TALLMADGE -- Eyeing a rezoning which would have allowed a higher density in terms of single-family homes constructed, Mayor David Kline says an applicant has withdrawn a proposal for the Ripley Farm after city officials advised them securing such a rezoning was unlikely.

The property in question consists of three parcels: a 102-acre parcel at 1229 East Ave.; a 1.24-acre parcel at 1241 East Ave.; and a 0.4-acre parcel at 1223 East Ave. The farm is situated in an R-2 Residential District, where the city's zoning code stipulates a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet or two lots per acre. Rita Weinberg, the city's Planning Director/Economic Developer, said not all 104 acres are usable. "There are riparian setbacks that reduce the total buildable acres," she reported. Under R-2 zoning, about 208 homes could be constructed on the farm, the mayor said.

However, the applicants were seeking a waiver in the zoning designation to R-6, Residential Open Space Planned Development District, which Kline said would have permitted more than 250 smaller homes to rise on the site in a clustered arrangement. The Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission was expected to consider that request at its June 1 meeting; however, in a May 25 email to the city's zoning department, a representative of the applicant asked for it to be withdrawn. "At this time we have decided not to continue with the project ," wrote Chris Brown, director of land development for K. Hovnanian Homes. Brown did not respond to requests for comment by press time June 1.

"We met with them several times saying it (the proposal) is too dense," Kline stated May 25. According to the mayor, the applicant wanted to maximize the number of lots in order to offset the expense of infrastructure like a sewer station upgrade and roadways related to the development. Kline said he would still like to see a development occur there. While the principle permitted use in an R-2 zoning district is single-family residential, conditionally permitted uses include religious places of worship; educational institutions; privately owned parks, playgrounds, golf courses and swimming pools; cemeteries; government-owned buildings, facilities, parks and playgrounds; and non-commercial recreational facilities.

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