Before Solon voters Nov. 5 is Issue 64, a proposed zoning amendment that would add more industrial land to the city.
“I think for Solon, our bread and butter is industrial use,” Mayor Edward H. Kraus said. “The more that we can take what I would call low usage, like a C-3 commercial, and turn it into I-2, that serves the strongest part of our market, which is industrial, and creates more business opportunities and more manufacturing and industrial opportunities.”
The zone change would also result in generating more tax revenue for the city, “and it makes the property much more valuable,” Mayor Kraus said.
In specific, voters will be asked if the zoning be amended to change the classification of about 22.8 acres at 34350 Solon Road from the current C-3 commercial zoning district to I-2, industrial manufacturing district. To pass, there must be a majority affirmative vote throughout the city and in Ward 4.
This is a proposal that has been lauded by city officials and linked to an area once eyed for luxury apartments.
This land was attempted to be rezoned in 2016 to pave the way for the proposed Fountains of Solon, a $25 million luxury apartment complex, but city voters defeated the rezoning by a wide margin at the November ballot that year. Developers purchased the land from University Hospitals of Cleveland for $2.3 million for the project.
The market is calling for the site to be more of a mixture of light industrial and manufacturing, Bob Nosal, executive managing director of Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate firm, told city officials.
Ward 4 Councilman Marc R. Kotora, who represents residents who abut the property, supports the rezoning, he said, especially since it represents the least impact on the surrounding residential neighborhoods, including W. Sharondale and Jaclyn drives.
“One of the main reasons why I’ve been supportive of Issue 64 is because I do feel it increases the boundary lines between what can be constructed in the residential neighborhood directly behind it.”
Current zoning is 25 feet with buffering, with industrial substantially greater at 150 feet.
Although no specific plans have been submitted to the city, from preliminary renderings that have been shown to city officials, “I have been supportive,” Mr. Kotora said.
“I think it will be the least intrusive type of development,” he added. He has received minimal inquires from his constituents about it when relaying to them information on the rezoning, he said.
“The big thing is the difference in the setbacks from where the buildings can be placed and constructed from its current zoning to the proposed zoning is nearly three times the distance,” Mr. Kotora said. “That is one of the main reasons I am supportive because I do believe it will be less intrusive to the homeowners with property in the area.”
Mayor Kraus said it is much more of an industrial property. “Changing it to I-2 would be even a greater buffer on that site with the residential,” he said. “You’re getting everything you want and maximizing the use of the property in terms of tax benefits to the city.
“Overall, it’s a much better use,” the mayor said.
The I-2 allows for manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and office. It would be similar to uses along Cochran Road. It prohibits uses for high industrial. The transition to I-2 makes sense as there is a mixture of zoning in the area of the property, including office use on SOM Center Road, Planning Director Robert S. Frankland said.