Warehouse use sought for Twinsburg Twp. property

Ken Lahmers
This conceptual plan shows that a 400,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution center could be built on about 40 acres in Twinsburg Township, south of Route 82 and east of Hadden Road.

TWINSBURG TWP. – The zoning board is seeking a recommendation from the Summit County Planning Commission regarding proposed zoning resolution text amendments, which would allow a warehouse/distribution center to be constructed on the east side of Hadden Road just south of Route 82.

Dr. Bahman Guyuron, who owns 93 acres between Hadden Road and I-480 and Route 82 and the Twinsburg Heights neighborhood, has proposed text amendments that would allow warehousing/distribution facilities to be added to the permitted uses in the Interchange Mixed Use district.

Another of the requested text amendments would allow buildings in the IMU district to be 65 feet high instead of the current 35 feet.

The zoning board sent the issue to Summit County for review after hearing plans from Guyuron and his associates during meetings on Aug. 11 and Sept. 17. Once the planning panel reviews the proposal and makes its recommendation, the township would schedule a public hearing.

About 14 years ago, Guyuron and the Glimcher Co. of Columbus proposed building a “fashion place” shopping center on the property, of which about 40 acres lies in the township and the remainder in the city of Twinsburg. The $100 million project was abandoned when the 2008 recession hit.

To accommodate those plans, the township rezoned the property from R-3 residential and commercial to Interchange Mixed Use, which allows retail, office and technology businesses. Thereafter, several homes at the site were demolished.

Attorney Majeed Makhlouf said the market for retail, office and technology space has dwindled, making the property less attractive, so his client – Guyuron – is hoping warehousing/distribution will be added as an alternative use. “Nobody is building malls and shopping centers anymore,” he said.

Guyuron, who is a prominent Cleveland area plastic surgeon, explained he would not be the developer if the proposed project goes forward, but he would sell the land to someone who would pursue development.

“We want to be a good neighbor, and we’re making every effort to have this property developed successfully,” said Guyuron, while Makhlouf added a warehouse/distribution center would not bring nearly as much traffic and noise to the area as a shopping center would.

Although no site plan has been submitted – that action would not come until the township approves the text amendments – Guyuron’s conceptual plan calls for a 400,000-square-foot warehouse/distribution center. Truck traffic would access the property from Hadden Road, with truckers encouraged to come and go via Route 82.

“I find the proposal intriguing,” said zoning board member Daniel Richner. “We’ve been dealing with this property for a long time. Development there is difficult, but I think this is something the township should consider. Since the location has a huge visible impact on the community, the architecture should be a major issue.”

Board member Everett Waite said he believes the location would be good for the proposed use since it is close to interstate highways and “warehousing is a big thing right now.” He said the proposed use would be cleaner and quieter than some, and would provide flexibility to bring in other businesses if the initial operation fails.

At the board’s Sept. 17 session, Township Administrator Rob Kagler read several letters of opposition from Heights residents, and a few more residents voiced concerns via phone. Issues cited were noise and light pollution, decreased property values, truck traffic through the neighborhood, safety of children and speeding on Hadden Road.

“As a resident of the Heights, I’m opposed to this,” said board member Keith Harris. “I haven’t spoken to anyone in the neighborhood who favors it.”

“I believe this project would be devastating to the Heights community,” said resident Carol T. Hill, while another resident added, “I think this would take away the Heights residents’ rights to live in and enjoy a residential atmosphere.”

Some of the residents said they believe the project targets the Heights neighborhood because of its socio-economic status and racial makeup, and that the neighborhood is the subject of “environmental injustice.”

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