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Rezoning paves way for new retail buildings

3/13/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

FAIRLAWN — During its March 10 meeting, Fairlawn City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to rezone approximately 4.78 acres of property at Brookwall Drive from B-1 (Limited Business District) to B-2 (Retail Business District) to allow for the potential construction of three retail buildings.

During a public hearing on the matter, attorney Robert Konstand, representing JWM Partners, detailed plans for the property.

“This parcel was formerly a part of Copley Township and was annexed, when the property was a Brown Derby, to the city of Fairlawn. The restaurant operated for quite a period of time until it was demolished,” he said. “At that point, the former owners of the parcel came before the Planning Commission and this Council to rezone the Aldi parcel, because once the restaurant use went away, the property reverted back to office use. ... This Council granted retail rezoning B-2 to the people from Aldi and rezoned 2 acres. I’m here tonight to request that the balance of the property, 4.78 acres, be rezoned to retail.”

Konstand said JWM Partners, which owns the property in question, requested the rezoning in order to proceed with the construction of three different buildings.

“This would be done in three separate phases,” he stated. “The first proposal would be for a car wash on the parcel that fronts on Cleveland-Massillon Road. Then, to the west of that, would be a retail/office building at the corner of Brookmont and Bywood. And then, finally, depending on how it develops, the third phase will be a retail-type restaurant consisting of a little over 3,000 square feet at the corner of Brookmont and Brookwall.”

Before Council voted on the issue, Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large) said Fairlawn’s Planning Commission had given its recommendation to rezone the acreage from B-1 to B-2.

Now that Council has approved the zoning change, Konstand said, John Mallo, of JWM Partners, will appear before the Fairlawn Planning Commission today, March 13, seeking preliminary site plan approval for the car wash, which tentatively will be named the Montrose Auto Spa. The Planning Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road.

Konstand said the car wash “minimally” will cost $2 million “just for the building and the equipment — not including the land.”

“It’s going to be a very high-end car wash,” he stated. “There will be a detail shop. They’ll offer vacuuming. They’ll do everything.”

Also during the meeting:

  • Council approved an ordinance accepting the $1.2 million bid by Liberta Construction Co. for Fairlawn’s 2014 street repair program.
    “We’re proud to be able to do this without having to assess the residents and without incurring any debt,” said Mayor William Roth.
    In addition, Council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Environmental Design Group for construction supervision and inspection in conjunction with the 2014 street repair program for a sum not to exceed $59,961.
    “It’s the city policy that we hire an independent engineering firm to inspect the road work every year,” Roth said.
  • Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the new Croghan Park bridge has been manufactured and will be delivered March 20.
    “Hopefully, the weather will hold up and we’ll be able to put the abutments in,” he said.
    In a related issue, Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to prepare an application and apply for a matching funds grant from the Surface Water Improvement Fund available through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
    “This year, we’re putting in a rain garden in Croghan Park at the corner of Sand Run and Miller Road. This will be directly in front of the soccer fields,” Roth said. “The purpose of the rain garden is for rainwater retention, filtration and cleaning, and also education. This will be an educational experience for the children and the residents of the city.”
    Sharnsky said passage of the resolution extends solely to applying for the grant.
    “We are not appropriating any funds,” he said. “That would come later on, assuming we were awarded a grant.”
    The deadline to apply for the Surface Water Improvement Fund grant, Staten said, is April 11.
  • An ordinance amending the current collective bargaining agreement between the city of Fairlawn and the city’s part-time fire department personnel was unanimously approved by Council.
    “They are not represented by any bargaining unit — they represent themselves — and this is a wage re-opener in their current contract, which does not expire this year,” said Law Director Ed Riegler. “Based upon what we have done so far with negotiations with the other units, the part-time fire [personnel] has agreed to a 2 percent wage increase for this year, which is compatible with the other agreements that we have reached.”
  • Sharnsky read a resolution “extending the gratitude and best wishes of the city of Fairlawn on the retirement of James Butler as Ward 1 Councilman.”
    “Mr. Butler was scheduled to be here this evening, but I assume something has come up that made him unable to attend,” Sharnsky said. “But I would like to get this on the record this evening and get it voted on and present it at a later time.”
    The resolution was unanimously approved by Council.
    Butler served on Council from 1995 through the end of 2013. [For more on Butler’s Council career, see “Butler turning over leadership of Fairlawn’s Ward 1” in the Jan. 2, 2014, West Side Leader, or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]
  • Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to file an application with ReWorks (formerly the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority) for a community recycling access grant on behalf of Fairlawn.
    The resolution states the grant was developed to “support projects which would sustain and increase recycling activities within Summit County.”
    “This is the same resolution that we put in every year for the grant,” Staten said. “It’s a grant to help with recycling. We use it to offset the price of containers, plastic bags for recycling and for some of the wages of the compactor crew.”
    According to Staten, the amount of the grant varies every year, but is typically around $5,000.

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set for March 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall.

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