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Chabad to pool lots, plans swimming pool
Chabad to pool lots, plans swimming pool
By SUE REID
A request from the Chabad Jewish Center of Solon for zoning variances associated with a swimming pool for summer camp was tabled last week the by Solon planning commission.
Commission member William M. Mazur said he wants to give the request more "public airing, because it is a significant change for a residential area."
Variances are based on a request from the Chabad to convert office space and changing rooms on the Cannon Road property to a 25-by-45-foot swimming pool that would be constructed in the rear yard of the property.
The variances are for a side-yard setback from the rabbi's adjacent property of 30 feet and a front-yard setback of 3 feet. The variances for the pool are rather minor, Solon Planning Director Robert S. Frankland said.
City clerk Carol McConoughey had sent out two notices to affected residents regarding the pool and a lot-consolidation request from the Chabad, noting that there would be variances, which had yet to be identified.
The swimming pool, which would be surrounded by a 5-foot-high decorative aluminum fence, is intended to be used during June, July and August for summer camp involving 25 to 30 children, according to Justin Kapela, of Form-A Architects, of Hudson.
Mr. Mazur noted that Cannon Road resident Jamie Moone concerns over the pool in a letter to the city.
She expressed concerns that the pool would be used in the late evening and that it would cause increased traffic and noise, as well as possible dangers, if used without proper supervision. "We are concerned that the building and pool would turn into a meeting-recreation place used by many people," Ms. Moone said.
Mr. Kapela and Miriam Greenberg, of the Chabad, told the commission that the pool would not be used during the evening hours. It is intended to be used only by the children at the camp and for a limited time while the camp is in operation, Mr. Kapela said. He said it would be similar in size to a regular residential pool and would not have slides or fountains.
The idea is to keep a residential feel in the neighborhood, Ms. Greenberg said.
In regard to traffic, Mr. Kapela said the children are dropped off for the camp at the designated parking lot for the Chabad, which is on Harper Road, and they would be walked back to the pool.
Mr. Mazur asked if the Chabad had considered relocating the pool closer to the parking lot and away from the residential neighborhood.
Mr. Kapela said it impacts the site less by being closer to the rabbi's house and where the kids already play.
Some of the soccer area is to be used for the pool's construction, Ms. Greenberg said.
Mayor Susan A. Drucker, a member of the planning commission, said she is comfortable with the pool, because it is surrounded by other properties owned by the Chabad.
Ms. Greenberg said nothing is changing in terms of the Chabad's camp, the property or where the kids play.
The Chabad is proposing to put even more shrubbery in the area, she said. "It's all shielded from the street completely." Landscape also will be installed in front of the house, and the Chabad will install a fence parallel to Cannon Road to block the view of the rear of the yard.
Commission members Roger C. Newberry and Councilwoman Toni M. Richmond said the applicants alleviated whatever concerns they had regarding the pool and whether surrounding residents had been notified.
Mrs. Drucker voted against tabling the issue so as not to impede the construction process, she said. "I'm reluctant to hold it beyond the next planning meeting."
Plans are to construct the pool this winter, pending city approvals, Mr. Kapela said. The intent is to have it open for the summer camp of 2012.
"The residents have been notified, and I personally don't see a need to not go forward," Ms. Richmond said.
Commission member Eugene Macke Bentley commended the applicant on the project. "It's very exciting," he said.
A motion to table was approved by a vote of 3-2, with Mr. Mazur, Mr. Newberry and Mr. Bentley voting in favor and Mrs. Drucker and Ms. Richmond voting no.
Mr. Mazur asked that the clerk send another letter detailing the variances requested.
The commission saw no issue with the lot consolidation, and that request was approved. The applicant plans to consolidate five of the six contiguous properties that are under the Chabad's ownership. One lot containing the residence used by the rabbi would remain separate.
The Chabad is located on various parcels on Cannon and Harper roads. Based on the lot consolidation, it will be a Harper Road property with the address of the Chabad as a principal structure, Mr. Frankland explained.
On a separate property is a Mikvah, which is a ceremonial bath house, and was the former residence directly east of the proposed pool. It received city approval and was constructed in 2009.
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