Developer moving forward with retail complex on Massillon Road

Residents and a developer have been at odds over a proposed retail complex along Massillon Road in the city of Green.

Green Planning and Zoning Commission first approved the project June 21 by a vote of 3-2.

The proposed complex would consist of retail and restaurant development on a 7.84 acre site located at the southwest corner of Massillon Road and Graybill Road.

The property, which was formerly owned by Summa, was sold about a year and half ago to TWL Investments, who plan to develop the land. To the north the land abuts Summa, the Stonebridge Apartment complex to the south and single-family residences along April Drive to the west. There is frontage on the west end of Graybill Road cul-de-sac and along Massillon Road to the south of Ritzman Pharmacy.

Plans for the project

Plans call for a 24,480-square-foot main anchor building with an attached 8,400 square-foot multi-tenant building in the southwestern portion of the site. In the front portion of the site, a 2,100 square foot fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru along with a separate building containing a 4,040-square-foot quick serve restaurant and a 4,080-square-foot retail space with a drive-thru are proposed.

A subsurface investigation was completed by Timmerman Geotechnical Group, and the report indicates that the site is suitable to support pavement and the buildings associated with the proposed development.

The grocer being targeted is an upscale grocer with more specialty offerings, but would be a small footprint store compared to Giant Eagle or Acme. No names have been disclosed of who the grocer would be, but the building is designed for customers to be able to drive up to the store and load their groceries instead of pushing a cart into the parking lot.

Potential restaurant tenants have also not been announced.

Concerns and opposition

During the June 19 meeting when the project was approved, residents on April Drive spoke out about concerns relating to noise, lights and deliveries coming at night.

Signs have been placed in nearly every yard along April Drive from residents not in favor of the project. During the July 19 Green Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, about 50 residents packed the room in hopes to speak about their opposition to the proposal.

Since the issue was already approved, the only way it could be reopened was if one of the members who voted for the project reopened the project for discussion. None of the members motioned to reopen it and the commission members moved on to the next item. The crowd of residents made an uproar stating their voice was silenced and they never got a chance to speak. The commission took a break to allow the residents to leave and pour into the lobby where Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer took time to talk with residents.

He explained the process and said residents must not have convinced any of the three members who voted for the project to reopen the discussion.

Neugebauer said his goal has been to inform residents on the process of a project and the appropriate places to speak their opinions.

“I want them to understand there is a process,” Neugebauer said. “They can be heard.”

Many homes on April Drive were built by Warmus Builders, and former April Drive resident of 17 years Jane Warmus is helping her former neighbors fight the development.

She said she wants to protect the neighborhood and that she still loves. Warmus still lives in Green and her husband is constructing Brier Creek, an independent housing development in Green.

“I want to stop retail that would impact the neighborhood,” Warmus said.

She said the retail would have a high impact on the area unlike the YMCA and Ritzman Pharmacy, which are nearby the site and have a low impact.

The issue next will go before the Board of Zoning Appeals either in August or September.