Master plan sent Council with changes to commercial corridor

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

After proposing a handful of additional changes, the Streetsboro Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously Feb. 5 to recommend revision and passage of the city's Comprehensive Master Plan, which serves as a guide for future development efforts in the city.

Planning Director John Cieszkowski said the commission has proposed a variety of mostly minor changes during meetings Jan. 23 and Feb. 5.

Mayor Glenn Broska said the proposed revisions are good ones.

"I think what the Master Plan Review Commission together with the Planning & Zoning Commission put together is a great plan," he said.

One significant change affects portions of Route 14's commercial corridor. Under the existing 2009 Comprehensive Plan, the section of Route 14 from the old Walmart property west was named the Commercial Redevelopment Corridor, and the Route 14 corridor from just east of Route 43 to just shy of Summers Avenue was named the Transitional Mixed Use Corridor.

The commission has recommended giving both sections the same moniker -- the Commercial Development Corridor, said Cieszkowski. Development in those areas would be regulated by design guidelines, he said, and areas near the turnpike would have a different set of requirements and characteristics than those east of Route 43. 

"We would develop design guidelines that take into account different building sizes and take into account different guidelines depending on the size of the buildings," he said, adding another factor guiding design would be lot size.

Also in the downtown district, "on-street parking" was eliminated as a bullet-point under a paragraph describing "desirable elements" that could be featured in a redevelopment of the downtown area, which includes the old Walmart property (which will open later this year at Big Dee's Tack and Vet Supply), Market Square Plaza and Drive and other areas on the northwest corner of the city square. 

Cieszkowski said on-street parking was removed because it's currently illegal in the city.

He said it could still be used as a tool "provided there are policy changes as may be necessary."

City Council has about three months to make any additional changes and vote whether to adopt the plan.

Assuming Council adopts the plan, Cieszkowski said he would begin revising earlier proposed revisions to the zoning code, which he began when he was employed with McKenna Associates and under contract with the city.

"I will start working my way through full chapter code revisions, and those areas of the chapters that apply citywide, that do not include map amendments or changes in density," he said.

According to the city charter, voters must approve any zoning map amendments or zoning law changes affecting density, he explained.

Developers looking for tools enabling them to be a little bit creative about how they build new homes or businesses will have to look in a new location if the proposed revisions are adopted, too.

The Traditional Neighborhood Development, which is applied on a map to Sahbra Farms in the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, would be removed from the land use map but still included in the plan in an appendix along with several other tools for developers.

 A Traditional Neighborhood Development "can occur within a planned district. TND/New urbanism includes a variety of housing types, a mix of land uses, an active center and a walkable design," according to the proposed updated plan.

Also included in Appendix D would be conservation developments, which would require 50 percent open space and enable developers to cluster homes on smaller lots, thereby creating larger contiguous open areas; low-impact development guidelines; and a section on overlay areas. In areas with overlays, the underlying zoning would stay the same, but the city could develop "standards" to help accommodate a special feature of a piece of land. Such districts may include historic neighborhoods, downtowns, road corridors, floodplains or with scenic views, according to the proposed plan.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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