I am writing to provide information about the process Granger Township is undertaking in its review of the proposed Menard’s development.
There have been several articles and editorials in the local newspapers in which reporters and writers have explained their understanding of the proceedings as well as their viewpoints.
It is important to understand that the zoning which regulates the proposed development is not new. The Planned Development District Overlay, which determines where a Planned Development District (PDD) may be located, was established in 2006. At that time the zoning commission held public hearings where members of the public gave their opinions on the establishment of the district.
Public hearings, as well as public meetings, are required to meet the advertising requirements established by the state of Ohio. Those meetings resulted in a recommendation by the zoning commission to the trustees. The trustees would have also held an advertised public hearing to consider and adopt the Planned Development District Overlay, also known as a map amendment.
Now, more than 10 years after the establishment of the overlay area, an application has been received to develop the site under the PDD regulations. The process began with a pre-application meeting at the zoning commission in which the developer presented its concept and initial drawings of the area to be developed.
This public meeting was prior to the developer making an application to the township. Information at the meeting was exchanged to provide two-way feedback but also understood that any document presented could change. Next, the developer made a preliminary application to the township zoning commission. These meetings took place from October 2019 through January 2020, at which time the zoning commission recommended approval, with conditions, to the trustees.
Because a PDD is a complex and large development project, the township collects deposits from the applicant for the purchase of third-party consultants to help the zoning commission and the trustees during the review process. The consulting firm hired, CT Consultants, has represented the township since the application of its first PDD in 2018.
It is important to understand the consultant represents the township and not the applicant. Throughout this process, CT Consultants has provided valuable consultation to the zoning commission and trustees.
In addition to the extensive review of the zoning commission, assisted by the professional firm of CT Consultants, the Medina County Planning Department examined the project through its Major Subdivision Review process. In this process, professionals from Medina County Highway Engineers Office, Soil and Water, Sanitary Engineer, Park District as well as the Summit County Highway Engineers office and Ohio Department of Transportation reviewed both the pre-application plan and, lastly, the preliminary application of the development.
The idea of the major subdivision review is to allow the professionals from the aforementioned areas to provide comment and recommendation. The result of the review of the preliminary application was a recommended approval with modifications. After the recommendation was made, it was forwarded to the zoning commission for its consideration.
After much scrutiny, the preliminary application will now come before the board of trustees March 12. We have listened to the concerns of the public, and as we consider the application, we will use the guidance of our regulations, the consultation of our professional consultant, as well as the review and recommendations made at the county and township level.
The Menard’s PDD proposed plan includes approximately 125 acres of which more than 50 percent will remain open space. It also keeps all access points on state Route 18 and off Medina Line Road so that the commercial impact is directed towards the commercial corridor. Development will increase traffic, but by utilizing the PDD provisions, there will be far fewer curb cuts onto state Route 18 than if this area were developed without its provisions. Further, the PPD language allows the township additional latitude in landscaping and buffering so that we can obtain consistency and protection of surrounding properties.
The public should know that the zoning commission consists of township residents who serve their community by attending monthly meetings. Further, they review the agenda items in between meetings on their own time. For their efforts, they receive a $35.00 per meeting stipend.
Their service, as well as the service of the Board of Zoning Appeals members, is much appreciated by the township and is an important part of our civic process. It should be obvious that each member serves out of a sense of civic pride and not for the small payment per meeting.