Cuyahoga Falls -- City Council will vote Sept. 26 on plans to further develop State Road near Portage Trail.

Fred Guerra, the city's planning director, said Stark Enterprises submitted a major site plan for a new 9,428-square-foot retail building on an outparcel of Portage Crossing between Shaw Automotive and Pizza Hut.

The Planning Commission approved Stark's plans on Sept. 7, Guerra said, with stipulations that include requiring Stark to update its stormwater management plan, establish an easement for a proposed sewer force main and provide pedestrian access to Portage Crossing.

Guerra noted Stark had submitted a traffic study seeking to change the traffic patterns by allowing left turns in and out of the proposed property. The planning director said his staff did not give the study a thorough review because it was filed too close to the deadline.

"After talking to Stark Enterprises, they're going to keep it the way it is," Guerra said, "which will be right hand turns out and right hand turns in After everybody looked at it, we decided [allowing left turns in and out] wasn't a good idea."

Councilman Russ Iona (R-8) said, "I did my own traffic study It's impossible to make a left-hand turn."

Steve Coven, Stark's director of development and chief real estate counsel, said Stark is aware of the stipulations and has "no issue with any of them." Coven said the building's appearance is designed to blend in with neighboring properties.

Declining to give tenants' names, Coven said the building will house one restaurant and two service/retail businesses.

Councilman Paul Colavecchio (D-At large) said he appreciates Stark's commitment to pedestrian access because Portage Crossing is in his "backyard" and he frequently walks to Giant Eagle Market District from his house and back home again.

Sidewalk connections will eventually be made to the proposed building and then to Cinemark, but work has to be done around Pizza Hut, which Stark does not own, and the site has a "huge topography issue," Coven said.

"We'll find a way to do it but I don't have a solution here today," he said.


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