NORTHFIELD VILLAGE -- Changes are coming to Northfield Village, but they aren't happening overnight.
While the village isn't growing beyond its square-mile borders, it continues to progress in other ways. Mayor Jesse Nehez said he and Law Director Brad Bryan have been talking with the Summit County Port Authority and Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park Chairman and CEO Brock Milstein about the possibility of a hotel being erected on the Northfield Road property.
Nehez said he is hoping the hotel will become a reality, as it would provide more jobs, more revenue and more visitors to the area.
"It would definitely be another shot in the arm for us," Nehez said. "Being centrally located to Cleveland and Akron, it would encourage people to stay here."
Nehez said during the June 28 Council meeting he anticipates more information to be available about the potential project "within a couple of months."
Other changes include the possible establishment of a zoning overlay district, which would feature alternative land development requirements in areas that are part of conventional zoning districts. Councilor Alan Hipps said the existing zoning could be changed for a residential property that is located directly behind a business, allowing that business to expand if they purchase the land. Officials said a consultant would be hired to draft amendments to the existing zoning codes.
"This would aid in the beautification of our village and create and encourage potential redevelopment projects in the area," Nehez said.
Bryan said the committee, headed by Hipps, has met with two firms who have responded to advertising for the project and he is in the process of scheduling meetings with two other firms.
"It's very early in the process," Bryan said. "We are still interviewing planners and once we select who we are going to work with, it will be a long process to figure out what we want to rezone, if anything. Then it has to go to the ballot."
Voters would get a say in any zoning changes village officials would like to make, but Bryan said it is unlikely to be a ballot measure this year due to the extensive planing involved. With an overlay district, changes could be made to boundaries, as well as setbacks and other zoning rules.
Also during the June 28 meeting, Council passed two resolutions to apply for a grant and a loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the reconstruction of Houghton Road and traffic signal improvements. Engineer Richard Wasosky said he is not confident the Village will receive approval for the grant due to "Akron taking the lion's share" of available funding, but recommended the village apply anyway. If funds are approved, the project would happen in 2018.
The project includes replacing traffic signals at Route 8 and Houghton Road and at Maple Avenue and Route 8 which would no longer be on wires but placed on new mast arms like the traffic signals in front of the Rocksino.
"The signals would interconnect to the lights at the Rocksino and eventually all the way down to Ledge Road," Wasosky said.
Other agenda items passed June 28 include hiring a new full-time police officer Core Zidlicky to replace Erica Gregg who will be leaving the department to join Lyndhurst Police Department. Council also established a new part-time office assistant position and approved the hiring of Tiffany Laskowski to fill the position. Laskowski will assist Administrative Assistant Lisa Rodriguez, Clerk of Court Lisa Thellman and Finance Director Tricia Ingrassia. Nehez said her primary function will be records retention. She will work up to 24 hours per week.
"This is something we just don't have time for, and it will be a huge project for her," Nehez said.
Council President Nick Magistrelli agreed, adding "It's about time we get someone in here to give our girls a hand."
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432