TWINSBURG – For the third time in the last five years, Heritage Development Co. is seeking to have a 12.3-acre parcel on the southwest corner of Route 82 and Chamberlin Road rezoned from C-2 commercial to R-5 residential.

Whether voters have an opportunity to decide the issue now rests with City Council, which must favor placing it on a future ballot.

The planning commission discussed the rezoning request May 4, and sent a recommendation to Council not to proceed with a rezoning vote. Panelist Steve Shebeck was the only member who voted to send a positive recommendation to Council, while Marc Cohen, Peter Metropolus, David Kleinman and Joe Zeitz voted "no."

Heritage rep Rob Benjamin explained the company has owned the parcel for more than 40 years. It was zoned I-1 industrial when the firm bought it, but voters OK’d rezoning to C-2 in 2005.

Because it has been difficult to find a business that is interested in the property, Benjamin said Heritage sought R-5 single-family cluster housing zoning in 2015, but soon after withdrew the request. In 2018, R-5 zoning was sought again, but Council voted unanimously not to send the issue to the ballot.

"There has been little interest shown for either industrial or commercial development," said Benjamin. "We developed Whispering Woods on the northwest corner of the intersection after getting that parcel rezoned, and it has been very successful. We believe the public would show the same interest in the southwest corner."

"Commercial development appears to be a tough sell for the property," said Shebeck. "Heritage has a nice plan, and I favor letting the voters decide whether to rezone it."

But the other four planning panelists cited the fact that the city’s comprehensive plan favors industrial or commercial development there, and building homes would not fit in with the industrial development to the east and south.

"I was supportive of sending the issue to voters the last time, but now I have more concerns about how those homes would fit into the surrounding industrial area," noted Cohen. "The increased semi and trash truck traffic around the parcel could be a major concern for prospective home buyers."

"I can’t see R-5 housing there," added Metropolus. "And I’d like to wait to decide on rezoning until our comprehensive plan is updated." The current comprehensive plan was adopted in 2014.

"A subdivision would be the only residential area on Chamberlin south of Route 82," said Kleinman. "Putting housing there seems like it would disconnect the parcel from what is along that stretch."

In 2018 when the previous rezoning request was rejected, City Councilman Bill Furey said since Cornerstone Business Park is right across Chamberlin Road, residential zoning "just doesn’t fit in with the city’s comprehensive plan."

And then-Councilman Brian Steele added, "I feel the parcel should remain in the commercial zoning district. I have concerns about access out of the proposed subdivision and its proximity to the U.S. Army Reserve Center property. I just think it’s not the right thing to go there."

Heritage’s conceptual plan calls for 35 homes to be built along a cul de sac street with access onto Chamberlin Road. Plans are to call the subdivision Chamberlin Crossing. Cohen noted a variance would be needed because the number of homes exceeds what the zoning code allows on a cul de sac street.

Benjamin said Ryan Homes, which has built the homes in Whispering Woods, "is gung-ho" about building on the 12.3 acres. "Whispering Woods has proved to be very successful, and we believe there’s a good market for homes across the street," he said.

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