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Green Council postpones public hearing for apartment complex

9/27/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

GREEN — As the sun set Sept. 25, a Jewish holiday began and so did the regular meeting of Green City Council, which led to the postponement of a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m.

Councilman Gerard Neugebauer (at large) announced Redwood Management, the developer of Emerald Ridge — a luxury apartment complex at 3916 S. Arlington Road — would not be present in order to observe Yom Kippur.

Several members of Council expressed frustration with a request by Redwood Management to move the public hearing to a later date, as it already had been rescheduled once to accommodate the developer.

The public hearing was to be 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) for the construction of 81 additional apartment homes at Emerald Ridge.

Councilman Dave France (Ward 2) said it was his preference for the public hearing to be held without a representative of Redwood Management.

However, Neugebauer and Councilman Joel Reed (at large) agreed it would be best to reschedule the public hearing so Redwood Management could present its development plan to residents and answer their questions.

“It is an important proposal,” Reed said.

He reported receiving numerous phone calls and emails from residents on the proposed project and said the “right thing” to do was to reschedule the public hearing “one final time.”

The developer has offered to reimburse the city for the cost to advertise the public hearing again, Reed added.

Neugebauer announced the public hearing would be rescheduled for Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Central Administration Building (CAB), 1755 Town Park Blvd.

Even though the developer was absent, several residents opposed to the project were present at the meeting and voiced their disappointment in the public hearing’s second delay.

“I would like to express my dismay that once again the public hearing for the Redwood Management has been postponed,” said Patricia Carleski, of Greenfield Road.

She said several senior citizens and individuals with limited mobility came for the public hearing, and it is unfair to make them come another time to speak against the project.

“There just might be another reason for the delay,” she said.

Carleski said the proposed apartments would leave little green space and create additional traffic in her neighborhood. She also fears Emerald Ridge would not be maintained properly once it is expanded.

Council did not comment on the proposal, but Neugebauer said the public hearing would be a time for both sides to share their arguments and provide “closure.”

Also during the meeting, Neugebauer withdrew an ordinance that would have amended the codified ordinances to allow a developer to make a development’s parking spaces 9-by-18 feet, as opposed to the current 10-by-20-foot standard, in exchange for additional green space on the property.

Council heard earlier this month from residents who said the 9-by-18-foot space is not safe for parents who need the extra space to get their small children in and out of a vehicle.

Neugebauer said the ordinance would be “reworked” to allow for a variance, when appropriate, for 9-by-18-foot spaces, but only in exchange for extra green space.

Council additionally approved an ordinance amending the General Development Plan of the Heritage Crossings of Green Planned Development District in preparation for the construction of an Acme Fresh Market in the new development off Massillon Road and accepted the replat of Heritage Crossings, phase one, to allow for the construction of a left-turn lane.

Also during the meeting, Council approved the creation of 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 Greensburg area of the city.

Council additionally agreed to begin compensating members of the Civil Service Commission and appointed members of the Design Review Board $1,500 a year.

Neugebauer said both boards provide a valuable service to the community and make decisions that affect the city in very direct ways, so it is appropriate to start offering compensation.

Members of the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning and Zoning Commission already are compensated $1,500 per year, Reed said.

Council also agreed during the meeting that it was not appropriate for the city to narrow an unnamed alley abutting Berna Road at the request of a resident.

In other city business, the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) met Sept. 19 and took action on the Parks and Recreation Department’s plans to better the city-owned park facilities.

The PZC approved plans for a new restroom and an addition to the existing restroom facility at Boettler Park, Neugebauer said. The new 659-square-foot facility will be located between the Freda Hunter Bates Picnic Pavilion and the Heritage Hill Playground, he said. The 280-square-foot addition to the existing restroom facility will expand the restroom facility to service the tennis courts, soccer fields and schoolhouse playground area, he said.

The PZC also approved plans to add a baseball field, a restroom and additional parking at Greensburg Park. Neugebauer explained the fifth baseball field in the park will be located the closest to Massillon Road, and the 659-square-foot restroom will be located between the new field and field No. 1 to serve the adjacent ball fields and picnic pavilion and playground south of the new field. He said 76 parking spaces will be added and the public sidewalk around the site extended.

In addition, the PZC approved the conditional-use certificate for the addition of two baseball fields at East Liberty Park.

Councilman Chris Humphrey (at large) said the community will “be pleased” with the additions at the parks.

Also, in other city business, Mayor Dick Norton announced the inaugural members of the city of Green Living Green Task Force: residents Kyle Lukes, Cynthia Viagnos, Yolanda Walker, Jane Warmus, Megan Weidner and Anthony Ziehler; and city representatives Paul Oberdorfer, Sarah Haring and a City Council representative still to be named.

“In April, I invited members of the residential and business community to submit letters of interest to be part of a task force that would first determine what ‘living green’ looks like for our city and then to develop a plan that would enable us to live out a commitment to be accountable stewards,” he told Council in his memo. “The members of the community were chosen for their knowledge, professional credentials or volunteer background in the realm of sustainability that would lend additional expertise to our internal team championing this initiative.”

The Living Green Task Force will hold its first meeting Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

The primary focus of the meeting will be to provide background of the city’s sustainability efforts to date, as well as a time of introduction and organization.

The Living Green Task Force also will meet Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. to hear from Mike Wallace, the director of the Global Reporting Initiative’s U.S. operations out of New York, on his experience in the field of global sustainability.

Council’s next regular meeting is set for Oct. 9 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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