Se­nior hous­ing plan for Newell Creek de­nied

More de­tail revealed about sep­a­rate pro­ject for Route 20

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Local News - By Betsy Scott bscott@news-her­ald.com @re­porter­betsy on Twit­ter

De­vel­op­ers propos­ing a 171-unit, 184,500-square­foot se­nior care cam­pus in Men­tor’s Newell Creek devel­op­ment must take an­other ap­proach if the pro­ject is to pro­ceed.

The city Plan­ning Com­mis­sion re­cently voted that the pro­posal is a sig­nif­i­cant de­par­ture from the of­fice des­ig­na­tion on 19 acres within Newell Creek’s planned unit devel­op­ment.

Pep­per Pike-based Omni Prop­erty Com­pa­nies would like to build 19 sin­gle-fam­ily vil­las, an 88-unit in­de­pen­dent liv­ing fa­cil­ity, a 44unit as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity and a 20-unit mem­ory care fa­cil­ity on the south side of Nor­ton Park­way be­tween Ster­ling Court and Garfield Road.

The prop­erty is bor­dered by sin­gle-fam­ily homes and an as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­ity, Avery Den­ni­son, In­ter­state 90, a 4-acre undeveloped site, CT Con­sul­tants and NOAH’S Event Venue.

In 2004, the PUD was re­vised to in­clude con­struc­tion of Nor­ton Park­way, and the of­fice des­ig­na­tion re­placed the plan for res­i­den­tial use on the site.

Pro­ject rep­re­sen­ta­tives Neil Bren­nan and Omni Vice Pres­i­dent of Devel­op­ment Gary Biales pro­vided ex­am­ples of sev­eral other changes to the PUD since it first was ap­proved in 2003.

They noted the change that made way for a yet-to-pro­ceed Cleve­land Clinic fa­cil­ity on land that orig­i­nally had been des­ig­nated for a “life­style cen­ter.”

“It’s in­ter­est­ing how a shop­ping cen­ter went to med­i­cal use and that was not con­sid­ered a sub­stan­tial de­vi­a­tion,” Biales said. “You sub­stan­tially changed it when it be­came Cleve­land Clinic. Things change. I mean, in 2004, it might have been great for of­fice; there hasn’t been any knowl­edge that some­body wants to go here.

“We ac­tu­ally went to Avery Den­ni­son, be­cause … they have the right of first re­fusal on half the parcels. They said no they’re not in­ter­ested.”

Com­mis­sion Chair­man Wil­liam Snow said the city re­ceived a let­ter from Avery ex­press­ing con­cerns about the devel­op­ment.

Biales went on to cite stud­ies that in­di­cate lack of an of­fice mar­ket.

“I got a study from the city say­ing back in 2015, there was 21 per­cent (of­fice space) va­cancy,” he said. “Now there’s 26 per­cent va­cancy, so things do have to change. I’m go­ing back to res­i­den­tial-type use.”

The Com­mis­sion’s le­gal coun­sel, Joseph Sze­man, re­sponded, “The life­style cen­ter was a prom­ise not kept, and that’s the reality. And the mar­ket con­di­tions ob­vi­ously dic­tated the fact that it never got built … but it was des­ig­nated for com­mer­cial use. Now the Clinic ob­vi­ously is a higher, better use there.”

The Com­mis­sion was unan­i­mous in its de­ci­sion that the Omni pro­posal is a sub­stan­tial de­par­ture from the PUD.

Sze­man ad­vised the ap­pli­cants to pur­sue re­zon­ing the prop­erty to B-2 or an­other clas­si­fi­ca­tion that would al­low se­nior hous­ing.

“They’re go­ing to have to go back and kind of start from square one as op­posed to it be­ing an amend­ment to the ap­proved planned unit devel­op­ment as it cur­rently ex­ists,” he said.

The re­zon­ing would start with an in­for­mal hear­ing at which the Com­mis­sion would pro­vide feed­back, be­fore a for­mal plan would be con­sid­ered.

Such a course was taken by an­other ap­pli­cant at the Com­mis­sion’s Feb. 8 meet­ing.

Clover Com­mu­ni­ties Men­tor LLC sought an in­for­mal re­view of plans to re­zone about 10 acres on the city’s west end of Route 20 from M-1 Light Man­u­fac­tur­ing and R-10 Multi-fam­ily to B-2 Gen­eral Busi­ness.

The to­tal pro­ject size is nearly 14 acres and in­volves va­cant land on the north side of the street be­tween Queens­dale Apart­ments and Bumpers Bar & Grill.

The ap­pli­cant is propos­ing a 119-unit in­de­pen­dent liv­ing fa­cil­ity for those ages 55 and older. Clover has six such fa­cil­i­ties op­er­at­ing in the Cleve­land area, in­clud­ing one in Wil­loughby Hills.

How­ever, the city ad­min­is­tra­tion said the pro­ject doesn’t con­form to Men­tor’s zon­ing code def­i­ni­tion for an in­de­pen­dent liv­ing devel­op­ment, which pro­vides for meals, house­keep­ing, so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and trans­porta­tion to a min­i­mum of 50 per­cent of the res­i­dents, or a per­cent­age de­ter­mined by the Com­mis­sion.

A pro­ject rep­re­sen­ta­tive said meals are ar­ranged via Meals on Wheels for those in need. So­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and ser­vices pro­vided in-house in­clude fit­ness classes, wor­ship ser­vices, Bi­ble study, a beauty salon, par­ties and other spe­cial events.

Should the ap­pli­cant choose to pur­sue an al­ter­nate re­zon­ing, apart­ments are a per­mit­ted use in R-10, Multi-fam­ily Res­i­den­tial dis­trict.

How­ever, the de­vel­oper said R-10 sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases the park­ing re­quire­ments and has min­i­mum lot sizes with which the pro­ject may not com­ply.

No vote is taken on in­for­mal pro­pos­als.

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