Final plats OK’d for two Aurora subdivisions


AURORA – Final plats for Hawthorn of Aurora’s Phase 6, plus Phase 1 of Pulte Homes’ western section of Renaissance Park at Geauga Lake, have received approval from the city’s planning commission.

The panel also OK’d Hawthorn’s revised development plan, and sent it and the two final plats to City Council with a recommendation for final approval.

At its June 3 meeting, the planning panel OK’d the Phase 6 final plat, which consists of 55 acres (17 of open space) and 52 lots in the northwest corner of the 918-acre development. A street called Nancy Drive will intersect with Aurora Lake Road, and Joseph Drive will be extended.

Panelists also approved seven riparian and wetlands setback variances associated with Phase 6 despite several concerns raised by nearby residents in recent weeks about drainage and water flow into Aurora Lake.

The variances are conditioned upon several recommendations made by the Chagrin River and Tinker’s Creek Watershed Partners. Panelists Sarah Gilmore and Laura Duguay voted “no” on two of the variances, but “yes” votes were unanimous on the others.

City Engineer Justin Czekaj said plans for Phase 6 are in compliance with EPA standards, and the proposed homes will not encroach into the wetlands. Developer Mark Constantino echoed that sentiment.

“We can only control what occurs on our property,” said Constantino. “There are circumstances on adjacent property which are beyond our control, and we can only try to manage situations which come our way. We’re doing what we can under the rules that are in place.”

Hawthorn engineer Ken Hejduk explained the variances mainly were needed because of the close proximity of new detention basins to the wetlands.

“We toured the area to try to understand the concerns of nearby residents,” said Duguay. “A lot of effort went into this study.”

One concern raised by Duguay and Gilmore is a slight slope on Aurora Lake Road which could make visibility difficult for drivers pulling out from Nancy Drive. The panel favored a condition which would require signs to be placed on Aurora Lake Road warning drivers of the intersection ahead.

Meanwhile, Phase 1 of Renaissance Park west consists of 36 single-family homes and 50 townhouses located north of Liberty Ford and east of Squires Road. The entire parcel west of the railroad tracks is 147.5 acres, with 80.5 acres to be developed and 67 acres of green space. A total of 183 units are planned.

Pulte Homes representative Jim O’Connor said site work on Phase 1 is scheduled to begin this summer. He said homes will range from 2,400 to 2,900-square feet, with a price tag starting at $400,000.

Including acreage to the east of the railroad tracks, Pulte will own about 245 acres north of Treat Road, and plans to build 308 total units.

In other action, planners OK’d a lot split for Peter French, who plans to build a home on 20 acres on the south side of East Mennonite Road, east of the Sunny Lake ballfields and across the street from the Moebius Nature Center. His parcel is part of 375 acres owned by Aurora Project LLC.

The panel also recommended to Council an update to the city’s stormwater conveyance criteria. According to Czekaj, regulations now require stormwater plans for residential areas to be designed for five-year storm events and commercial areas for 10 years.

Approval of Czekaj’s proposal would increase the residential stipulation to 10 years.

“We’ve been witnessing increased intense rainfalls,” he said. “This change would increase stormwater management for new subdivisions. Several other nearby communities have done this.”

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