Developer Eyes Spring Construction at Pine Lake Reserve

NORTH LIMA, Ohio — Standing along Harbour Lights Boulevard in the Pine Lake Reserve development, Charles Zidian admires the sights of the lake near an empty lot.

“This is really a great view,” Zidian says.

It’s a view that many of the existing villas can enjoy regardless of where they sit in the development. Pine Lake Reserve is structured with descending levels the closer you get to the lake, so some of the villas farther back can still have an unobstructed view. By spring, Zidian hopes to break ground on the first new residence there in years.

Zidian is a partner with Pine Lake Development LLC, the owner and exclusive agent for the development. The company has 34 available single-family, upscale home lots, 14 of which have a view of the lake. Given the minimal amount of available water-view properties in Mahoning County, developing the rest of the more than 14-acre community makes for an “extremely unique” project, he says.

The project is at an “extremely early stage,” he says. Mala Properties Ltd., the purchasing agent for Pine Lake Development, closed on its $800,000 purchase of the community on Jan. 6 from previous owners Abdul Bari and Kauser Lateef.

Existing homes in the development are all occupied, but the lots Zidian is offering haven’t yet been spoken for. That said, even with no advertising, feedback has been positive, he says. Once the developer’s sign goes up at the end of next week, Zidian expects immediate response from potential customers, he says.

“I’ve shown lots three times already to prospective buyers,” he says. “I have another appointment scheduled for tomorrow.”

Lots range from $50K to $100K and are fully improved with utilities and infrastructure, he says. The entire development is served by an upgraded sanitation system. “They’re builder-ready,” Zidian says. “We could dig a basement next week.”

Houses will be built to customer specifications as lots are sold, he says. Customers have three proposed villa layouts they can choose from, including the three-bedroom Galleon, two-bedroom Schooner and single-bedroom Top Sail. Also, the Outrigger is a four-family carriage home design.

The designs range from 1,400 to 1,600 square feet. Lower levels are finished, increasing the living space up to about 3,200 square feet.

Lots are laid out to promote maximum view of the water. So, a one-floor ranch villa will have part of the basement level exposed at the back of the structure, providing a covered patio with a view of Pine Lake.

After construction, Zidian estimates overall value is just shy of $300,000 depending on what the customer wants to do, he says. Custom designs are allowed as well, Zidian says, as are multiple-lot residences. One prospective buyer is a doctor who looks to purchase two lots for one house by the water.

Additional aesthetic amenities include antique-style street lights and signs, a community dock for residents’ boats and a fountain by the water. Zidian looks to make the dock bigger in the future.

Pine Lake Development is in the process of narrowing down its list of construction contractors to “choice premier builders,” but Zidian says customers can bring in their own builder if desired.

“There are a lot of very good builders in this area,” he says. “So we would be open to that.”

Zidian hopes to break ground on the first build by the end of April or beginning of May, he says. By then, he hopes the cold weather has broken so the ground is thawed enough to build.

Pine Lake Reserve has been partially developed since the early 1990s, says Richard Martin, zoning inspector for Beaver Township.

In 2002, the property was purchased by Evergreen Land Development Ltd. for $277,217, according to records posted by the Mahoning County Auditor.

The group was a partnership of developers, including one based in Puerto Rico, Martin says. Evergreen purchased the land and asked the township to rezone it to Planned Unit Development from agricultural to increase the density of residences, he says. The township agreed and construction began, mostly on the lakefront villas that exist today, Martin says.

However, development stalled when the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court found Evergreen officials Alfonso Valdes and Thomas Zebrasky liable for environmental violations at the site and imposed a $45,000 civil penalty. Complaints from residents prompted visits from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, leading to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to file an action against Evergreen on July 13, 2007, on behalf of the Ohio EPA, according to documents dated Sept. 27, 2016, from Ohio’s seventh district court of appeals.

Evergreen appealed the decision and, according to documents, the Seventh District Court upheld the common pleas court finding that Valdes and Zebrasky personally participated in the environmental violations, including deficiencies and issues with post-construction storm-water runoff management plans, erosion and sediment control, as well as failing to obtain the needed permit before installing a sanitary sewer.

“The project sort of fell flat on its face,” Martin says. “For many years from the early ’90s to that point, this thing was a mess.”

The road needed paving and the sanitary system was faulty, he says. “You’ve got villas down there, some of them well over $1 million, and those people were having trouble flushing their toilets,” he says.

In 2015, Joseph Glista Sr. and Joseph Glista Jr. contacted Martin about bidding on 40-plus acres adjacent to Pine Lake Reserve, which would become the Vineyards at Pine Lake winery. The township allowed for a winery in the Planned Unit Development, or PUD, and the Glistas purchased the land.

The Glistas paved the roads and fixed the sanitary system for the property because it would serve their winery as well, Martin says. After that, they turned the development over to the homeowners association. That’s when Pine Lake Development came into the picture.

“When Mr. Zidian came to see us, we were thrilled because we know his background,” Martin says.

Zidian has been in residential real estate development since 1995 when he completed his first project at Meadowbrook Village in Boardman. Since then, he’s completed subdivisions in Boardman, Poland and Liberty, he says.

Pine Lake Reserve is Zidian’s third PUD. From 1998 to 2000, he completed the Twin Lakes PUD – the first in Beaver Township – which has about 36 units between villas and condos, he says.

Zidian was attracted to Pine Lake Reserve on his first drive down the main road and saw what he observes as “resort-style living,” he says. Having a winery next door only adds to that atmosphere.

For Beaver Township, getting the Pine Lake Reserve development back up and running will mean improved property values, as well as new residences for the increased number of people looking to move to the area, Martin adds.

Zidian attributes that to a “natural progression” of people looking to move south of areas like Boardman, Poland and Canfield. Beaver Township has more available land for construction, he says, as well as a good school district.

“A lot of it has to do with the schools and stuff,” Zidian says. “South Range schools is now a very desired school district. That’s a major factor.”

In 2018, Beaver Township ranked second in Mahoning County for single-family housing starts with 34, Martin says. That’s up from five or six annually when Martin started with the zoning department in 2007, he says.

Starts were down slightly in 2019, but not by much, he says. With projects like Pine Lake Reserve and other similar projects, Martin expects 2020 to be another strong year for housing starts, he says.

“It’s a great asset to the township,” he says.

Pictured above: Charles Zidian, partner with Pine Lake Development LLC, hopes to break ground on the first build at Pine Lake Reserve by the end of April or beginning of May.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.