Falls Council holds zoning change hearing
Cuyahoga Falls Councilman Don Walters (D-Ward 6) is hopeful a change in the zoning of the former State Road Shopping Center site would be the last piece of the puzzle needed to get Portage Crossing built.
Members of Council frequently are getting calls from residents who want to know when construction is going to start on the proposed upscale retail development, he explained to the city administration during the Sept. 10 Council meeting.
“People are getting anxious,” Walters said.
If Council OKs a requested zoning change from Portage Crossing developer Stark Enterprises, the development would be put together a little differently than first anticipated.
During the Sept. 10 meeting — the first since Council’s one-month summer recess — a public hearing was held concerning an ordinance to rezone the 11 parcels of land, a total of 27 acres, that would be make up Portage Crossing.
Planning Director Fred Guerra explained Stark Enterprises is asking for the property to be rezoned commercial to better accommodate the development’s two anchor tenants, Menard’s, a home improvement store, and Giant Eagle.
He explained State Road was changed from commercial zoning to mixed use in 2005 to accommodate Portage Crossing, which was originally going to be a development that offered retail and residential space.
Guerra explained the residential component is no longer part of the project due to the housing market decline.
He said it was more appropriate to have the complex zoned commercial now so the project could move along quicker, specifically the construction of the big-box stores.
Community Development Director Susan Truby said the city’s contract with Stark Enterprises still would keep the shopping center from looking like a traditional strip mall.
Guerra added the goal remains to construct a first-class development on the site of the former State Road Shopping Center.
Stark Enterprises was expected to close July 31 on the State Road property the company is purchasing from the city. However, in late July, Council approved extending the closing date to Oct. 31 to allow time to approve the requested zoning change.
In other business, Council introduced several pieces of legislation that would:
• rezone 2307 23rd St. from R-4 (Urban Density Residential) to MU-4 (Sub-Urban Corridor);
• authorize Truby to enter into a second modification of a contract with SRW Environmental Services, in an amount not to exceed $39,000, for professional environmental assessment services related to remediation at 4610 State Road;
• consent to the improvement of Howe Avenue from Main Street to Buchholzer Boulevard by the Ohio Department of Transportation and provide a minimum of 20 percent of the total cost;
• remove the prohibition on left turns existing at 461 Graham Road onto eastbound Graham Road;
• authorize a contract, without competitive bidding, with Finely Fire Equipment Co. Inc. for the purchase of a “Hurst Jaws of Life” hydraulic rescue tool set; and
• authorize the demolition of buildings and removal of demolition debris at 2512 Ninth Court and 1532 Falls Ave.
Council will hold its next committee meetings Sept. 17 and a regular meeting Sept. 24, both at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.
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