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Brimfield Township Trustees voted to rezone the former Maplecrest Golf Club on Tallmadge Road from residential-office to general commercial and light industrial at a public hearing March 8. The vote was made unanimously after the township's zoning commission held two public hearings and consulted with Portage County Regional Planning last month to approve the zoning change that will bring new development to Brimfield.
The meeting, which was held in the fire station bay, was packed by residents, developers, Mayor Dave Kline and GPD engineers who are all working together on the Maplecrest development.
The proposal to change the zoning and bring new development to the township was submitted by McKinley Development, a consortium of DeHoff and Lemon & Lemon Development of North Canton, after Maplecrest, a third generation family run golf course, closed.
Dan DeHoff took the podium on behalf of his family to give an overview of the proposal, a partnership between the DeHoff and Lemon family that has been in existence from more than 25 years. All of their development projects are within a two hour drive of North Canton, he said, including a golf course, shopping centers, such as Giant Eagle, 1,000 acres of industrial parks and most recently Danbury Senior Living in Tallmadge.
DeHoff wants to develop the 127-acre golf course into 56 acres of retail and 71 acres of light industrial. A site plan, which is yet to be submitted to the zoning commission for approval, suggests a Menards and Meijer will be built in the front of the golf course.
Menards is a home improvement store. Meijer is like a "Giant Eagle Market District attached to a Target," DeHoff said.
There are three major concerns involving the Maplecrest development: traffic, too much retail and industrial opportunity.
Ryan Gillespie of GPD Group said they have been working with Portage County engineers to develop an improvement project for Tallmadge Road, Mogadore Road and Interstate 76 and they are now in the process of preparing a traffic impact study for the Maplecrest development.
"We don't disagree this is going to have a traffic impact," Gillespie said. "We're looking at all intersections and roadways around this area and making sure the plan to improve Tallmadge Road and the county roads will make it better for not just the people who live and drive through there currently, but the people we expect to come to this area."
The new development will be built across the street from the Cascades of Brimfield, which includes Walmart and Lowe's. There is concern that Menards would put Lowe's out of business, but "retail likes retail," DeHoff said.
"Even though they compete, they have the food court concept," DeHoff said. "Co-tenancy is important to retailers. The more retails collaborate together, the better they all do."
The Maplecrest Development is part of a large area designated as a Joint Economic District (JEDD) between Brimfield and Tallmadge, which means Brimfield will provide police, fire and EMS services within the JEDD, but will also receive property taxes that offset the cost of providing those services.
"This JEDD has done nothing but benefit this township," Trustee Mike Kostensky said. "This year, we're projected to receive from Walmart about $800,000 for Brimfield."
Kostensky noted that if it wasn't for revenue coming in from the JEDD, the township wouldn't have been able to make payroll this year and would have had to place a levy to voters for operating expenses.
"What people don't see is the cooperation we have with Tallmadge, the cooperation we have with Kent," Kostensky said. "We have been working with the mayor with his police chief and fire chief and he's approached us with the possibility of helping us with some of the added services."
At the public hearing, several residents addressed their concerns about the new development, from traffic to noise. Many residents from Just Cricket Condominiums, which borders the back of the property, are upset about noise and declining property value. DeHoff said there will be a 138-foot wide buffer zone with a six to eight foot mound with trees on top to separate the properties from the new development.
The trustees reminded residents that this public hearing is just to rezone Maplecrest to allow for future development. There will be several public discussions in the future on the proposed site plan and roadway projects are projected to begin on time to tackle traffic concerns before the opening of the new stores.