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Rezoning raises concerns by Hudson residents

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published: April 23, 2014 12:00 AM

Hudson -- Residents spoke out about concerns for additional traffic on Boston Mills Road, wetland contamination and Bald Eagles.

The legislation Council could vote on next month would rezone 91.5 acres on Boston Mills Road from commercial/industrial to residential and allow expansion of the Reserve at River Oaks residential development.

At a previous workshop, Council members agreed to listen to resident input at the public hearing April 16 and wait until May 7 to vote on the issue, allowing Council to discuss it at the April 22 workshop. Discussion from the workshop was after press time.

Eight residents spoke about their concerns of additional traffic on Boston Mills Road; the impact of the construction and residential homes on the wetlands; and a pair of nesting Bald Eagles near East Streetsboro Road.

One resident reminded Council that Arhaus Furniture was building its $35 million headquarters and warehouse on Hines Hill Road in the Village of Boston Heights this summer, and traffic would be impacted by the 230 plus new jobs.

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The Reserve at River Oaks preliminary plan for 144 lots has been approved, but one resident wanted Council to step back and do the development in stages to "see what happens first" with traffic.

Another resident asked about the extension of Pettit Road.

A couple who live on Boston Mills Road wanted the property to remain zoned commercial/industrial unless water and sewer lines were extended to nearby properties.

Council members, city staff and the developer, Prestige & Premier Co., answered questions.

The wetlands were delineated for the entire 445 acres, said city engineer Thom Sheridan. The traffic study was completed for the current residential phase of 144 lots but did not include the additional 88 lots if the 91.5 acres are rezoned.

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The Village of Boston Heights does not plan to improve Pettit Road and the only access to the northern section of the Reserve at River Oaks development will be by two access drives off Boston Mills Road, said Council President Hal DeSaussure. The second drive on Boston Mills Road was recommended by the planning commission.

Chris Brown said Prestige Homes has owned the commercially zoned property for 25 years but cannot find anyone to develop on the limited buildable space because of wetlands and required setbacks for a business. The same property would allow 88 residential homes to be built.

"We did a lot of research," Brown said. "How would this affect Hudson and neighboring communities, the tax base, schools and services? It benefits in all areas."

Brown said he worked with the Hudson Parks Department on a plan for connectivity for the development which has 103 homes off Boston Mills Road in the north and 41 homes off East Streetsboro Road in the south.

The two sections of residential home developments would be connected by a walkway on the edge of 218 acres of wetlands with an additional 98 acres of open space, Brown said. The wetlands are protected by non-profit Ohio Stream Preservation in Bainbridge, Brown added.

Brown has said the road will be built whether the property is rezoned or not to meet the planning commission request.

Community Development Director Mark Richardson said the issue before Council is the rezoning of the property from commercial/industrial to residential. After approval, Prestige Homes would apply for a preliminary plan approval for the additional 88 homes. The planning commission would review the preliminary plan and make recommendations to Council.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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