WOODMERE — Residents indicated at three recent public meetings that the Chagrin Boulevard widening and zoning updates are priorities in regard to the master plan. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission gave a presentation on Oct. 30 on the data that they have gathered about the village so far and then gave residents a chance to share their thoughts.

More than 25 people attended the meeting and listened to the commission’s presentation, which included data on traffic accidents and pedestrian walkways. Residents requested more information on the Chagrin widening project, so Village Engineer Ed Hren addressed the crowd. He explained that the project will add one westbound lane from East Brainard Road to Orange Place.

“It will connect the village with a sidewalk from West Brainard to Orange Place,” Mr. Hren said. “This will improve efficiency in the traffic system and provide additional pedestrian enhancements.”

Mr. Hren said recently that the $3.9 million Chagrin Boulevard widening project could begin by 2021. The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to cover $2.7 million of the project and the Ohio Public Works Commission would take care of $1.2 million if Woodmere’s application is approved. Woodmere must acquire property to add one westbound lane that could cost the village between $150,000 and $250,000.

Ronnie Kertesz, who owns Beechmont Towers near the project site and other property in Woodmere, asked at the meeting about sidewalk maintenance and bike lanes.

Mr. Hren explained that the sidewalks will be contiguous with the road, meaning that there will not be a tree lawn between the road and the sidewalk. He said that the village is not sure yet who will be responsible for maintaining the sidewalks, such as clearing snow in the winter. Mr. Hren said that a bike lane is not part of the widening project slated for 2021.

Maplecrest Road resident David Corney said that the planning commission did not consider the aesthetic value of the Chagrin widening. “What are you going to do with [telephone] poles?”

Mr. Hren said that the village chose to work on the north side of the street partly with no main utility lines rather than the south side. He also said that the other utility wires will not be buried underground.

Following the discussion on the Chagrin widening, attendees went into the hallway at the Pepper Pike Learning Center and placed stickers on boards to indicate what their priorities for Woodmere’s future with zoning as a top priority.

Villagers selected issues including a review of the village zoning code and modernize single-family residential regulations to meet the needs of the community. A small lot overlay zoning district was another topic getting attention from residents. They also indicated that it is a priority to establish best practices for zoning regulations to promote reinvestment along Chagrin.

For those who could not attend the meeting, the planning commission posted a survey on its website. The survey will be active until Nov. 15.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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