TALLMADGE -- "They heard our voice," says Tallmadge resident Donna Marlow, after a developer's plan to construct 32 units on 3 acres at 338 W. Howe Road was rejected 6 to 1 by City Council May 25.
Tim Merryweather, president of Merryweather Real Estate, told the Tallmadge Express the rejection would not send him back to the drawing board.
Council member Gene Stalnaker (Ward 2) cast the sole vote opposing rejection of the proposal.
"We don't have any plans at this time to continue with this project," Merryweather stated in a telephone conversation May 30. " we don't have a location, so we don't have a project. You need a location first. The project has been abandoned."
In February, Merryweather Real Estate, on behalf of the Wilma C. Platt Trust, had sought a conditional zoning designation for the site which would have paved the way for the development of a 54-unit apartment complex there.
Two separate buildings were envisioned at that time, one with 18 units and three parking garages in Tallmadge, and the other with 36 units in Cuyahoga Falls.
Merryweather withdrew that plan after a standing room only crowd of neighbors packed city hall urging the Planning and Zoning Commission to oppose it, raising issues ranging from density and traffic to potential sink holes and the possibility of sinking home values.
Merryweather then reworked the project to create a concept he said he believed would be more acceptable to nearby residents featuring a reduction in density, an increase in green space and a lower building profile.
Merryweather presented an overview of the revised proposal to the Planning and Zoning Commission May 4.
In its revised form, the development would have consisted of six separate buildings two stories high; each building would have contained five or six townhouse-style apartments.
Twenty of the proposed 32 units would have been located in Tallmadge, the others in Cuyahoga Falls.
Tallmadge Mayor David Kline said he thought Merryweather did "a good job" in revising the plan, saying "It came a long ways" from its first iteration.
While Planning and Zoning Commission members acknowledged that, their consensus was that the proposed townhouse-style apartments would not be harmonious with existing surroundings -- privately owned condo units.
"It's a really nice project," Councilmember Kim Ray (At Large) stated in prevote remarks May 25, "it's just not a nice project for right there. I would hope he would find somewhere else in Tallmadge to build those townhouses."
"I think all of the residents, especially those in the area adjacent to the farm, thought that wasn't a good fit for our neighborhood," according to Marlow, the current secretary of the Ridgewood Condominium Association.
"The rental aspect was the biggest objection and the (proposed) concentration of people in a small area. Also the possibility of lowering the value of our property."
Marlow said she believes city officials were swayed by data showing the Merryweather proposal runs counter to residents' opinions as compiled in the city's 2013 Comprehensive Plan Survey; in that poll, Marlow said the majority opposed the construction of more rental units in Tallmadge.
"They listened, and we appreciate it," Marlow said.
Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC