Route 82-Chamberlain rezoning goes back to Twinsburg planners

KEN LAHMERS
Correspondent

TWINSBURG – Rezoning of 12.3 acres on the southwest corner of Route 82 and Chamberlain Road continues to be an issue for the city’s planning commission and Council.

At a July 28 special meeting, Council considered a request to overturn the planning panel’s recommendation not to go ahead with the rezoning, but took no action on that request and referred changes to a housing development proposal back to planners.

For some time, Heritage Development Co. has sought to have the acreage rezoned from C-2 commercial to R-5 residential, which would allow single-family cluster housing. Heritage spokesman Rob Benjamin has said no businesses are interested in moving to the parcel.

On May 4, the planning panel sent a recommendation to Council not to proceed with the rezoning. Panelist Steve Shebeck was the only member who voted to send a positive recommendation to Council.

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. Heritage sought R-5 zoning in 2015, but soon after withdrew the request. In 2018, R-5 zoning was sought again, but Council voted not to send the issue to the ballot.

“We developed Whispering Woods on the northwest corner of the intersection after getting that parcel rezoned, and it has been very successful,” said Benjamin. “All lots there have been sold. We believe the public would show the same interest in the southwest corner.”

The four planning panelists who did not favor rezoning cited that the city’s comprehensive plan favors industrial or commercial development, and building homes would not fit in with the industrial development to the east and south. They also questioned whether potential buyers would want to live in an area where there is heavy truck traffic.

Benjamin said changes to Heritage’s housing plan call for a reduction of one home – from 35 to 34 – and the addition of a second cul de sac. Twenty-seven homes would be built on one cul de sac and seven on the other. Access would be off Chamberlain Road.

Benjamin said previously that 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.

Council discussed a motion to send the rezoning issue to a future ballot, but Councilman Sam Scaffide suggested the matter be returned to the planning panel for further discussion, and his colleagues agreed.

In other action at the July 28 special session, Council approved an agreement for the use of $85,000 of CARES Act funds to add automated touchless fixtures to city restrooms as a preventive measure in the fight against the spread of coronavirus. The amount falls within state bid pricing.

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