A new development has been brought forward by TWL Investments on the west side of Massillon Road, just south of Graybill Road.
Controversy has swirled around about the property when the Green Planning and Zoning Commission approved a project last year for a retail complex, which would have included a grocery store and several restaurants. Nearby residents in the April Drive neighborhood, which the backyards of several residents butts up against the property, raised concerns about the project. They took their concerns to the Green Zoning Appeals Board, which sided with them.
TWL then took the case to Summit County Common Pleas Court, where the court also sided with residents.
Now, TWL has brought a new development forward, which includes two senior living facilities and two quick-serve restaurants. The new senior living facility is expected to be called Echelon Green Senior Living.
In order for the project to move forward, City Council must approve a rezoning request of approximately 8.64 acres of lane from Professional Office (B-2) to Planned Development (PD). The land is owned by Summa Health System.
The developer is aware of the sensitivity of development on the site and has held community information meetings to share the plans with those interested in and impacted by the proposal.
Plans call for an independent living building and second building next to it with assisted living/memory care. These two buildings will be in the rear of the property, closest to the neighboring residents. Plans indicate a three-story 29,360 square-foot independent living building with a total of 61 units with 85 beds for those 65 years of age and older. There will be one and two-bedroom suites and studios. The two-story assisted living building will be 36,431 square-foot building with 45 assisted living units with a total of 50 beds. Also in the assisted living building will be 20 memory care units with 20 beds.
In all, there will be 126 units and 155 beds. There will be a kitchen in the center, which will connect both buildings. There will also be three outdoor dining areas. A total of 107 parking spaces are planned for the senior living buildings, with 46 of them being covered parking spaces.
The front portion of the site will include a fast-food restaurant on the south end and a food/retail building to the north.
Access to the site will come from two, two-way drives from the Graybill Road cul-de-sac. Also, there will be access from the existing driveway from Massillon Road, which is used to access Ritzman Pharmacy. A new proposed driveway at the southern edge of the site will also be constructed.
Plans for the project also show a central water feature and a walking path. Internal sidewalks are expected to connect with the Graybill Road sidewalk. An existing playground directly west of Graybill Road, which is used by the Green YMCA, will have to be removed as a part of this project.
City Council is planning a public hearing regarding the zoning change at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Central Administration Building. If the zoning change is approved by council, the applicant will have to submit a final site plan for review before the Design Review Board and Planning and Zoning Commission.
Councilman Rocco Yeargin said the approach taken with this project has been a day and night difference. He said residents have been much more favorable of this proposal.
April Drive residents Jane Weaver and Sandra Cline said the developer has worked well with them having held public meetings and making changes based on feedback.
“This is a much better fit for our neighborhood,” said Cline, who added that the developer has told her and Weaver that they want to be good neighbors with the existing residents.
Weaver said having the senior living buildings provides a nice buffer for the homes on April Drive.
This story was also published in The Suburbanite. www.thesuburbanite.com