BURTON — The village Planning Commission last week approved a lot split that would pave the way for the Demko family to develop an $18 million senior living community on 41 acres southwest of Route 87.

This is for retired people who want to give up “their big house and their big yard and live in a small community on a smaller scale,” said Burton Mayor Ruth Spanos, who also serves on the planning commission.

Council must give final approval for the lot split.

Mayor Spanos added that the commission resolved another issue related to the Demko property: local automotive dealer Pat Preston’s purchase of 5 acres, and his desire to rezone them from residential to business to construct an overflow lot for Preston Kia Sales.

“The planning commission already recommended the rezoning,” Mayor Spanos explained, “so our piece is done as far as that goes.”

Following the meeting, Dan Demko, the family member heading up the lot split and sale of his land, said the village, township and Geauga County Commissioners all approved his property for annexation to the village in December, but the process wrapped up a few weeks ago after the completion of administrative steps.

“The next thing we have to do is finalize our building plans, finalize the layout,” Mr. Demko said. “Once we have the layout, we have to submit a report to the U.S. Corps of Engineers to get their approval.”

Though he has not selected a builder yet, Mr. Demko predicted the total project will involve an $18 million contract. He would like to break ground this fall, he said, but anticipates starting in early spring of 2021.

“We’ve been working on the project for two years so we’re quite far along,” he said. “In the process, we hired an engineer, we hired architects, we got plans, layouts, we talked to banks so we’re still trying to get funding.”

In other business, the planning commission approved a lot split for Berkshire High School.

Mayor Spanos said this will help consolidate the land and lots to make it easier to sell once the district finishes work on its new all-grade school building.

“Because of the way the properties were acquired into the school district, they were acquired at various different points and under different names,” Mayor Spanos said. “One is Berkshire Schools, maybe another is Berkshire Local Schools.

“So just to simplify things they’re planning on selling the lot, they asked to split it into two sections. One has the school buildings on it and the other part is empty land and the football field and some parking lot space in it,” the mayor said.

Mayor Spanos explained that the planning commission plans to meet this week to discuss what to do with the school property once Berkshire’s new facility opens.

“There’s a whole process,” she said. “They have to be auctioned off to the public. We want the school to get as much money as they can for that land. We were trying to plan, would it make sense to vote for the village to rezone those in a way that would make it appealing to a buyer?”

The next Burton Village Planning Commission meeting will take place on July 27 at 5 p.m. at Burton Village hall at 14588 West Park St.

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