Don’t rush rezoning

The whole process of Beech Brook began years ago. I don’t think the developer was prepared for the backlash against the rezoning as was obvious by how long the process dragged on and then the developer suddenly needing to reschedule the town hall meeting in February. Then the pandemic. Now it’s rush, rush, rush. Now they are urgently attempting to get the rezoning done. An issue this impactful, to not only Pepper Pike, but to every adjacent village and town isn’t something to be rushed. If the language for the rezoning is not carefully and exactly written, we could have 65 plus acres of something not even remotely close to today’s concept. The rezoning is for one parcel of land, although eventually three parcels will be involved. Each parcel could end up with its own separate and distinct master plan. Potentially nothing cohesive in the look or feel. Thus, the rezoning language needs to be written, examined and rewritten. It is language that needs to mulled over and thought about, not rushed because the developer initially dragged his feet. The residents of Pepper Pike deserve the time to decide what they want their community to be in the future and not be rushed to rezone and have the language written after the fact. Language that they would have no say in (suggestions yes, voice no), language decided by a few and not the majority. The conceptual plan that Axiom proposes is “merely the capability to achieve that plan, but also the potential to achieve some other plan that may look substantially different.” (George Smerigan, City Planner memorandum 07/11/20.)

Most of these items come from city planner George Smerigan’s memorandum of 07/11/20. A copy can be obtained from City Hall. The memorandum goes on to state that “mixed-use” is a term for mixing of commercial (retail, restaurant, single building). Axiom claims to have nixed “multi-family dwelling,” although the language still permits residential units above first floor commercial/retail. If there is more than one condo above then isn’t that by definition multi-family? Additionally, the development plan does not prohibit driveways for individual homes on Lander Road. The text as written would allow for front-facing garages which lends itself to a cluster home environment certainly not the country feel of a large lot with a side or back-facing garage that we currently require.

Modifications to the plan would most likely happen which would “be compliant with the minimum code provisions, if not with the overall spirit and intent of the regulation.” Mr. Smerigan states repeatedly that there is no guarantee that Axiom will actually be the final developers of the property. This is why we must not rush into rezoning.

The land isn’t going away. We can and should take our time to decide about rezoning and to know what we want from this property, not what a developer wants.

Lou Ann Graham

Pepper Pike

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