TWINSBURG — For the third time in the last 13 years, city voters will get the opportunity in November to decide whether 20 acres of city-owned property on the northeast corner of Route 91 and Glenwood Drive will be rezoned.
City Council approved two ordinances calling for the rezoning of the overall parcel, and resolutions sending two issues to the Summit County Board of Elections for placement on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
Of the total property, 14.01 acres is now zoned public facilities, 5.19 is zoned planned unit development and 0.8-acre is zoned C-1 commercial. If a majority of voters say "yes" to the ballot issues, all of the land would be rezoned to R-5 single-family cluster district.
The city purchased the property in 1995. Voters rejected rezoning to R-5 in 2016 and to PUD in 2006.
If the acreage is rezoned, the city hopes to sell the land to a developer willing to build cluster-type housing. The R-5 district would allow 3.5 units per acre, or up to 69 homes, to be built there.
All six Council reps present at the meeting — Maureen Stauffer was absent — favored the two ordinances and two resolutions. Some of them said they would support the rezoning only if the money received from the sale of the land goes toward paying down the Gleneagles clubhouse debt.
Council President Brian Steele said he would like to see "something in writing" that assures the money would go for that purpose.
Law Director David Maistros responded if the rezoning issues pass, legislation could be drawn up when the property is sold to assure the funds go for that purpose.
"I realize this is a contentious issue, but I think the cluster homes are a good fit for the land," said Councilman Scott Barr. "More importantly, I think the bigger issue is allowing residents to decide whether they want that type of housing there.
"Some residents believe the land should be preserved as parkland, but the city already has a lot of parkland. In fact, among Summit County governmental entities we’re second to the county in the amount of parkland."
Mayor Ted Yates pointed out many people have told him the city doesn’t have enough cluster housing, and that many of them — such as empty-nesters — are looking to "downsize."
Councilman Bill Furey added the small parcel of commercially-zoned land next to the Route 91-Glenwood roundabout is not big enough to accommodate a business, so commercial zoning there is basically useless.
However, a number of residents who spoke at a public hearing prior to Council’s caucus and regular meetings were opposed to the rezoning. They cited concerns such as water runoff, increased traffic and more speeding vehicles.
"The city spent a lot of money fighting cluster homes at Corbett’s Farm, and bought this 20 acres to control growth," said resident Michael Turle. "Now it seems that Council has flip-flopped on the issue of cluster homes. A park might be the best use for this land."
"The residents said ‘no’ to rezoning these parcels twice in the past, but Council just won’t listen," said resident Karen Clinton. Resident Loren Sengstock said he believes zoning to commercial might be a better way for the city to generate revenue.
But resident Kevin Smith said he welcomes cluster housing, noting he and many older folks he’s talked to are interested in "downsizing" their homes, and "this would accommodate their needs."
Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400, ext. 4189 or email@example.com.