GREEN City Council is expected to vote during their next meeting Aug. 27 to rezone several acres of land for a proposed residential project.
Council is being asked to rezone approximately 13.6 acres of land located at the southwest corner of Massillon Road and Wise Road from R-1 (Single Family Residential) to PD (Planned Development), 5.1 acres of land from B-1 (General Business) to PD and approximately 1.8 acres of land from B-3 (Neighborhood Business) to PD.
The land is better known as the property just south of Pancho's Southwestern Grille.
The Courtyards at New Seasons is a planned development for 20.5 acres and would construct 74 cluster homes, which would be fee-simple lots. Those targeted for the homes are young professionals and those looking to right size, but stay in Green. The developer has partnered with Epcon Community, which specializes in maintenance-free oriented communities.
In addition to the homes, there would be water features, a clubhouse, a workout space, in-ground pool and a community garden.
Cost for these homes is expected to be between $300,000 and $350,000.
As a part of the project, the former Green Farms market and greenhouse would be demolished.
Councilman Rocco Yeargin asked Green Planning Director Wayne Wiethe several questions about how the project fits into the master plan for the area.
Wiethe said there have been multiple updates to the land use plan for Massillon Road through the years. He said he believes the proposed project is a well-drawn out plan for a successful development to occur.
“No developer wants to go in somewhere and not be successful,” Wiethe said.
Concerns were raised about whether this development would bring more children, leading to overcrowding in the school district. Wiethe said he believes the target demographic for these cluster homes are empty nesters and those looking to downsize. He said he doesn’t envision a bunch of families with children moving in.
Councilman Stephen Dyer raised the question about why the city bought Raintree Golf Course last year to stop over-development but now wants to let this project move forward.
At the time of the Raintree Purchase, Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said he wanted to preserve green space. The city also said if they didn’t purchase the property a developer could purchase the land and construct 300 to 400 homes, which would overload the schools and infrastructure.
Wiethe said the city couldn't "lose" on the Raintree purchase because the city either got a well-functioning golf course or parkland.
Councilman Chris Humphrey said Raintree was 145 acres of land compared to 20.5 for this project.
Dyer also raised questions about congestion concerns at the intersection of Wise Road and Massillon Road.
“Massillon Road and Wise Road is not an awesome intersection as it is,” Dyer said.
Wiethe said Wise Road would not be impacted with this project, but that area will need to be looked in time. He said he expects the units to be built out in a period as long as five years.
Dyer said he has had many people reach out to him with concerns about the project.
Humphrey said misinformation is again being spread around on social media about the project and called it “political” because it is an election year.
Humphrey said he gets calls all the time from people looking for this kind of housing in the city.
Councilman Justin Speight said he posted a message on Facebook asking for public input on the project. He said he simply asked for the community to be engaged and it wasn’t for political purposes.
Humphrey said he wasn’t referring to Speight, but others posting comments.
Speight added that the Forecast Lakes subdivision hasn’t been built out yet and Brier Creek is also going to be constructing this same kind of homes and he believes the city is addressing the need for cluster homes.
He also raised the concern of the city’s recent push to be more diverse.
“This project does not address that,” Speight said.
He said he often hears from people that Green is no longer a rural community.
“People are asking us to put on the break,” Speight said.
Councilwoman Barbara Babbitt said Green has grown and changed and it is time to think about how "we" want the community to grow.
Councilman Bob Young said it is a quality development and he likes the price point.
“I like it is going to attract the right kind of cliental that builds a quality neighborhood,” Young said.
Green resident Jane Weaver said Green needs homes like this.
Former Councilman Ken Knodel said he and his wife have struggled to find a condo unit or housing like this in Green because so many people are looking for them. He said he fully supports the project.
Resident Pat Carleski said more housing like this is needed, but it needs to be affordable.
“I can’t afford this,” Carleski said. “Please consider more housing in a lower price range.”
Resident Steve Braswell said it may be time to look at the long-range use plan and update it for more mixed-uses to help attract young, diverse families.
Yeargin agreed it is time to re-visit that plan.