Aurora -- The city is continuing to enlist the help of a consulting firm to work on the development of a possible joint economic development district with Bainbridge Township.

The planning comes in light of a Meijer store possibly moving into the township on former Geauga Lake Park land, according to Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin.

InSite Advisory Group is "a consultant on zoning and planning matters for the city," she said April 8. "Jennifer Syx of inSITE assisted us in drafting the design standards for the Geauga Lake area which were passed by Council last year.

"In addition, she is working on design standards and zoning plans for other areas of town," Womer Benjamin said.

Syx did not return a call from the Advocate for comment.

Council approved $15,000 on March 14 for the work to be done by inSITE.

The Geauga Lake property that was rezoned to mixed-use development by Aurora voters in 2014 is owned by Cedar Fair.

The rezoning created a mixed-use district for 548 acres in and around the former Geauga Lake Amusement Park property in the northern part of the city and Bainbridge Township. The property includes about 200 acres in Bainbridge.

"Cedar Fair is marketing the property but has not yet sold any of it," Womer Benjamin said. "Therefore, the area is still not being developed by builders and developers because no one has yet purchased any land.

"Aurora's design standards and zoning requirements are in place, however, for such time as Cedar Fair sells the property," she said.

Bainbridge Township trustees have been in discussion with Meijer officials for months in hopes of bringing a superstore to the township.

Womer Benjamin said April 8 that the trustees "are still considering whether to accept the Meijer plan, and a vote is expected later this month."

Bainbridge Township officials could not be reached for comment by the Advocate's deadline this week.

"Aurora, however, has been working to finalize a JEDD agreement with the trustees and Meijer in the event the project goes forward," she said.

"Aurora would supply water and sewer for the new development in exchange for certain tax and revenue sharing with Bainbridge Township, which is where the Meijer store would be located."

Womer Benjamin said the mixed-use development would provide for "retail, residential, recreational, educational and entertainment uses in an integrated, walkable community.

"Aurora's design standards further outline requirements for the look and feel of the development including green space, sidewalks, lighting, historic characteristics and other amenities," she said.


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