Roundwood Manor owner Sylvia Korey

Roundwood Manor owner Sylvia Korey made a formal proposal to the Hunting Valley Planning and Zoning Commission to turn her 55,000-square-foot historic mansion into condos.  She has been trying to sell the home in the Daisy Hill neighborhood for several years with no success.

HUNTING VALLEY — After several years of discussion about converting Roundwood Manor, a 55,000-square-foot historic mansion in the Daisy Hill neighborhood, into condominiums, owner Sylvia Korey presented her first official proposal to the village Planning and Zoning Commission.

Ms. Korey and her team submitted an application for a conditional use permit that would allow the Georgian-style house to be converted into six condos and go against the current 5-acre minimum zoning for residences.

Ms. Korey said in the past that she has tried to sell the property for more than a decade, with no success. The asking price has been as high as $7.5 million and reduced to less than $4 million last year. Some prospective buyers expressed interest in razing the 1920s house and building a new structure on the land. But her primary goal has been to maintain the rich history of the property built in 1928 by notable Cleveland architects and brothers Oris and Mantis Van Sweringen.

The property has become expensive to maintain, with annual taxes adding up to more than $60,000, according to county records. Ms. Korey said her solution to preserve the property at 3450 Roundwood Road is to split the home into sections and sell those as individual condos.

Ms. Korey was joined by her lawyers from the Mansour Gavin firm, representatives from the Cleveland Restoration Society and local historian Daniel Ruminski to present the plan to the planning commission and request the conditional use permit.

Law Director Stephen Byron explained that according to the village charter, council has the power to approve variances to the zoning code. In other communities – such as Orange and Moreland Hills – voter referendums are required. The Hunting Valley charter also indicates two instances when a conditional use permit can be granted. One is for private educational institutions and the other is for “historic settlements.”

The charter defines historic districts as “areas within the village which contain structures of historical, architectural or cultural merit.” The section goes on to name the Shiverick, Rankin and Clanonderry properties as the only designated historic districts within the village. These properties have been granted conditional use allowances because they each in some way go against the village’s standard zoning.

Now that the application has been submitted, the planning commission must determine if the property qualifies for the conditional use permit and if allowing the condo plan would be in the best interest of the community.

The Daisy Hill Neighborhood Association – an enclave consisting of about 60 homes – has expressed opposition to the plan.

Sheldon Berns, an attorney who represents the association, said the proposal goes against the subdivision’s deed restrictions. Daisy Hill trustees agree that the best interests of the subdivision and particularly the residents of Roundwood Road, “would be materially injured,” if the manor were to be divided as proposed. “The objectives of the Daisy Hill restrictions to preserve Daisy Hill as a tranquil, unique, 5-acre single family community would not be well-served by the conversion of Roundwood Manor to multi-family use,” Mr. Berns said.

The condominium project would “inevitably lower the value of homes in Daisy Hill and especially those on Roundwood Road that are in close proximity to Roundwood Manor,” the attorney added.

Village planner George Smerigan is analyzing whether the proposal lies within the legal bounds of the village zoning code. The application is expected to be back on the agenda at next month’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Sept. 12.

“We believe (the conditional use permit) is an avenue for unique properties and buildings and uses within the village,” said Mansour Gavin attorney Anthony Coyne. “Hopefully we can work with the village to secure a pathway to save the structure.”

Mr. Coyne added that they also are attempting to get the property designated as a historic landmark on state and national registries.

“We’re going down the pathway that would be appropriate for the Korey family and also something that would be beneficial to Hunting Valley,” he said. “So we’re looking for a win-win.”

Making the conversion would also offer another housing option for residents who wish to live in the village but do not want to live in a large single-family home on a property 5 acres or larger, project proponents have said.

The planning commission ultimately would make a recommendation to council, which has the final say.

“The village’s role in this process,” Mr. Byron said, “is to consider the relief that’s requested by the property owner for the use of her property and apply the zoning code fairly. So that’s what we are going to do.”

If council denies the proposal, Ms. Korey could appeal the decision to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

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