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Copley trustees amend zoning request

1/23/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

A lengthy public hearing regarding a proposed zoning change led off the Copley Township Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 15, with audience members filling the trustees’ meeting room to near capacity and trustees veering the requested change in another direction.

Present at the hearing were three applicants representing 7.3 acres of land on several adjacent properties on Medina Road and Scenic View Drive, whose joint application was asking for rezoning to Commercial Neighborhood Retail (CNR).

The largest piece of the puzzle is 5.6 acres extending from Hametown Road to the other applicants’ properties, which make up the corner of state Route 18 and Scenic View Drive, according to planning documents. Owner Ron Nolan’s property already is zoned Commercially for Office/Retail Use (COR) and has on it a legal nonconforming gas station and a house, he said.

The other two applicants, Matt Manteghi and Jim Nolte, both own two-family units zoned Residential. They complained they are surrounded by a Commercial district, which also includes a fire station on the east side, making Residential zoning unreasonable.

In the process required to make a zoning change, the group went through the Summit County Planning Commission. While last month county officials recommended approving the change, the township’s Zoning Commission unanimously recommended the opposite following a public hearing. The trustees’ public hearing is one of the last parts of the process necessary to amend the township’s zoning map, followed generally by a vote among trustees ultimately allowing or disproving the proposal, according to township officials.

The proposed CNR district would allow retail and personal service businesses on lots of less than 2 acres, according to Copley’s zoning code. The difference between the two commercial districts — CNR and COR — is their primary focus, according to Planning Director Matt Springer. For CNR, the primary intended use is retail, he said, while COR zoning places more emphasis on office uses, allowing a small retail business as an accessory, such as a snack bar or coffee shop.

Prior to the public hearing, the township received several letters and emails objecting to the area being rezoned to emphasize retail uses, Springer said.

During the public hearing, several neighbors vocalized their dissent, noting traffic and safety concerns, among others.

Following comments from the public, trustees discussed the proposal, noting the township’s future land-use plan does not include retail possibilities for that area.

Trustee Helen Humphrys said legal counsel approved of amending the applicants’ request during the public hearing and suggested approving a zoning change to COR, to commercial zoning primarily for offices.

After consulting with the applicants on the floor to make sure the amended application would be OK with them, trustees voted on each of the property owners’ applications separately.

Trustees voted to change zoning on Manteghi’s and Nolte’s properties to COR and denied Nolan’s request, resulting in no zoning change for his property.

During the regular meeting, trustees:

  • appointed James Berry and Robert Kocsis as alternate members of the Zoning Commission to fill unexpired terms ending Dec. 31;
  • approved Fire Chief Michael Benson applying for an Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation safety grant to purchase two load systems for power cots and a rolling system for a large diameter hose, for $26,700, to reduce the risk of back injuries to fire and EMS personnel. Trustees also accepted a donation from Akron General Medical Center of one loading system valued at $25,400. Copley’s share is $10,900, said Benson;
  • approved Police Chief Michael Mier’s request to renew a maintenance agreement for $600 for two pairs of night vision goggles with the Department of Navy, Naval Surface Warfare Center; and
  • approved requesting the Summit County engineer prepare estimates for the township’s road improvement plans for 2014 for asphalt, spot, sealcoat and concrete road paving and pavement marking and striping.

Following an executive session, trustees also approved two memorandums of understandings with the Fire Department, for outlining the way earned days off are calculated and granting a 2 percent wage increase; and approved a terms of engagement letter with Brouse McDowell for legal services rendered by Irv Sugerman.

The Copley Board of Trustees’ next regular meeting is set for Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Copley Township offices, 1540 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.

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