Plans are moving forward and steps are being taken toward the creation of sustainable housing in Solon for individuals with disabilities.

Solon resident Ara Bagdasarian in May presented to city officials details of a proposal to build a $3 million nonprofit project for people with disabilities to live called Solon Community Living.

Last week, he said the goal is to put a rezoning issue on the ballot during the primary election in the spring of 2020.

The land in question is about 4 acres of city-owned property on Aurora Road just west of Portz Parkway. A new zoning classification would have to be created to allow for this type of multifamily zoning. Council earlier this year approved a motion to draft the zoning language that would align with this vision.

Mr. Bagdasarian said he met with officials from the city administration, law department and the planning director last week to outline the process and steps that need to be taken.

Due to the desire to be on the spring ballot, “we need to accelerate the process for March instead of May,” he said.

The process would involve the creation of the zoning language, which is underway and expected to be complete sometime this month. At that point, it would go through the normal channels including the Planning Commission and Solon City Council.

Currently there is no zoning in place for young adults with disabilities under 50 to live. This concept differs from traditional group homes, a handful of which are already located in Solon. This Community Living option would allow individuals to work, socialize and age in Solon and be within safe walking distance to amenities such as a grocery store, restaurants, the Solon Community Center and the Solon Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Mr. Bagdasarian said families are continuing to reach out and express interest in the project. He and his wife Leslie have two adult children, Alex and Julie, both of whom have Fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes intellectual disability and cognitive impairment.

“I have not had a single comment or concern raised by anybody other than asking for updates,” Mr. Bagdasarian said. “We will continue to update people.

“Our job is to keep everyone engaged.”

He said what also needs to be determined is figuring out the process for acquiring the land, whether it is a lease or a purchase. The land may have to be put out to bid to follow the law regarding public property.

Two-thirds of the project will be funded by families and the other third through financing of families of the future residents, Mr. Bagdasarian explained. Currently, the Bagdasarians are meeting regularly with foundations and also applying for grants.

“Everything is going fine but takes time,” he said. “I’m very confident we will pull it all together.”

He noted the importance of the site in that it is accessible to so many amenities. Each home within Solon Community Living will have a separate entrance and exit, he said, adding that transportation for residents will be nearby at the community center.

“It really just makes it much easier to get access to the community versus depending on a caregiver and transportation to leave your home,” Mr. Bagdasarian said.

The project would include 10 high-quality two bedroom town homes. The zone change will need a majority vote both in Ward 6 and citywide.

“We are prepared to work as hard as necessary to make sure it gets properly supported by both the ward and the city,” Mr. Bagdasarian said.

For more information, the Bagdasarians can be reached at arabag1956@gmail.com.

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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