CUYAHOGA FALLS — Despite concerns that were again raised by many residents, the city’s planning commission on Tuesday unanimously approved a conceptual plan for a proposed 148-unit townhome development that is eyed for a golf course property on Akron-Peninsula Road.

Developer Danny Karam and Sycamore Valley Development Co. LLC are planning a $35 million project in which Ryan Homes will build townhomes that are about 2,200 square feet. The project is eyed for the 28-acre Sycamore Valley Golf Course property, 1651 Akron-Peninsula Road. For the project to move forward, City Council would have to agree to rezone the land.

The conceptual plan approved by the commission "lays the framework for the final Mixed Density Overlay Master Plan," the agenda stated. "The Conceptual Plan allows the Planning Commission to provide feedback to the developer before moving forward in the development of the Final Master Plan."

About 30 people were in attendance at the meeting in the Natatorium. Many of those attendees shared concerns about flooding and additional traffic, and several felt this area near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was the wrong place for such a residential development. A few suggested building the development on Front Street to provide more potential customers for the new businesses opening downtown.

Commission members noted they were generally pleased with the revised plan submitted by the applicant, but added there could still be improvements.

"We have made progress," said commission chairman Dan Rice. "We’re not there yet."

When the commission approved the conceptual plan, they added three more stipulations:

• the final master plan would attempt to preserve trees that have a trunk caliper of 18 inches or more and are 4.5 feet above grade;

• the developer must assess potential traffic issues, including examining the proposed ingress and egress to determine whether a designated turn lane is needed; and

• the developer must assess whether the properties on the southernmost area of the parcel would be eligible to obtain flood insurance.

The southern part of the property is close to a floodplain.

City Council’s planning and zoning committee on March 18 will discuss proposed legislation to rezone the 28-acre golf course parcel from E-1 Employment District to R-3 Sub-Urban Density Residential. If the committee moves the legislation forward that night, council would vote on the rezoning on March 25. If the rezoning is approved, then both the commission and council would have to approve the final development master plan.

Planning Director Fred Guerra said there is "still a ways to go" before final approval.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.