CUYAHOGA FALLS -- City Council is again scheduled to vote on approving plans for a six-unit housing development on Hunter Parkway on March 27.
Developer Danny Karam wants to subdivide 333 E. Bath Road and build six one-story condos side-by-side and grouped in threes, each with its own driveway on Hunter Parkway. The subdivision was unanimously approved by the city's planning commission on Feb. 22 and sent to Council for approval.
The plans were reviewed by Council's three-member planning and zoning committee on March 6. Councilman Michael Brillhart (D-5), not a member of the committee, said he was not in favor of the project, which would be in his ward, because he had received calls from constituents opposing it because of the added cars and traffic they say it will bring. The committee voted 3-0 to bring out the ordinance for a vote the following week.
When the time came to vote on the legislation on March 13, Brillhart (D-5) restated his disapproval based on the number of complaints he'd heard. Brillhart's motion to send the ordinance back to the planning and zoning committee for further discussion was approved 10-1. Russ Iona (R-8), committee chairman and a planning commission member, voted against sending the measure back.
On March 20, before an audience of approximately 150 people (the opening of Front Street was also on the agenda that night), the Hunter Parkway project was revisited. Planning Director Fred Guerra explained the site of the proposed development lies within an area that is zoned R-5 Mixed Use. He said it was rezoned from Commercial years ago to allow more development. He said a senior housing development, The Enclave, is proposed in an R-5 district.
"We made sure he went the least number of units," Guerra said adding, "Anything over five units goes before the planning commission." He said Karam wants to eventually sell the condos as fee-simple units. Karam had said on March 6 the units would be sold for $255,000 to $260,000 or leased for $2,200 per month. Karam was present on March 20 but did not address Council.
Guerra said he understands many would prefer to see more single-family structures built in the city. "Would we want more single family-homes? Sure, but no one was stepping up to build them," he said.
"The people of Ward 5 clearly do not want this development," said Brillhart. "I've had over 80 phone calls [by March 20], all of them opposed." To his fellow members of Council, Brillhart said, "When is the last time you've had 80 phone calls on one issue?" The audience then burst into applause.
Tom Cargo of River Rock Drive said Council needs to consider the increase in stormwater runoff another development in this area will cause. Cobblestone Lane resident Jon Paul said the proposed development would cause more congestion in traffic and the city should consider putting in a stop light at Hunter Parkway and East Bath Road. Mike Horning of Hunter Parkway said he wants a traditional single-family home built there. A total of five residents spoke.
"The developer did not create the traffic problem," Iona said. "It's been a problem there for a while It's a high density area." The Councilman said Karam has not made any changes to his plans other than stipulations requested by the city, and he has not asked for a variance. Iona said he would not be in favor of 8-12 units on this site with one driveway.
Karam's plan complies with all the rules and regulations of the city's zoning, Iona said, adding, "What we do have to address is the traffic problems It's a bad traffic spot."
The planning and zoning committee then voted 3-0 to bring the issue out for a vote on March 27.