TWINSBURG – Despite intense opposition by several Old Mill Road residents, the city’s planning commission has favored a final site plan for two large industrial buildings on the north side of the road, just east of Darrow Road.
At its May 16 meeting, the panel sent a positive site plan recommendation to City Council for what is being called Project Gumbo, which involves erecting 299,000- and 156,000-square-foot spec buildings to the north and west of many homes.
Scannell Properties has made the proposal for development of the 33.5 acres east of Siffron in the I-2 limited industrial zoning district, and is working to complete the purchase of a contiguous 1.5-acre residential property.
Emotions have run high at a handful of meetings because the nearby residents have said the project will negatively impact their lives and possibly reduce their property values.
“These plans have been reviewed by a number of local, state and federal professionals and approvals have been given,” said planning panel chairman Marc Cohen.
“We must rely on those professionals for information so we can make decisions. While I wish the development would be smaller than what is proposed, Scannell has followed all procedures, codes and regulations.”
The panel’s vote was 3-1 in favor of the site plan, with Michael Walker voting “no” and Cohen, Steve Shebeck and David Kleinman voting “yes.” Kraig Shipley was absent.
Some revisions to the original plans were outlined by Matt Weber of Weber Engineering, including reducing one building’s frontage width from 240 to 210 feet, eliminating an 18-foot high barrier wall and relocating a truck port driveway.
“We’ve worked within the guidelines that have been put before us,” said Weber. “We’ve completed studies, received approval from several regulatory agencies and received or applied for wetlands permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”
Some of the infrastructure improvements Scannell has proposed are adding an Old Mill turn lane at Darrow, changing signalization at the intersection, landscaping to conceal the buildings from the nearby homes and sidewalks along Old Mill.
City planner Lynn Muter said Summit County officials have said they will support lowering the speed limit to 35 mph on the township’s side of Old Mill, and Twinsburg Township trustees have said they would support that.
The neighboring residents have expressed concerns about truck and car traffic accessing the property from Old Mill Road, fumes from the trucks, how the project will affect their water wells and nearby wetlands and streams, bright lighting and noise.
The main theme that residents have expressed is the industrial development “is not harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood.” They have been especially critical of Old Mill Road, rather than Darrow, being the access point to the property.
City officials have explained the reason why access is not possible from Darrow is that no easement was obtained to extend East Summit Commerce Park Drive eastward from Darrow when the Siffron facility was built.
Weber said Scannell attempted to buy a small parcel from Siffron so that the two proposed buildings could be situated further west, but that attempt was unsuccessful.
The panel OK’d a final site plan for a 2,000-square-foot storage building at the back of Summit Sound & Security at 8027 Darrow Road, south of Old Mill Road and north of Darrow Road Plaza.
TLJ Cos. LLC wants to erect the addition on its 0.75-acre lot in the C-2 community commercial zoning district. Summit Sound occupies 3,000 square feet of the existing building, with Subway occupying the remaining 1,788 square feet.
Thirty-two parking spaces are available for use by Summit Sound and Subway, including 13 onsite and 19 on the Havana’s Cigars adjacent property. There is a shared access drive off Darrow Road for the two properties.
A side lot setback variance has been granted by the board of zoning appeals.
The planning panel changed its next meeting date from June 20 to June 27 because the city will observe the former date as the Juneteenth holiday.
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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Twinsburg’s planning commission favors industrial buildings site plan