A similar proposal was up before the planning commission in March and was recommended by both the commissioners and the Jackson Township Zoning Department. The township’s trustees voted down the zoning change in April.
A tweaked zoning-change proposal that would permit senior-targeted apartments on land south of Portage Street NW and east of Wales Avenue NW goes before the county’s planning commission Tuesday night.
A similar proposal was up before the Stark County Regional Planning Commission in March and was recommended for approval by both the commissioners and the Jackson Township Zoning Department. The township’s trustees voted down the zoning change in April.
This time, however, the proposed zoning designation is different and requires that the developer present more-detailed plans for approval. The staff of Stark County Regional Planning has recommended a denial of the request, citing traffic concerns. After going to the planning commission Tuesday, the proposal will be heard by the township.
“We feel like there is a need for some, especially elder, family housing,” said Brenda Sarsany, chief of planning at Stark County Regional Planning. “The main issue is the roads.”
OLD IDEA, NEW PROPOSAL
The 23.75 acres in question comprises three tracts of land owned by Akron General Medical Center. The center wanted to build there in 2001, but there were concerns about four gas lines that cross the property, so the site plans were allowed to expire. The land is zoned commercial business and rural residential and butts against single-family homes and a commercial area.
Redwood Acquisition, based in Beachwood, proposes to build senior-targeted, one-story, single-family attached apartments, according to the zoning amendment application. That’s what was proposed in March, too.
Unlike in March, Redwood Acquisition is requesting R-3 zoning — residential planned unit development — instead of R-4 zoning — multi-family residential. While R-4 zoning developments are looked at more generically during the approval process, planned unit developments must present a detailed plan for zoning amendment consideration, Sarsany said.
R-3 zoning also allows up to six units per acre for single-family attached dwellings, as opposed to R-4, which allows up to 10 units per acre for single- and multi-family attached dwellings, according to the township’s zoning handbook.
No one representing Redwood Acquisition could be reached for comment.
At the trustees’ April meeting when the first proposed zoning change was up for a vote, trustee John Pizzino said that with R-3 zoning, the township would be able to approve site development, but with R-4 zoning, the developer could act without approval, according to an earlier Repository report.
At the same meeting, James Walters, president of the board of trustees, expressed concern about putting a dense development up against a residential area, after several people spoke in opposition to the apartments.
He said Friday he didn’t want to comment on a proposed zoning amendment prior to a public hearing. Regarding the process, he said township officials receive a lot of input before making a decision.
Page 2 of 2 - The regional planning commission has recommended denying the request. Considerations listed on Tuesday’s meeting agenda note that the plan for the 99-unit development only includes one driveway — onto Portage Street NW — and staff members suggest a second driveway along Wales Avenue NW and some connections to neighboring streets.
Sarsany said the potential for traffic congestion is the main hiccup in the plan and that staff members support putting a development aimed at older residents at that location. With an R-3 proposal, she said, it’s not uncommon for a plan to get revised to address concerns and be resubmitted.
After the planning commissioners offer a recommendation regarding the zoning request, the township’s zoning department will also offer a recommendation. The township’s trustees will have the final say, following a public hearing.
The Stark County Regional Planning Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at 201 Third St. NE in Canton.