Possible developments on Lavelle Road have neighbors worrying

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Neighbors on a narrow country road outside Athens are opposed to plans to split a large lot for development.  

Russell Chamberlain, a local real estate broker and developer, acquired about 23 acres of undeveloped land on Lavelle Road in April. 

Chamberlain sees potential in the property.

“It’s a wonderful little road that feels very rural in areas, and yet it’s just two minutes from town,” he said.

car driving on lavelle road
A sign warns drivers about a narrow stretch of Lavelle Road. [Lucy Schaefer | WOUB]
He wants to split the land into three parcels. Two would be sold for possible single-family homes, and he intends to keep the other.

However, Chamberlain’s neighbors do not support his plan, which was before the Athens Planning Commission last week.

Lavelle road resident Dylan Armstrong told the commission she’s concerned about changes to the landscape that will affect the diversity of wildlife.

“This land is something that we always kept as a natural space,” she said. Chamberlain’s plans would change that, she said. “This is not going to be kept as a natural space.”

Armstrong and her other neighbors are also worried about increased traffic on the narrow road and other impacts on infrastructure.

Chamberlain’s plan was approved by the Planning Commission and will go before the City Council following their summer recess.

Armstrong said she’s also considering legal action to overturn the sale of the property to Chamberlain in order to prevent any development.