Portage Crossing sale being pushed back for rezoning
According to Cuyahoga Falls Development Director Susan Truby, the Portage Crossing project is “complex.”
She asked City Council during the July 30 meeting to approve delaying a component of the retail development proposed for the site of the former State Road Shopping Center.
Council first discussed and then approved a resolution extending the sale of about 27 acres, primarily owned by the city, with Portage Crossing LLC. Councilwoman Carol Klinger (R-at large) voted against the measure.
Truby said the contract called for the closing of the sale to be July 31, but this no longer is possible due to a zoning change request by the developer, Stark Enterprises. She explained the Planning Commission recently approved an application by Stark Enterprises to rezone 11 parcels of land from MU-4 (Sub-Urban Corridor) to C-1 (Commercial District). She said the developer wanted to eliminate the residential component of the project, thus requested the rezoning.
City Planning Director Fred Guerra explained the developer thought the project would be best as a mixed-use establishment when the proposed project began to be discussed in 2005. At that time, the MU-4 zoning was created, he said. Since Stark Enterprises now has “come up” with just retail options for the shopping center, including “big box retailers,” the Planning Commission agreed it was best to rezone the site, Guerra said. He added Howe Avenue and portions of Graham Road are zoned C-1.
“It makes more sense to do it this way,” he said.
Guerra told Council the guidelines of the MU-4 zoning are similar to C-1, and the Planning Commission is waiting to approve several site plans for Portage Crossing to make sure the development will be the best it can be. He assured it still would be a place easily accessible by foot for those who reside in nearby residential developments.
Stark Enterprises has announced the development will include Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Pet Supplies Plus, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, B-Spot Restaurant, Giant Eagle and Menards, a home improvement store.
Councilwoman Diana Colavecchio (D-Ward 5) said the current deadline did not give Council enough time to approve the zoning change because a public hearing needs to be held concerning the rezoning and Council recesses for the month of August. The public must be notified 30 days in advance of a public hearing, by law, Guerra said.
During the meeting, Council introduced an ordinance to rezone the 11 parcels from MU-4 to C-1. Council President Mark Ihasz (D-Ward 4) announced the public hearing will be held Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.
Also during the meeting, Council approved a modification in the city’s contract with MS Consultants Inc. for services associated with an ongoing improvement project on Howe Avenue and Main Street. City Engineer Tony Demasi explained the project is taking longer to complete than first projected due to utility issues, but should be completed by the end of August. He added the Ohio Department of Transportation is reimbursing the city for 80 percent of the contract with MS Consultants Inc. The contract extension would cost the city about $10,000 more than expected, but the increase was budgeted for, Demasi said.
Council OK’d the following:
• an ordinance amending the codified ordinances relating to the rules of Council;
• several ordinances providing for the issuance and sale of notes and bonds;
• an ordinance authorizing a license agreement with the Summit County Educational Service Center for the use of the city-owned parking lot at Harrington Field, 2610 Oakwood Drive;
• a resolution expressing support for and urging passage of Issue No. 5, the Woodridge Local School District tax levy Aug. 7; and
• an ordinance authorizing a third modification of a contract with URS Corp. for professional design engineering services related to improvements to State Road from Graham Road to Steels Corners Road.
Council will hold its next committee meetings Sept. 4 and a regular meeting Sept. 10, both at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium.
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