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Copley trustees approve another overlay district

3/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Much like what was done for the area around Copley Circle, a mixed-use overlay district around the intersection of Copley and Jacoby roads will allow homeowners located in a Commercial General Retail (C-GR) district to leave behind the “nonconforming” zoning designation.

The Copley Township Board of Trustees held a public hearing prior to their regular meeting March 19 before approving the change.

Some homeowners located within the C-GR district had been facing difficulties in selling their homes, as prospective homebuyers were turned off by the “nonconforming” label, said Matt Springer, township planning director.

The overlay district, in effect, provides flexibility, as current zoning uses are retained  and new ones are added, said Springer. (According to the zoning map, the area in question is all C-GR, except a small portion of commercial office retail zoning.)

Single-family residential uses, though previously legal, are now allowed, along with many live/work uses, he said. As such, 11 previously nonconforming uses now meet zoning requirements, said Springer.

The area in question contains 35 residential and business properties, all of which were asked to weigh in during the lengthy process required to institute a zoning change, according to Springer.

In October 2013, the township’s Zoning Commission held a public workshop to begin discussing the idea, inviting all property owners from the area in the proposed mixed-use compact development (MUCD) district.

In January, the Summit County Planning Commission recommended the MUCD overlay district be allowed, with some suggested minor changes. A township Zoning Commission public hearing came next, and that board also recommended approval, with the Planning Commission’s edits.

During the trustees’ public hearing, the proposed change met no objections, and trustees voted unanimously to add the MUCD overlay district to the township’s zoning resolution’s text and map.

Also that evening, during the regular meeting, trustees approved posting an updated job description for chief fire inspector, following the retirement of Ed Simpson March 1.

The township will contract with Poly-Tech Associates for an estimated $10,000 to determine the most appropriate candidate. Fire Chief Michael Benson noted the firefighters’ collective bargaining agreement requires using a third party.

In other action, trustees:

  • approved a program for complying with retroreflectivity regulations for traffic control and street name signs;
  • set an auction for April 17 from 4 to 7 p.m., with doors open for viewing items at 1 p.m. at the Community Center, located at 1278 Sunset Drive, to sell unneeded items. Trustees also tentatively approved an agreement with Harold Farnsworth to be auctioneer; and
  • approved a one-year contract with Rumpke Recycling for hauling containers from the township’s Recycle Center at a cost of $180 per pull.

The board also held a special meeting March 18 to discuss capital projects and permanent appropriations for 2014.

A proposed change to the new budget is to have costs for community events, previously absorbed by the police department, moved to the General Fund, said Fiscal Officer Janice Marshall. This will help with accounting for previously unarticulated overtime expenses for township employees for working community events, she added.

Following that discussion, the board also agreed to grant 2 percent wage increases to all Service Department employees — six full-time workers — retroactive to Jan. 1.

Trustees also met for a special meeting March 24 to approve the year’s appropriations.

According to the resolution, the total 2014 appropriations come to approximately $14 million, with $2.8 million earmarked for the General Fund.

The Copley Board of Trustees’ next meeting is set for April 2 at 6 p.m. at the Copley Township offices, 1540 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.

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