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Tallmadge City Council mulls minor changes to site plan for downtown development

by ellin walsh | REPORTER Published: October 16, 2016 12:00 AM
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Tallmadge -- City Council is considering a revised site plan for phase one of The Village at Town Center, a mixed use development planned for 100 North Ave., due to the relocation of garages. The body is expected to vote on the matter at its Oct. 24 meeting.

Brandilyn Fry, associate principal of the applicant, Mota Design Group, spoke on behalf of the proposal during a public hearing conducted by the city's Planning and Zoning Commission Oct. 6. Testa Enterprises owns the property in question.

According to Fry, the original site plan was approved by City Council in November 2015. Phase one involves construction of a mixed-use building on slightly more than 8 acres beside City Hall. The structure will boast commercial and retail, with residential apartments on floors two through four.

Since the site plan was approved, modifications have been made. Under the revised site plan, an enclosed parking deck on the first floor of the building has been changed to individual garage units which will be attached to the structure. There will also be a detached garage erected on the northeast side of the property which will connect to the four-story building as well.

When construction bids came in, "we were significantly over budget," Fry explained, adding, "One of the most significant cost impacts to the project" was the enclosed parking garage .Based on recommendations from the construction manager, the parking was changed.

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The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the revised site plan by a 3-to-0 vote Oct. 6, with some additional conditions. Those include the addition of language specifying the number of parking spaces which will be created, a concern raised by member Dianne Sumeco.

While the developer had originally agreed to provide 185 parking spaces for the mixed-use building by the time phase one is complete, Fry said "we're pretty landlocked," and requested that number be reduced to 161 for the time-being. According to Fry, the 24 parking spaces being deferred will be added when a medical/office building is constructed on the site during another phase. The developer has agreed to provide 350 parking spaces when the site is totally developed.

"You have a lot planned for this site and it's going to be beautiful when it's done," Sumeco said, "but my concern is we're going to have all this stuff and no place for people to park and it's going to discourage people."

The applicant also must return to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a landscaping review, which will include additional screening on the east side of the site after consultation with the neighbors.

Jeffrey Longfellow of Highland Drive said he was originally promised a retaining wall, so residents wouldn't be looking at garages.

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Another Highland Drive resident, Yvonne Dickhaut, said she has no issue with the building that's going up. "We just have an issue with the dumpsters that are in our backyard and the windows that overlook ..." the backyard where her children play.

Tammy Mollohan said construction workers regularly throw branches into her Highland Drive backyard from the construction site. Fry said she would address the issue with the construction manager.

Mayor Dave Kline suggested a solid vinyl fence be installed along the back of the property in the next phase to keep trash from blowing into Highland residents' yards.

"We are on schedule and the development is coming along nicely," Joel A. Testa, president/chief operating officer for the Testa Companies, told the Tallmadge Express Oct. 6.

According to Fry, a June 30, 2017, completion date is eyed for phase one. She said a date has not been set for the renovation of the former Tallmadge Middle School portion.

Email: ewalsh@recordpub.com.Phone: 330-541-9419

Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC

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