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Akron Council denies permit to proposed group home

10/31/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Also, park-and-ride lot planned downtown

After hearing the opposition of neighbors, city officials and Council members, Akron City Council voted unanimously to deny a conditional-use permit for a proposed group home for senior citizens to be located on South Miller Road.

The conditional use would have allowed eight unrelated people to reside in the home located in a single-family area, the zoning for which allows for five unrelated residents.

Igor Vulicevic, owner of the property and co-founder of Greenview Living with his mother, Danka Malivuk, the petitioner, said during Council meetings Oct. 28 the assisted-living facility is meant to provide a homelike atmosphere to allow elderly residents to maintain their independence. It would add value to the neighborhood, he said, and he noted that several similar homes already exist in the area.

But that saturation was not a positive, said Councilwoman Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8), in whose ward the property is located. Furthermore, she said, the home would be located on a very busy street, which would be detrimental to ambulatory residents.

Keith told Council a petition had been submitted with 39 signatures of residents in the neighborhood who opposed the group home.

Neighbors Richard McGuckin and Terri Bisesi spoke in opposition during a public hearing. McGuckin made the point that Greenview Living is a business, which advertises and would make a profit, and the facility should not be treated as a residence. It would be disruptive in the single-family neighborhood, he said.

“I think she needs to find a different neighborhood to operate her business,” he said.

Bisesi said she believes the assisted-living group home could erode the character of the neighborhood, as the operators of such facilities are not who she considers neighbors who care about the neighborhood.

The Planning Department and Planning Commission both recommended disapproval of the conditional-use request due to the potential detriment of the increased activity and traffic the facility would bring, and Council followed suit.

“I believe it would definitely be an adverse effect on the neighborhood,” Keith said.

In other business, Council authorized the lease of city-owned land to METRO Regional Transit Authority. The 2.8-acre parcel located directly south of METRO’s downtown transit center will be leased to METRO for $1 a year.

METRO plans to make $1.2 million in improvements to construct a public parking lot, with approximately 200 parking spaces, for customers who ride longer distances, such as to Canton or Cleveland.

The next Akron City Council meeting will take place Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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