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Brimfield residents are concerned about a recent zoning change to Maplecrest Golf Club on Tallmadge Road that could bring shopping centers and manufacturing plants to their neighborhood.
Brimfield Township's Zoning Commission, under the recommendation of the Portage County Regional Planning Commission, changed the zoning of the golf course from residential-office to general commercial and light industrial. The change is in regards to zoning and everything else is for future consideration, Dick Messner, Brimfield Township zoning inspector, said.
DeHoff Development and Lemon & Lemon Development is proposing to put Menards, a home improvement store, and Meijer, a chain retailer with groceries, apparel, electronics and more, off Tallmadge Road. The other 71 acres in the back of the golf course, near Kent Displays and Rubbermaid, could include manufacturing plants, offices and research labs. A site plan has not yet been approved by the zoning commission or trustees.
The 120-acre golf course is located across the street from the Cascades Retail Center in Brimfield, which includes Lowe's Home Improvement and Walmart Supercenter. The Maplecrest Development would be a second large retail center on Tallmadge Road.
For residents, this could mean more noise and traffic along the already congested interchange.
"They're doubling the lanes literally right in front of our driveway," longtime Brimfield resident Roger Fiser said. "It's bad enough getting out of that driveway with one lane of traffic. I'm not opposed to this type of development, but I'm opposed to doing it when you basically shred the quality of life of the neighbors around you."
GPD Engineers are working on a Tallmadge Corridor roadway project to accommodate any future traffic that the Maplecrest Development will generate, but bids won't go out until 2020 with construction beginning in spring of 2021.
Cynthia Moore, who lives on Mogadore Road across the street from land zoned light industrial, said semi trucks dump asphalt concrete and fracking waste at all hours of the morning and night.
"They tell you 'light industrial is going to be quiet'," she said. "It's not true. I've always thought Brimfield was for the residents. I'm beginning to think Brimfield Township is for the money."
Trustee Mike Kostensky is concerned that the developers who are working with the mayor of Tallmadge and Portage County on the project are not including Brimfield trustees in the plans.
"It's our property," Kostensky said. "We want to see you succeed, but I have to look out for these residents. We can't take care of your issues with what we have here. We will be your partner, but we have to work together."
Linda Irving, whose family has owned Maplecrest Golf Course since 1939, was very emotional at the zoning commission meeting. She confirmed that her family's golf course is closed and the golf course is going to be developed somehow.
"This is very difficult for me," she said. "We know times have changed. The people who built the golf course are Brimfield Township residents. We're not getting getting money out of all this and leaving it in your backyard. We are still here. Work with us working with them to try to develop something that could be nice for Brimfield."
The Maplecrest Development, which is part of the area designated as a Joint Economic Development District between Brimfield and the City of Tallmadge, could bring additional income to Brimfield. Brimfield would receive all personal and real property taxes generated in the JEDD plus 45 percent of the income taxes generated in the JEDD.