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Green Council hears from Acme developer

9/13/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Also, resident protests Council’s rejection of law director petition

GREEN — A presentation made during Green City Council’s Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee meeting Sept. 11 whet the appetites of officials and residents for a new grocery store and additional restaurants in the city.

Jim Nilsen, president and treasurer of Albrecht Inc., was present to discuss the local real estate company’s request to amend the general development plan of the Heritage Crossings development to better accommodate the Acme Fresh Market planned for the Massillon Road site.

In January, Albrecht announced it would construct a 68,000-square-foot grocery store in Heritage Crossings.

In addition to the Acme, Nilsen said Heritage Crossings will feature about 28,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The buildings would be built with the highest quality materials and feature deep sidewalks for enhanced walkability, outdoor patio areas for dining and landscaping, he said.

Nilsen said Albrecht is asking Council to amend the general development plan to better address the visibility and accessibility of Acme.

“We are bringing the residents of Green an additional grocery opportunity and plan for small-shop retail and different and new restaurants,” he explained. “The goal is to have both parties in harmony.”

Nilsen said the topography of the site is unique, as the land is significantly elevated in several areas. However, he pledged the development would have an inviting appearance from all directions and carry the initial theme of Heritage Crossings, which includes white picket fences and stone elements.

Heritage Crossings also is home to Summa Health System’s Emergency Department at Green. Nilsen said the development will offer safe walking areas for the convenience of those working at or visiting the medical center.

He said Albrecht would like to break ground on the Acme in late fall or early winter and anticipates opening the grocery store in early fall 2013. Nilsen added the outlot buildings will be constructed when “high value” tenants are found.

“This is a $28 million investment on our part. It is important to have a good, well-thought-out plan,” he said.

Councilman Gerard Neugebauer (at large) explained the only concern some members of the Planning Commission had with Albrecht’s request was how much parking space patrons would see.

“When you bring a grocery store, you are bringing a large parking field,” Nilsen agreed. “We will break it up as much as possible.”

Neugebauer said the measure will be voted on at the next regular meeting.

Mayor Dick Norton promised the project will be “handsome.”

“This will be a real high-quality project,” he said. “It is what our residents want. Council will be proud they were able to bring this amenity to the city.”

Nilsen did say it is Albrecht’s desire to offer 10-by-20-foot parking spaces for patrons because that is the parking space size Acme customers want.

During the regular meeting, which followed the committee meetings, a public hearing was held concerning an ordinance that would amend the codified ordinances to provide an alternative parking stall design.

Neugebauer has said the measure would allow a developer to make a development’s parking spaces 9-by-18 feet, as opposed to the current 10-by-20 feet standard, in exchange for additional green space on the property.

Council heard from residents who are concerned the 9-by-18 space is not safe for parents who need the extra space to put their small children in strollers or shopping carts. They cited their dissatisfaction with Target’s 9-by-18 parking spaces.

Neugebauer explained a variance was given to Target for the smaller spaces and can be given to any developer that requests to have the 9-by-18 spaces. He said the proposed legislation at least allows the city to exchange the smaller spaces for more green space.

Councilman Ken Knodel (Ward 3) said he would like to see the legislation put a restriction on what type of business could have the 9-by-18 parking stalls.

“If it is a retail business with shopping carts, then it should not be allowed,” he said.

Councilman Chris Humphrey (at large) agreed, stating he was opposed to the ordinance.

“Who says they would prefer smaller parking spaces?” he questioned.

Council is expected to vote on the issue at the next regular meeting, Neugebauer said.

Two additional public hearings were held during the Sept. 11 meeting concerning an ordinance that would create a new chapter of the land development code to allow the city to issue special-use permits and an ordinance amending a section of the land development code to create special sign districts within the city.

Planning Director Wayne Wiethe explained there are certain properties in the city that could be used for a use alternative to what they are zoned for, but they do not necessarily need to go through a zoning change. He said the city could issue a special-use permit in these cases. A request for a special-use permit would go through the Planning Commission and Council, Wiethe added.

He also explained the proposed special sign district would be for the Greensburg area and would change the sign requirements in that business section of the city, specifically as a courtesy to the residents along Greensburg Road. For example, instead of large, lit signs, businesses would be encouraged to use shorter signs and shine exterior lights on them, Wiethe said.

Neugebauer said both pieces of legislation also would be voted on at the next meeting.

Also during the regular meeting, Council approved a municipal economic development grant agreement with Comdoc Inc. Wiethe explained earlier this month the company has outgrown its headquarters on Massillon Road and wants to relocate its sales staff and some of its technicians — a total of 65 employees — to a rental facility at 3475 Forest Lake Drive. Wiethe said the five-year agreement is based on a $3 million payroll. As part of the agreement, the city will reimburse the company about $30,000 in collected income taxes each year.

Council also authorized the city to enter into a real estate purchase agreement with MG & L Properties for lot No. 3 in Town Park Center, next to the city’s Central Administration Building (CAB). Wiethe said the city will purchase 1.1 acres of land, which was appraised at nearly $410,000, for $394,000 to create green space in the central area of the city.

In other business, Council:

• announced a public hearing will be held Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the CAB, 1755 Town Park Blvd., on an ordinance that would change the zoning classification of 15.96 acres of land located on the west side of South Arlington Road, north of Boettler Road, from R-1 (Single Family Residential) to R-2 (Multi-Family Residential);

• agreed to further discuss at the next meeting of the Transportation, Connectivity and Storm Water Committee an ordinance that would narrow an unnamed alley abutting Berna Road, after hearing from parties for and against the narrowing;

• discussed an ordinance that would establish responsibility for the maintenance of all storm water management infrastructure and agreed to give it further consideration before voting on the matter, as additional changes to the legislation still are in the works;

• awarded a contract to PS Construction Fabric in the amount of $79,410 for the 2012 crack sealing projects;

• authorized the city to apply for a grant with the Safety Grants Program, administered through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation; and

• approved a resolution endorsing and supporting the Summit Food Policy Coalition’s Summit County Food Charter, which encourages the growth of local and regional food.

At the close of the meeting, Norton reported:

√ Summit County Probate Court Judge Todd McKenney will have a meeting for Green residents Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. at The Chapel, 1800 Raber Road, to discuss a survivorship deed and its benefits;

√ the city now is using the Green Alert System to let residents know of an emergency and those with cell phones who wish to receive an alert should visit www.cityofgreen.org to enroll in the program; and

√ Green is partnering with the Area Agency on Aging to offer Info Line to the elderly and disabled. Those wishing for information on the program that offers medical help 24 hours a day should call 877-770-5558.

In other city business, City Council held a special meeting Sept. 6 and voted 6-0 against putting an amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot to make the city’s law director an elected position. Council members cited an insufficient amount of signatures verified by the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE) for the reason why the measure was not approved.

Green resident Joel Helms, who pushed for the charter proposal, did not submit enough verifiable signatures for the issue to be put on the ballot but said he did turn in a second set of signatures which should have been sufficient. However, they were not verified by the BOE before the Sept. 6 vote by Council, he said. The matter was not discussed during the Sept. 11 committee and regular meetings of Council.

The BOE’s deadline for placing the issue on the ballot was Sept. 7.

Helms, however, confirmed he launched a formal protest with the BOE, stating his petition was rejected “unlawfully” for insufficient signatures when, in fact, sufficient signatures existed. He is requesting the issue still be placed on the ballot.

The BOE met Sept. 12 for a special meeting and the issue was listed on the agenda. [Results of that meeting were not known at presstime.]

Council’s next regular meeting is set for Sept. 25 beginning at 5 p.m. for committee meetings and continuing at 7 p.m. for the Council meeting in Council Chambers at the CAB.

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