Streetsboro -- After about eight months of work, the city's review of its master plan has advanced to the second of three bodies which must consider changes to the document that serves as a blueprint for development.
The Master Plan Review Committee voted 6-1 Aug. 14 to recommend a variety of changes to the document.
Streetsboro's Planning & Zoning Commission will review the proposed changes next, adding any of its own it feels are necessary, and City Council will have final say over changes to the 200-plus page document.
Master Plan Review Committee member Ken Claypoole dissented on the Master Plan Review Committee's final vote on the document.
One of the themes that's run through the revision process has been reducing housing density, and Claypoole said what he believed was the commission's failure to carry that theme far enough is the reason he voted against the final recommended revisions.
"My view is, one of the major purposes of this commission was to lower density, and my belief was that density was not lowered enough in the downtown district," he said following the meeting.
The downtown district is an area in the center of town slated for redevelopment as a walkable mixed-use area. The district includes the area around City Hall, the old Walmart property, Market Square Plaza, Streetsboro Crossing, the east side of Route 43 from the square to the turnpike and the north side of Route 14 from the square to Mt. Vernon Drive, according to the Aug. 1 draft of proposed revisions to the master plan.
Streetsboro Planning Director John Cieszkowski and Regional Planning Commission Director Todd Peetz, who's helping the city with its revisions, have both argued in favor of permitting higher density in the downtown district.
"If you're going to have a downtown area that's walkable and provides a destination, to make that a viable option for redevelopment in a mixed-use situation, you need eight dwelling units per acre," said Cieszkowski at an earlier meeting.
The committee voted during an earlier meeting to set the density within the downtown district at no more than eight residential units per acre in a multi-use development and three residential units per acre in a development that's only residential.
Claypoole said he and fellow committee member Jane Rowe, another proponent of low-density housing, were not in attendance at the meeting when the committee voted to set the density in the downtown district. He said he wanted to reopen debate on the matter Aug. 14.
Claypoole argued the density limits the committee voted to recommend could result in an overall density of about 12 units per acre in a mixed-use development.
"If you're doing two levels at eight [units per acre], and then you have a level below, then you have a density of 12 [units per acre], which is what you have at Shady Lake, and, to me, that's just way too high," he said.
Cieszkowski said the committee shouldn't follow its trend toward less housing density in the downtown district.
"In a downtown district, that's where you want your densest development to occur," he said. "If you're encouraging this kind of development in the downtown area and you do it at a density below eight [residential units per acre], you're essentially not allowing it to happen."
After hearing Cieszkowski's explanation why higher density is desirable in a downtown area, Rowe said she would support the higher density proposal in that area.
Committee members and administrators discussed whether the matter could be voted on again. In the end, Claypoole made a motion to reconsider the matter, which died for lack of a second.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens