GREEN A civil lawsuit has been filed in Summit County Court of Common Pleas in regards to the zoning of a piece of property at the corner of Boettler and Arlington roads.
The plaintiffs are DeHoff Development Company and Green Land Trust Ltd (GLT), against the defendant city of Green. GLT is an Ohio liability company which owns the property that is being developed by DeHoff.
According to the court docket, in 1999, GLT entered into a purchase and sale agreement for the property at the corner of Arlington and Boettler, which was contingent on rezoning of the property to enable its development for a retail complex.
In 2000, a rezoning application was submitted for 112.6 acres to rezone it from R-1, single-family residential, to B-2, professional office district, and 30 acres rezoned from R-1 to B-3, neighborhood business district. The Green Planning and Zoning Commission also recommended the rezoning application. In early 2001, City Council adopted the recommendation.
The rezoning ordinance was challenged and placed on the November 2001 election and approved by the voters.
GLT closed on the purchase in May 2002 and proceeded to work with the city to create a development agreement, which was agreed upon by GLT, DeHoff and the city in November 2003. At that time, the Green officials had planned to build a soccer complex on city owned property near Arlington and Boettler roads. The city was concerned about the heavy traffic near the corner and proposed to relocate the soccer complex. The city determined that land owned by GLT near Fortuna Drive, just south of East Turkeyfoot Lake Road, would be a better fit for the soccer complex.
The docket states the city agreed to cooperate, support and facilitate DeHoff's development, including all zoning requirements to swap properties.
Until 2009, the classification of B-3 zoning allowed for a retail complex building to be up to 225,000 square feet. However, a change in 2009 put a limit on the size of the buildings to only be 10,000 square feet. In the docket, GLT and DeHoff state the city never notified them of the change, which was a violation of the obligations of the development agreement.
In February 2017, DeHoff and GLT met with Mayor Gerard Neugebauer and Planning Director Wayne Wiethe to discuss plans for development.
"It is the city's position that DeHoff is required to comply with current code," said Green Law Director Diane Calta.
DeHoff, however, wants to see the grandfathered status of the property be honored.
"It was a very difficult decision to file a lawsuit against the city of Green," DeHoff President Daniel DeHoff said. "After trying to resolve the issue with the city, however, we felt it was important for us to legally protect not only our interests, but also the interests of the citizens of Green and the Green City Council members who approved the Spring Hill Development Project."
The 240 acres of land on the east side of Arlington Road north of Boettler Road, which is known as Spring Hill, is a mixed-use development. DeHoff has already constructed single-family homes ranging from $225,000 to $1 million on a portion of the site. There are also 30 acres of retail land and 80 acres of office space ready for development. The site is also home to the Goddard School and an athletic soccer complex.
DeHoff said the company has also been working with High Street Christian Church, which sold its property in downtown Akron and is planning to build on a portion of Spring Hill site.
"We proposed a development plan for the Spring Hill property over 16 years ago that was approved by city of Green Council and later approved by the citizens of Green through a referendum in 2001," DeHoff said. "That is why we were so disappointed to learn that the city drastically changed our zoning of Spring Hill without our knowledge in 2009."
DeHoff is holding out hope the project can move forward.
"I intend to honor the bargain my father made with the city and it is my hope the city will honor the bargain made by its predecessors," DeHoff said.