty lots.

How many Middletonians are aware that nothing can be built on the lots where homes were razed?

That sounds outrageous, doesn’t it? And you probably think it isn’t true. Oh, but it is true.

There is no official ordinance that prohibits building on those lots. But Mr Adkins coaxed council into changing some building codes, such as set backs, that make it impossible to build on those lots without violating the code. Why? And no exceptions or variance will be made for those lots. Sneaky and underhanded, but not quite illegal?!?! You know, he’s a lawyer and knows how to do those things. Council can fix this, but will they?

There could be new housing all over town on those empty lots and it could be local, even individual enterprise to fund it. The residents would get to decide for themselves what kind of housing they want in their own neighborhood. The tax base broadens, neighborhood pride goes up and all it takes is removing the shackles.

Our city manager seems to think empty lots represent revitalization! It’s really just one more way that Middletown is kept from recovering or moving forward. Is this part of Mr Adkins five year plan?

We have been throwing money away and gone backward for years. The city lost income from real estate taxes and has to pay to keep empty lots mowed or give property away to the mowing contractor (who then discovers he has been given a liability).

In order to receive grant money for half the cost of razing properties, the land had to be turned over to the land bank. Was the land turned over? Was the grant money received or was that lost too? Did the tax payer shoulder all of the bill for razing properties?

The city coffers and the tax payers pockets are both empty

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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