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Community News

Rezoning for housing project draws crowd

11/15/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

GREEN — A project to build senior housing drew residents in favor and against it to a public hearing on the matter at the Nov. 13 Green City Council meeting.

The public hearing began with a presentation on the proposed plan, which first seeks to rezone almost 16 acres of property on South Arlington Road from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to R-2 (Multi-Family Residential). The rezoning would allow the construction of Phase II of the already established Emerald Ridge subdivision, located next door to the proposed site. The Planning and Zoning Commission has made a negative recommendation to Council on the matter, voting 4-1 against it.

George Smerigan, of Oxbow Engineering, spoke on behalf of project developer Redwood Management, telling Council they have taken into consideration concerns raised about the project and have made some modifications.

“We are listening,” he said. “We are cooperating. We are trying to work with you in that regard.”

Smerigan detailed the modifications to include reducing the size of the buildings housing the individual units, reconfiguring the design of the development to reduce the linear aspects of the layout and enhancing the architectural features of the buildings.

Smerigan said the “high-end apartments” would consist of 16 buildings containing 81 units of ranch-style homes with two bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage. The open space on the lots will be in front of the buildings. Phase II would connect to Phase I.

Smerigan also stated that according to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is a guide to development in the city, the section of South Arlington Road where the project would be built has been designated as a “transitional zone” to buffer single-family homes north and south of the site from commercial development planned for on the opposite side of the road.

He also said the project’s density is about half of what is permitted, and the development would have an “extremely minor” impact on traffic and a “positive” impact on schools, with about six children expected to live there.

“We have an aging population, and you need to provide appropriate housing for these seniors,” said Smerigan.

He added there is a waiting list of 48 people interested in these apartments, and he presented a list of 600 signatures in support of more senior housing in the city.

“This rezoning makes sense for the community,” said Smerigan.

About five residents from Emerald Ridge attended the meeting to support the proposed rezoning.

Christine Milczwski said she likes the housing because it is close to amenities such as grocery stores and hospitals, and because it has a single-floor plan.

“We are like one community,” she said. “We know each other and support each other.”

Emerald Ridge resident Judy Walters stated that both she and her husband have physical limitations, and they also like the one-floor plan, the wide doorways and the attached garage. She said they looked at a lot of developments.

“We were taken with it the first time we saw it [Emerald Ridge],” she said. “These beat many others we looked at.”

Larry Mettler added that Emerald Ridge was a “wonderful, unique place for those that need to downsize.”

“This place is user-friendly and a great place to live,” he added.

A number of nearby residents did not agree.

Helen and Jeptha Crum have lived for decades on a property that will be surrounded by the new apartments if the second phase is built.

“We don’t want to be forced to lived next to such a crowded place,” said Jeptha Crum.

“We have enough apartments, and we don’t need anymore,” said Helen Crum.

Jeff Noble stated that the current Emerald Ridge development is known as “the barracks,” is the “laughing stock of the community” and “has no character.”

John Beese, owner of Merestead Farms, which abuts the proposed development, called the project “just frightening.” He said he faces lawsuits from nearby residents because of the dust kicked up during harvesting, and he does not want more neighbors who will add to the problem.

June Sloan, a longtime member of the Green Historical Society, asked city officials to consider the impact on area historical homes.

Resident Pat Carleski questioned Smerigan’s comment that the development would not have an effect on traffic and asked why a buffer of multi-housing is needed when all current nearby structures are single-family homes.

At the end of the public hearing, Green Council’s Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee Chairman Gerard Neugebauer (at large) credited the community for making “respectful comments.”

Council is expected to vote on the proposed rezoning at its next meeting.

Council also heard from Jim Nilsen, treasurer and president of Albrecht Inc., on plans for the new $28 million Acme grocery store to be built on a 17-acre site in the 75-acre Heritage Crossings development located at the corner of Graybill and Massillon roads. Legislation before Council seeks confirmation of the site plan for the project, which includes more space for other retail shops or offices. Nilsen told city officials they hope to begin construction this winter and open in the fall of 2013. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved site plans for the project 5-2.

Council delayed its vote on the plan until the Board of Zoning Appeals makes a recommendation on variances that include the number of entrances, wider driveways and the reduced size of the parking spots.

Council also decided to take more time on legislation regarding regulations for illicit discharge into the city’s storm water system after resident Joel Helms raised a number of concerns.

In other business, Council approved:

• trading in a 2003 and 2005 ambulance for $30,000 toward the purchase of one 2013 Braun ambulance, to cost $230,000;

• accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission;

• requiring the Summit County Fiscal Office to advance funds to Green;

• increasing the minimum amount needed for competitive bids on capital projects from $25,000 to $50,000;

• amending Green’s Codified Ordinances, section 1229.14(2)(C), which impacts water quality and streams by protecting plants in riparian corridors, and sections 1224.09 and 1231.02, which impacts grading and clearing on development sites to protect from erosion; and

• exempting a percentage of the value of certain improvements to CAM Green LLC property from real property taxes for 30 years, creating a Tax Increment Financing agreement.

Between committee meetings and the regular meeting, Council adjourned into executive session for about 40 minutes to discuss real estate matters and the creation of a new position. There was no discussion on the matter.

The next regular Green City Council meeting will take place Nov. 27 beginning at 5 p.m. for committee meetings and at 7 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers at the Green Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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