TWINSBURG — A residential rental complex for adults age 55 and older is being proposed for a 10.9-acre parcel on the west side of Darrow Road, just south of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway tracks, but the plan as presented would require numerous variances to city codes.

The city’s planning commission has discussed the proposal at a couple of recent meetings, the last one being June 3. The site is east and north of Bel Mawr. The developer, Darrow Road Development LLC, plans to call the complex Wilcox Meadows.

Two types of apartments have been proposed, and Richard Sommers of Darrow Road Development said he plans to schedule a meeting with surrounding residents to get feedback on what type they would like to see there.

The developer originally proposed erecting three-story buildings with about 134 apartment units, but then came back to the planning panel with a plan to erect two-bedroom, cluster-style ranch buildings with either four or six units each for a total of 71 units.

The parcel is in an R-7 senior residence district, which City Planner Lynn Muter said allows for a higher density of apartment units than a standard apartment district. She said the intent of the zoning code is for larger, three-story buildings in that district.

Sommers explained the ranch-style apartment plan would allow Twinsburg residents living in a single-family home to remain in a single-family unit with their own entrance and attached garage, but without maintenance worries.

The ranch-style units would be either 1,294 square feet or 1,326 square feet. The complex would have a cluster mailbox location, with five parking spaces provided adjacent to a stormwater basin. The project also is subject to architectural review board approval.

One concern of planning panelists is that the 71-unit single-story plan would require upwards of 15 variances. Panelist Kevin Sterling said he believes that is too many, and would like to see a plan that would conform more to the code and does not require so many exceptions.

Sommers said his team has tried as much as possible to minimize variances, including setbacks from the railroad and a gas line. Other setbacks are to protect the surrounding residents. The board of zoning appeals must decide on what variances to allow.

Architect Bobby Johnston said the developer plans to connect the site with surrounding neighborhoods via a sidewalk and trails, and has proposed fencing and landscaping as a buffer around the site. He said about 3.27 acres would not be distributed, and the developer will try to keep as many trees as possible.

Planning panelists seemed to favor the ranch-style apartments because they are more what the market demands, but they admitted making the plan fit within the code is a challenge. Panelists favored the idea of discussing the plans with surrounding residents.

Sommers said he plans to notify surrounding residents and schedule an informational meeting before going to the board of zoning appeals for decisions on the variances. Once the BZA acts, the proposal will come back to the planning commission.


Also at its June 3 meeting, the planning panel approved a lot split for a property at 9802 Chamberlin Road, which was requested by Joseph Burgoon of Lewis Land Professionals Inc. 

Burgoon plans to remove existing structures and create four buildable lots out of the 4.6-acre parcel. Muter said the four lots are 90 feet wide and comply with the city’s 17,000-square-foot lot minimum for that zoning district. The southernmost lot is nearest to I-480.

Burgoon said the water main must be extended about 250 feet to reach the proposed homes, and EPA approval is awaited for that. An easement will be needed for connection of the sanitary sewer line across one of the lots.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or