HUDSON — The Downtown Phase II project is undergoing some modifications.
City Council on Tuesday night reached a consensus to submit a scaled back Downtown Phase II plan to Planning Commission for its review and approval, according to Jody Roberts, the city’s communications manager.
Based on input from the community at many public work sessions, comment opportunities, discussions and direction from council, developer Joel Testa of Testa Companies presented two revised plans to city legislators this past week. The only difference between the proposals was in the types of residential units that would be built in Block C, which is just north of Owen Brown Street. After a lengthy discussion, council selected the option calling for construction of 20 condominiums on the second and third floors of a building that would have commercial office space on the first floor. The proposal will now be submitted to the planning commission for its review, according to Roberts.
The key elements of the revised plan include:
• 101 housing units, which is a 29 percent reduction from the previous plan;
• more single-family, detached houses, with most units accommodating first-floor master bedrooms. Robert said this helps respond to the demand from empty nesters for this style of housing;
• retail services north of Owen Brown Street have been removed. Addressing concerns expressed by residents, Block C (north of Owen Brown) has been revised from first-floor retail services to first-floor office space to provide uses that Roberts said are quieter on evenings and weekends and make it more compatible with the adjacent commercial site to the west. She added that maintaining some commercial space in Block C spreads out the office use and reduces the need for a parking deck.
• the office/commercial density was decreased by 18 percent. The square footage of office/commercial space has been reduced from 138,000 square feet to 114,000 square feet. Commercial uses will be limited to a single building and are intended to support businesses in the development, rather than destination retail that would compete with the existing downtown, according to Roberts.
• office building height has been reduced. Block A (south of Owen Brown) has been reduced to a two-story building, rather than the original three-story structure which reduces traffic impact and eliminates the need for a parking structure. While Block C still has three stories, it will have lower floor heights than the adjacent office buildings.
• the parking structure has been removed. Lowering the commercial building height and reducing the square footage has eliminated the need for a parking structure. Surface parking will be tucked in between the office buildings.
• reducing the office density lowers the number of vehicle trips and spreads the traffic out over a broad timeframe, lessening traffic impacts, said Roberts. Making the railroad underpass a single, alternating lane with a pedestrian lane increases pedestrian use and safety. Citywide signal timing adjustments, along with adding adaptive traffic signals can help reduce existing and future traffic impacts between 15 and 30 percent.
• more greenspace and passive walking areas in community areas. The revised plan will include a widened greenspace on Owen Brown Street and a passive walking area at the northwest corner. This is in addition to the small passive park planned on the northeast corner of Owen Brown and Morse Road. The downtown section of Veterans Trail is proposed for the east side of Morse Road that will connect the downtown to the regional train network, creating a linear greenway along Brandywine Creek.
"This is still a work in progress, as there may be additional adjustments to the plan as the review stage occurs and additional public feedback is sought," said Roberts.
After the Planning Commission review, the proposal will be sent back to council. Architectural renderings will be finalized that will go through the Architectural and Historic Board of Review.
Throughout the process, there will be opportunities for more public comment and input. For more information about Downtown Phase II, visit https://www.hudson.oh.us/DowntownPhase2.
An advisory vote on an earlier version of the downtown project on May 7 was defeated by a tally of 2,578 to 2,395, according to official certified results from the Summit County Board of Elections. After the election, council hosted three dialogue sessions to collect ideas from residents. Testa’s new proposal was created based on the feedback that was collected.