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Rezoning considered along Bainbridge Road
Rezoning considered along Bainbridge Road
By SUE REID
Potential rezoning of residential land on Bainbridge Road near Kruse Drive and the expansion of the industrial district in the area of Solon and Richmond (Route 175) roads for the gradual development of office uses was included as part of recommendations in two final installments of the City of Solon's master plan.
City Planning Director Robert S. Frankland said as part of his presentation on the industrial core plan to City Council during a special work session Monday that the recommended zoning changes on Bainbridge Road only would occur at the request of the property owners there. In that area, the homes are in very good condition, he said.
"The zone change would only occur at the direct request of the property owner or if, over time, the city noticed the homes deteriorating, it might impose a zone change at that time," he said.
"This is a very sensitive issue, because these are people's homes. But as a planner, I am looking at the fact that the land is surrounded by high-intensity uses," Mr. Frankland said.
The plan recommends a gradual transition of the properties which are in the area immediately west of Kruse Drive to nonresidential and more low-intensity service-type uses, such as offices, banks and travel agencies. In the area, there are single- and two-family homes. It is an enclave of about 50 acres west of Mustard Seed Market and Cafe in the Uptown Solon shopping center.
Councilman Edward H. Kraus said people in that area may know of that possibility already. "I agree that the houses are well maintained, but a lot of people are wondering what the future use is for the city." He said it may be worthwhile to have a meeting with the residents to discuss this and get their input.
"The residents might be interested in making the change themselves," Mr. Frankland said.
Mayor Susan A. Drucker said the city is not bound by the master plan. "It just gives us guidance from a planner's perspective," she said.
"This is a vision," Mrs. Drucker said. "I don't want people to compare the master plan to the charter, where you are bound by what is in it. If something is in the charter, it's there for good until it's voted on by the people to change it. If it's in the master plan it's more of a suggestion and vision. it's important to have something in place so the city has an idea where it's trying to go."
In addition to the Bainbridge Road area, the plan called for the extension of I-2 zoning, or industrial manufacturing, to the current low-density residential zoning area along Solon Road in the vicinity of Richmond Road. The plan proposes to potentially rezone the area to I-2 industrial zoning to allow for an expansion of vacant industrial land to accommodate more businesses in the city. That would allow for 145 more acres of industrial land, Mr. Frankland said.
He said the city is missing out on opportunities to bring in industrial development because it has no vacant land.
"This is not an area without challenges," Mr. Frankland said of its uneven topography. The land would also abut residential land in Solon and Bedford Heights, so any development would require a buffer, he said. The advantages of rezoning the area would include the fact that it is a lightly developed area, with not that many homes, he said. In addition, the lots are large in size so it would be easy to assemble them, and the area is close proximity to the existing industrial area.
If any zoning change is implemented in this area, it would only be done so with the agreement of all affected property owners and in association with an actual development project, Mr. Frankland said. Any zoning change also would require a vote of the people.
Mr. Frankland said it's one of the last large properties in the city. "If it is developed residential, I don't think the schools would look favorably upon it," he said.
Councilman William D. Mooney said he is concerned with the timing of the process. Would potential developers with a plan want to hang around and wait for all of the approvals and for a vote of the people?
"Our process is what it is," Mr. Frankland said. "It has to go up for a vote. As it is now, it's a short process. Developers ask if there is vacant industrial land and we say no and they go."
However, Mr. Frankland said that Mr. Mooney has a good point that people usually don't like to have to wait if they have a plan. Not only could there be a delay with the zoning, but there is also the uncertainly that voters would approve the zoning.
Councilman Richard A. Bell said that if this was project initiated, it would have to be a very large project. "Is this practical?" Mr. Bell asked.
Mr. Frankland said it is better to have it initiated by a development company because other things need to occur before a plan is complete, including the extension of sanitary sewers.
"If a developer is going to be investing money to have all the infrastructure in place, it's better to have a concrete plan in place because the developer would be picking up the cost of those improvements.
"If it's associated with a project, it's something the city wants," Mr. Frankland said.
"If the city is going to be investing limited resources in this type of project, it needs to be something very beneficial to the city," he said.
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