Council sides with citizens

April 30, 2010

Despite recommendations for approval from Akron's Planning Department and Planning Commission, City Council rejected a request Monday evening to rezone property at the northeast corner of Ridgewood and South Miller Roads to construct a martial arts studio and lifestyle office suites.

Residents spoke out against the rezoning at a public hearing before Council on April 12, and more than 200 area residents signed a petition to block the construction. "We respected the wishes of the neighborhood," said Jeff Fusco, At Large Councilman and Chairman of Council's Planning Committee. "We value good development in our city, and we believe this is a good project. We hope we can work with the developer to find other suitable land for this opportunity."

The developer had requested conditional use zoning of three lots that are zoned residential to construct a 7,250 square-foot, single story office building. At the public hearing, he said that the lots are not suitable for residential development because of their proximity to the Ridgewood-Miller Road / I-77 interchange and a nearby gas station and office building.

Objecting residents said they were concerned about increased traffic and preferred that trees be planted on the lots to block noise from the expressway. Fusco noted that this was not the first time a developer had asked Council to rezone those residential lots and that the previous request also was denied.