AURORA — Expansion is planned at Thorncreek Winery and Gardens on Treat Road, and Aurora’s planning commission accepted for study preliminary and final site plans for an 11,781-square-foot addition at its Aug. 15 meeting.

Meanwhile, a final site plan for a 30,600-square-foot, five-building retail center on the east side of Route 306 across from Barrington Town Square also was accepted for study.

David Thorn, owner of Thorncreek Winery and Gardens, plans to renovate and add on to the east and northwest sides of his existing building, which is situated on 7.2 acres in an industrially-zoned district west of Route 306.

Thorncreek representative Matthew Wolf said existing parking spaces will be rearranged and new ones added, with most of the spaces being gravel but some being asphalt. 

Planning-zoning-building department officials said the city’s code requires 108 total spaces for the site, and 133 are proposed.

Thorncreek still must provide a wetlands delineation, basic utility plan, traffic study and landscape and lighting plans before the commission can approve the site plans.

RETAIL CENTER

Sam Cannata of ELM Investment Trust Ltd. has rekindled plans for a retail center on 9 acres across Route 306 from Barrington Town Square. A preliminary plan was approved in September 2016.

Cannata said he believes the market is ready for small retail businesses on the site, and he hopes to start site work this fall if the planning commission gives him the go-ahead.

Two of the buildings would be about 7,700 square feet, while the others would be 2,200 square feet, 4,500 square feet and 8,500 square feet. Parking spaces would be situated in the center of the five buildings.

Cannata said two wetlands setback variances already have been granted, and he is proposing 108 parking spaces and 38 land-banked spaces for a total of 146 potential spaces.

Cannata said EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approvals have been received. He said some interest has been expressed by businesses, but no signed deals are in place.

Cannata said he owns the parcel, and plans to erect the buildings in phases. 

Some planning panelists expressed concerns that if Cannata does not already have businesses signed up to occupy the space that the center could wind up sitting vacant and be a blight on the landscape.

However, city Development Director Jack Burge said, "He is doing what it takes to make it a viable site."

A handful of residential neighbors expressed concerns about water runoff, noise and light pollution. Cannata told them although some trees will be taken down along the back of the parcel, many others will remain as a buffer.

"My family owns adjacent land, and they already have water problems," said resident Deb Conti. "I hope the city does whatever it can to protect the neighbors."

BELJON  PROPERTY

The panel approved a final plat for Phases 2 and 3 of the Preserve at Beljon Farms on East Pioneer Trail, just west of Page Road, along with 18 wetlands setback and pond variances.

Brad Piroli of Pulte Homes said Phases 2 and 3 consist of 52 lots. Phase 1, which was previously approved, consists of 26 lots. The entire parcel is 70 acres.

A consent judgment from May 2007 allows for a residential conservation development with an R-3 residential density, resulting in the 78 total lots. Forty-six percent open space is proposed; the city’s zoning code requires 40 percent.

Piroli said a settlement agreement regarding an access road was executed between Pulte Homes and three nearby property owners, and that necessitated the need for the 16 wetlands setback variances and two pond variances.

Piroli said water from the site will discharge into a tributary of the Aurora branch of the Chagrin River, and the builder’s stormwater management plans have met or exceeded city regulations.

Piroli said the average sale price of the homes would be about $487,000. He said Pulte has obtained a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to impact wetlands.

The panel’s approval is subject to the builder following a handful of recommendations made by the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, including an appropriate planting and maintenance plan that accurately refects the pre-development native vegetation of the area.

City Council was to consider the final plat for Phases 2 and 3 at its Aug. 20 session.

In other matters, Planning-Zoning-Building Director Denise Januska told panelists the developer of the Forest Ridge subdivision on Route 82 on the west side of the city has agreed to install sidewalks from the front of the property to the Aurora Wetlands.

City officials and the developer initially discussed the possibility of the developer paying for some 2,000 feet of sidewalks to be installed in another part of town, but Januska said that idea was scuttled.

It was the last meeting for panelist John Kokinchak, who told his colleagues his family is moving to North Carolina.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com