Boston Heights Overlook
This is a publication of
Boston Heights Overlook.
Not an official public document by, of or for
the Village of Boston Heights OH.
Results of the 4 October 2006 7PM meeting of the
Boston Heights Zoning Code
Boston Heights Business & Location List
Board of Zoning Appeals
no hearings scheduled
Solicitor Russ Pry acted as legal counsel for the Planning Commission and BZA. Zoning Inspector David Himes and Engineer Steve Schreiber also attended.
PC #1: Boston Heights Development Company
Alnola Farms Allotment
Petition to vacate streets between Hines Hill Road and Boston Mills Road.
Boston Heights Development Company (charter #249446, agent: C.P. Chima) is the long-time owner of the land east of Route 8 to the Hudson line, bounded by Hines Hill Road, to the north, and Boston Mills Road, to the south. The property is now bisected by the Ohio Turnpike. Before the Village adopted its Zoning Ordinance in 1951, and in fact apparently before the Village itself was formed, this land was platted as a residential development: "Alnola Farms". Lot sizes in the allotment average a bit over 3/4 acres. There were a number of named streets in this allotment, none of which were ever actually constructed. The county maps previously showed these streets as vacated in 1953 -- but apparently this was not done correctly, and in fact the online maps currently show only one of these streets as previously vacated.
The company has petitioned the Village to vacate these streets, reportedly as a precursor to consolidating the property into a smaller number of parcels. This may be pursuant to sale of the property.
Part of the southern part of this property was rezoned in 2005 from OP Office-Professional to GB General Business, to allow a shopping center of the size permitted under that zoning district alongside with the remaining Office-Professional district. See this summary for further information on the extensive review process involved in this zoning change. This change was made in conjunction with a development agreement between the Village, Boston Heights Development Company, and Boston Crossing Ltd. (charter #1515465, agent: Patrick Finley), which claimed a purchase option agreement for the property. This development agreement was approved by Village Council at its May 2005 meeting, and the rezoning itself at the July 2005 meeting.
Despite this rezoning, however, the property has not actually changed owners to date. Reportedly, Developers Diversified Realty (charter #831795) is now seeking to build a larger-scale shopping center on the southern property, as it also proposed in 2000. DDR, which is associated with the Wolstein family, is a developer of large-scale, often "big-box" retail centers including Macedonia Commons. It is reported to be involved in the shopping center proposals adjoining the proposed soccer stadium just to the north of the Village.
The southern part of Alnola Farms is zoned GB General Business to the north and west, and OP Office-Professional to the south and east. It is bounded on the west by the BP Oil station and Route 8, and on the east by a large Office Park district in the City of Hudson. On the north, it is bounded by the Ohio Turnpike (I-80), and on the south by an existing residential neighborhood of similar acreage.
The northern part of Alnola Farms is zoned GB General Business. It is bounded on the west by the Liberty Harley-Davidson subdivision (next to the former hotel site, owned by Omni Turnpike LLC), and on the east by the Turnpike exit ramp loop and the Churchwell Co. property. On the north, it is bounded by E. Hines Hill Road and other GB properties, and on the south by the Ohio Turnpike (I-80).
Solicitor Russ Pry explained that this item was placed on the agenda at the request of the property owners' attorney. He added that all necessary paperwork, waivers and maps were provided to seek the vacation of these "paper streets". The Planning Commission's recommendation to Council is required to settle the matter. Dr. Mike Cheung asked about how this would affect the current platting of the property into residential-sized lots. Village Engineer Steve Schreiber explained that this was only a first step; the owners would next need to ask the County to vacate the plat. Mr. Pry added that a new plat would be required, presumably in conjunction with more detailed development plans. In response to a question from the Commission, Mr. Pry asserted that he had reviewed the request and found it to be correctly drawn. In response to a question from the audience, he also explained that portions of these roads had been vacated in 1953 and 1954 (presumably in conjunction with the building of the Turnpike). On a motion by Dr. Cheung, the PC recommended to Council that the streets be vacated as requested.
PC #2: American Pools & Fountains Ltd.
6337 Chittenden Road
Application for permit to erect sign per CO 1179, for a business in a Light Manufacturing District.
American Pools & Fountains Ltd. (charter #1373861) is a business at 6337 Chittenden Road. This property is parcel #1300349, 4.71 acres in the Light Manufacturing District, owned by MDF Development Group LLC. Although the County has this property listed for tax purposes as residential with a single-family home, it appears to be a commercial enterprise; in fact, the business' website advertises its "store" for walk-in business at this address, noting a "grand opening" in June 2005.
This company appears to be related to Color-Crete and Sunnywood Land Development, at the same address but with different state charters, phone and FAX numbers.
The company had applied to replace the existing free-standing Color-Crete sign with a new sign advertising this business' name and logo. After reviewing the matter with Mr. William Foster's at the August 2006 PC meeting, the Planning Commission deferred this matter until it receives a complete site plan for the business, which had apparently not yet been submitted or approved. This was likewise deferred at the September 2006 PC meeting.
No additional materials were received before the application deadline for this month's meeting. As no one showed up to address this application, upon a motion by Dr. Cheung, it was denied by the PC.Resolution:
PC #3: JKF Development / James H. Kurtz
6300 + 6256 Olde Eight Road
Application for approval of final plat for 11 lot subdivision in a Residential District.
James Kurtz is developing the 11-home "Brighton" subdivision on the property best known as the estate of the late Ben Matthews, along with an adjoining property. The property is near the south end of Olde Eight Road, west to the Bike & Hike Trail. The bulk of the property, at 6300 Olde Eight Rd., previously owned by Linda Matthews, comprises a 43.4A parcel (parcel #1300904) in the Hudson School District and a 1.7A parcel (parcel #1200061) in the Woodridge School District. The balance of the property, at 6256 Olde Eight Rd., is a 2.3A parcel (parcel #1300903) previously owned by Margaret Hodge and Samuel Marshall. (The Mrozik property, at 6304 Olde Eight Rd., is not included in this project). All this land is in the Residential District. Approval of the preliminary site plan was granted at the June 2006 Planning Commission meeting.
Last month, Mr. Kurtz and his engineer appeared before the Planning Commission in conjunction with his application seeking approval of the final plat for the Brighton subdivision. (Note: the final plan presented was slightly modified from the sketch shown here, which was based on the preliminary site plan. The final plan includes a public footpath from the cul de sac to the Bike & Hike Trail to the west.) Due to outstanding engineering and documentation issues, this matter was deferred until this month's meeting.
Mr. Kurtz appeared again before the Planning Commission. He noted that he had been working with the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District and the Village Engineer. Engineer Steve Schreiber reported that he now recommended approval of the subdivision improvements but also recommended tabling final plat approval until next month to allow the necessary bond to be posted. Solicitor Pry pointed out that the applicant must request a further delay, else the PC would be subject to a time limit to approve or deny the plat -- while the developer needed to come up with a $500K bond. Mr. Schreiber added that it is more typical to seek final plat approval when the improvments are near completion. Mr. Kurtz explained that he wanted to construct the subdivision's roadway before obtaining and posting the bond. He therefore agreed to request more time before a vote on final plat approval.
At the instigation of Dr. Cheung, PC Chairman John Codrea asked for statements from the public. Mr. Kurtz explained the location of the property (near the south end of Olde Eight Road, to the west). In response to a question from Ms. Mary Griffith of Olde Eight Road, he stated that the lot sizes in the subdivision would average 3.5A, ranging up to 7A.
On a motion by Dr. Cheung, the PC voted to approve the permanent improvement plan for Brighton subdivision. At the express request of Mr. Kurtz, and on a further motion by Dr. Cheung, the PC voted to defer consideration of final plat approval until next month's meeting.Resolution:
PC #4: Omni Turnpike LLC / Ernie Passeos
334 E. Hines Hill Road
Request to retain existing freestanding sign structure and banner sign on vacant land; response to warning by Zoning Inspector.
This property is the site of now-demolished high-rise hotel, variously known as the Hudson Inn, Days Inn, Brown Derby, and Yankee Clipper. Click here for a history of this hotel property. The property is owned by Omni Turnpike LLC (charter #1333582).
The hotel was closed in 1998, and after standing derelict for a number of years was found to be a public nuisance by the Village Nuisance Abatement Board on 19 April 2004. In lieu of abatement of this nuisance, the hotel was demolished in early 2005. However, the hotel's elevated free-standing sign has since remained on the vacant lot, as shown.
As the hotel and its restaurant business are long out of business, and the hotel was demolished in response to a nuisance abatement order, the Zoning Inspector has instructed the owners to remove this sign. The order is presumably based on Building Code CO 1385.09, empowering the Zoning Inspector to require removal of signs relating to closed businesses.
Last month, Ernie Passeos, representing Omni Turnpike LLC, appeared before the Planning Commission in answer to the letter received from the Zoning Inspector, as mentioned above. After an extensive discussion, the PC deferred the matter to allow clarification of the application, or re-direction to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
No additional materials were received before the application deadline for this month's meeting, and no one showed up to address the matter. Dr. Cheung asked for clarification of the position of the Planning Commission in this matter. Solicitor Pry explained that the issue arose due to a citation by the Zoning Inspector, and as no further action has occurred, the PC might consider denying the application and allowing the Village to enforce the Code. Dr. Cheung so moved, and the PC voted to deny the application (and, in the words of Dr. Cheung, "let the process proceed").
PC #5: Boston Hills Property Investment LLC / Sam Petros
Boston Hills Country Club, E. Hines Hill Rd & Ohio Route 8
Proposal for new zoning code section and re-zoning of a current Residential District, and for review of a conceptual site plan, to allow 60A of shopping center and 100 housing units as a new higher-density residential use in a Planned Unit Development.
At the PC's August 2006 meeting, Sam Petros of Petros Homes, and Boston Hills Property Investment LLC, previewed new development proposal for the Boston Hills Country Club. Mr. Petros also announced he had an agreement to buy the golf course, and would close it permanently in early October 2006.
Boston Hills Property Investment LLC (charter #1569813), a consortium of developers formed 16 Sep 2005, made an earlier series of development proposals for the golf course which were ultimately rejected by the Village; see the PC's March 2006 meeting, and Council's April 2006 meeting. The property in question is the Boston Hills Country Club, a 168 acre golf course at the heart of Boston Heights, at E. Hines Hill Road and State Route 8. The property is zoning RES Residential, which requires single-family homes on minimum 1.5 acre lots.
The application proposes splitting the 168 acres into a 60 acre commercial district to the east, along Route 8, and a 100+ acre residential district to the west, along Hines Hill and Olde Eight Roads. The plan may include several acres granted to the Village, midway along Hines Hill at a new intersection.
Two conceptual plans were submitted: one with 100 homes on lots averaging 1.0 acre, and no greenspace reservation; the
other has 100 homes on 0.39 acre lots (approx.) with a separate greenspace reservation. Neither plan is conformant
with the 1.5 acre requirement of current Residential zoning. The application includes a
proposed code for "Planned Development Area" zoning,
including new regulations and procedures which would allow
the residential developments shown here but also modify a number of other residential zoning requirements.
In addition, these PDA regulations would allow inclusion of commercial uses within (not just adjacent to) the PDA.
In addition to the "Conceptual Land Use" maps, the application also includes a proposed code for a new "Shopping Center" Zoning District, which is similar to the existing RB Retail Business district but has essentially open-ended permitted uses and virtually no limit on building floor area (square footage).
Last month, Sam Petros and Neil Brennan appeared before the Planning Commission to formally submit this application, as described above. After an extended discussion, including comments from the public, the PC deferred the matter until this month.
Mr. Petros and Mr. Brennan appeared once again to address this development proposal. Mr. Pry stated that there were no changes to the proposed development map that was passed around to the PC. Mr. Petros again explained that he was speaking for Boston Heights Property Investment LLC, which now owned the former golf course, now closed. He added that the company also now owned the southeast corner lot at Olde Eight and Hines Hill Roads, across from the golf course, and had had "discussions" with the owner of The Range driving range. He recapped his plan to build 100 houses on 100 acres, with about 30% green space, and retail on 60A. Mr. Petros also stated that he had been talking to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) -- apparently without results to his liking. He thought, however, that "everything would change" after the November election because of likely personnel changes under either new state administration. He appeared to be suggesting that the Route 8 upgrade project scheduled to start next year might not go ahead as planned, or perhaps at least not the southern part of the project scheduled to begin in 2009. He reiterated the company's request to rezone the golf course land as outlined in his proposal.
Looking at the development proposal map, Dr. Cheung recalled last month's discussion about the northern end of the would-be retail area -- specifically, that that area was probably unsuitable for commercial development due to wetlands and streams. Mr. Petros said that there were about 14A above a streamline there that might preclude actual development but expected to ask to retain the request for retail zoning in that area to maintain allowable development density. He added that the report on soils in the southern area was favorable for the kind of large-scale retail building he wanted there, with a relatively high bedrock layer that he thought would protect any underground acquifer.
However, Mr. Petros also added that he might instead change the residential to retail dividing line as plans are finalized. Dr. Cheung asked how this kind of "morphing" of the zoning districts would occur in the face of a specific re-zoning request. Mr. Petros said he wanted to work out such details in a work session with the PC before the next (November) meeting, within the next two weeks. Solicitor Pry noted that this is permissible, but it would still be a public meeting of the Planning Commission. Chairman Codrea stated that he had discussed the possibility of a work sesssion with the applicant's attorney, and had no objection -- but felt that it was not within the PC's purview to advise or negotiated. Rather, he stated, the PC should vote on the application as presented by the applicant and not conduct "horse trading". Solicitor Pry noted that the PC does have the authority to make modifications to a proposed zoning request.
Mike Bush asked for clarification of the legal process wherein the PC is asked to create entirely new zoning code language, rather than just rezone land to a different district. Mr. Pry explained that this application did indeed require modifications to the Zoning Code, which the Village Council must decide on within 90 days unless otherwise requested by the applicant, and with the recommendation of the Planning Commission. Then the PC must consider rezoning the land to other zoning districts. A further discussion on the merits of a separate work session followed, including commentary from Stephen Funk, also with BHPI LLC, on the rightful role of the Planning Commission. Eventually Mr. Petros stated that he was withdrawing his request for such an additional meeting.
Moving on to public commentary: Mary Griffith of Olde Eight Road expressed concern about impacts on drinking water wells and increase in pollution. She asked that the applicant respect the existing zoning districts (for this property: RESidential, 1.5A lots). Don Polyak, of W. Hines Hill Road, stated that he was interested in hearing more of a "dialogue" between the PC and the the developer. He also was concerned about storm water handling, especially with respect to the type and density of residential development. Mr. Petros stated that most drainage from the property would tend toward Route 8, and then to the east (to Brandywine Creek) -- little to the west toward Wooded View Estates. However, he expected to build a series of detention ponds nearer the center of the property to collect and regulate this drainage. He added that the total amount of runoff must stay the same after development. Further discussion of the topography and drainage issues followed, ranging beyond the former golf course to include the southeast corner of Olde Eight and Hines Hill Roads.
Jane Robinson, of Olde Eight Road, asked whether the entire parcel could be developed with 100 homes as currently zoned. Mr. Petros said: yes, as zoned, but did not find this to be economically feasible.
PC Chairman John Codrea asked Solicitor Pry whether he had had a chance to review the proposed new zoning code language. Mr. Pry said he had looked at it only to a limited degree. Dr. Cheung noted that this language was crafted with this development proposal in mind, but that the PC must consider the Village as a whole. He thought the PC should consider whether modifications of existing zoning language might serve instead. From the audience, Ernest Tirpak asked whether the proposed retail area was really suitable for housing at all. Mr. Petros said the soils in that eastern area of the property were very suitable for building of commercial structures, as he planned. Mr. Tirpak noted the proximity of Route 8 and the planned new exit ramp to Hines Hill Road, suggesting that these made the area unsuitable for housing. He stated the the Village needed to "make choices". Another resident asked how the proposed higher-density residential zoning would apply elsewhere in the Village. Mr. Brennan pointed out that this was the reason for the 150A requirement in the proposed PDA language -- to keep their residential language from being applied elsewhere in the Village. He added that the PDA allows the developer to modify the boundary between retail and residential development (with an approved development plan). A further discussion followed on the relative wetness of the existing commercially-zoned lands east of Route 8, and the possible impact of a soccer stadium to the north of the Village. Mr. Petros assured the PC that he would sensibly buffer his new housing from his new retail areas.
From the audience, William Hinkle of Boston Mills Road pointed out that about 56 lots had been platted in the Village with the existing 1.5A residential lot size requirement -- not too far from the 60 or so that would be permitted on the applicant's 100A under existing zoning. This, he felt, demonstrated that there was no pressing reason to throw out the 1.5A requirement -- but that it might be in the Village's interest to create a well-formed Conservation Development Zoning overlay plan that would reward a developer with a slight increase in density, in return for preserving substantial greenspace. However, the 50+% bonus envisioned by the current development plan was unreasonably large compared to common CDZ plans, and not in the Village's interest. Mr. Petros replied that Conservation Development Zoning was being seen in various communities lately, and might make sense.
Zoning Inspector David Himes asked whether all of the Planning Commission was really familiar with the content of the proposal. Dr. Cheung noted that the proposed Shopping Center zoning allowed what was in his view "no holds barred" retail development. Mike Bush stated that he was not comfortable with his current level of familiarity with the language of the proposal. Chairman Codrea pointed out the time limit for action on the application, and suggested that the question be called. Dr. Cheung countered with a suggestion that the PC consider amending the proposal, and table it for now. After some further discussion, it was decided to hold a further PC work session at 6:30PM on Wednesday, 11 October 2006, and a special Planning Commision meeting at 7:30PM on Wednesday, 18 October 2006 -- both meetings to consider only this issue. Mr. Petros formally asked the Village to allow further time to consider his application. The PC therefore voted to defer the application until the next regular meeting, with further consideration at the special meetings before that.Resolution:
PC Old Business
Consideration of long-term Village planning issues per Council Res. 31-2004.
With Resolution 31-2004, Village Council asked the Planning Commission to enter into discussions with adjacent communities and to consider planning and zoning coordination, including the possibility of residential growth limitation. Previously, PC member and Council representative Dr. H. Michael Cheung announced that he is compiling a narrative that would reflect the history and intent of the Village's land use and zoning plan.
Consideration of further changes to Zoning and Building Codes
In July 2006, Dr. Cheung recommended that the Planning Commission undertake another review of the Village's comprehensive zoning plan, and asked PC members to consider what issues are worth discussing and amending. Some of the issues Dr. Cheung mentioned were the upcoming Route 8 upgrade project, and the proposed soccer stadium complex in Northfield Center Township. This matter was not discussed this month.
A final draft of the new Zoning Certificate Application was circulated and approved by the Planning Commission.Resolution:
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