STOW — Two Stow City Council members said they want to change the zoning classification for Fox Den Golf Course to prevent a housing development from being built on the property in the future.
Council members Sindi Harrison (Ward 2) and Mike Rasor (at large) said they favor rezoning the Fox Den land from a residential classification to a conservation designation and also want to “tighten up” the permitted uses for conservation zoning.
Rasor noted the city’s current conservation zoning guidelines still allow residential development “to some extent.” He said he would like to remove language that would allow residential projects in the conservation district.
“The goal would be to have a conservation district that’s truly conservation,” said Rasor. “And then have Fox Den be a part of that.”
Rasor said both he and Harrison have, in the last several months, noticed that the Fox Den property has a residential zoning designation and felt that such a classification was “inappropriate.”
Harrison said many area golf courses have closed in the last few years, and while she hopes that Fox Den “keeps thriving,” she said the rezoning proposal is designed to prevent the area from being developed in case the golf course is no longer there.
While Rasor noted the course is “doing pretty well operationally,” and the debt will be paid off in 2032, he said he would like to see the zoning change to preserve the space for successive generations.
Noting that residents living near the golf course have experienced flooding issues, Harrison said, “I think adding more development would bring concerns for [flooding], and I think it would drop people’s property values that already live around it.”
She added she felt the potential move is “a positive step” toward protecting the residents’ property values.
Rasor said he believed the city needed to “preserve that green space for the benefit of the nearby neighborhoods.”
Harrison also believes the rezoning proposal is in line with the feedback the city received when the comprehensive plan was reviewed in 2017.
“Most of [the residents we heard from] don’t want to see more housing development,” said Harrison. “They want to see more green space maintained.”
Harrison and Rasor want Council to request that the planning commission review the issue and recommend the rezoning, as well as recommend ways of limiting the allowable land uses in the conservation zoning district. Council’s Planning Commission will discuss this issue during its meeting on Thursday.
Rasor explained that city regulations stipulate that any change to the planning and zoning code has to “originate with the planning commission.”
Council’s committee meetings will begin at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday with a Finance Committee session in City Hall. The Planning Committee meeting will take place after that.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.