City Council approves rezoning for cluster homes

By a 4-3 vote, Green City Council approved to rezone several acres of land for 74 cluster homes as a part of the Courtyards at New Seasons.

Being rezoned is approximately 13.6 acres of land at the southwest corner of Massillon Road and Wise Road from R-1 (Single Family Residential) to PD (Planned Development), 5.1 acres of land from B-1 (General Business) to PD and approximately 1.8 acres of land from B-3 (Neighborhood Business) to PD.

Voting for the project during the Aug. 27 council meeting were Councilmen Chris Humphrey, Rocco Yeargin, Bob Young and Councilwoman Barbara Babbitt.

Voting against the project were Councilmen Justin Speight, Steven Dyer and Matthew Shaughnessy.

Before the vote, Developer Mike Wojno addressed a few concerns raised during previous meetings. He said a market study was done and there is a market for this kind of project for empty nesters and those looking to downsize.

Wojno said the average buyer of a cluster home like these is 64 years old and he envisions selling two to four units per month.

He also addressed traffic, which has been brought up several times. The development is expected to add a little more traffic he said but it won’t be a major issue. In time, the city will have to address the traffic in that area, Wojno said.

The streets within the development will be maintained by the development and the city will not have to maintain them.

Dyer said he has heard many concerns about timing. He also questioned how many of those in the market study could afford one of the cluster homes, which are expected to cost between $300,000 and $350,000.

“I’m concerned if there are going to be enough buyers for this,” Dyer said.

Humphrey said the city of Green offers a wide variety of housing options such as neighborhoods, Section 8 Housing and senior apartments.

He said the developer is willing to put millions of dollars into the community for something people are asking for.

Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said new home construction has slowed down as only 20 new single-family homes are being built in Green this year. He said the average is around 60.

“Development has slowed down,” Wiethe said. “There is no doubt about it.”

Wiethe encouraged council to approve the project and not take a step backward.

Speight said the fact new homes aren’t being built at a rapid rate is a good thing. He said 244 homes are expected to be constructed in the Forest Lake subdivision.

“We are still moving forward,” Speight said. “How fast should we move forward.”

He said while the project is beautiful, the issue is timing.

Yeargin and Babbitt said the land is zoned for business could mean a project like a strip mall or some sort of retail is constructed there if the cluster homes project is shot down.

Babbitt said the neighbors in the area would prefer to live next to residential development rather than other businesses.

Shaughnessy said the city has zoning for a reason and a long-range land-use plan that should be followed. He doesn’t like the idea of changing the zoning here and there and the plan set in place by the community a while back should be followed.

The project is likely to be built out in three to four years with the construction of the several model homes in spring 2020.

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This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com