NORTH ROYALTON – Preliminary, conceptual site plans for the Bennett’s Corners development have been given the green light by planning commission.
Members seem pleased to see, what’s been referred to repeatedly as the “mini Crocker Park,” on the horizon for the community. Most everyone said they agreed something like this is needed in North Royalton.
A few nearby residents attended the recent meeting where the project was discussed in depth to learn more about the development and asked questions pertaining to proximity and storm water.
Bill Baumann, the North Royalton resident and businessman who owns the 13-acre site on West 130 Street between Boston and Bennett roads, and his team presented preliminary plans and conceptual ideas for that property and answered those questions.
Residents live immediately adjacent to the southeast portion of the project on Boston.
Another lives to the northeast on Old Bennett next to the three homes Baumann owns that will eventually come down to make way for the development.
A later phase of the project includes a residential component with 18-20 single family homes that will provide a buffer between the project and residents on Boston.
Baumann promised that the development would be mindful of neighbors.
“We’re always going to be mindful, and the city will be there monitoring it. You can’t just build anything. You have to go through them, and they will approve it before anything is done,” he said.
Same goes for this project in relation to storm water.
“There is going to be retention. The city is not going to let us do just anything. It all has to be designed and engineered before anything can be put into place,” Baumann said.
This project will include the construction of a retention basin near the creek that runs along the southern border of the project. Baumann said it should act to slow any storm water heading into that creek and actually improve conditions for neighbors, preventing any issues there.
He said he has high hopes for this project. As a resident, he believes it is needed.
“I hope it happens. We’ll see if it can get some legs. I think it will. We’re going to take it a little bit slower to be sure we get the right people up there. But the area really needs this,” Baumann said.
Planning commission Vice Chair Timothy Miller said this is a great idea for a region that’s still on the mend.
“It’s a good thing for North Royalton. I think Royalton is on the uptick like most of northeast Ohio. It’s in the early stages. We’ll see where it goes,” he said.
Planning commission Member Frank Castrovillari likes what he sees so far.
“This is something Royalton really doesn’t have. This will be fabulous for North Royalton. Upscale restaurants will be going in which is something Royalton really needs. The outdoor courtyard will allow for nightlife, maybe a bar will have different bands come in. Maybe a restaurant will have seating outside. It’ll be nice to have something like that here,” he said.
He said the city is very much aware of the neighborhood, especially when it comes to storm water.
“When the project moves along, there will be regulations that deal with those issues. Plans did show a retention pond, so hopefully that will alleviate any issues the site may have,” Castrovillari said.
He did admit that he is a bit concerned with the site’s location being in the far southwest corner of town, but is hopeful it won’t have too much of an impact.
“I hope the fact that it’s a little off the beaten path, off the highway, doesn’t impact it that much. But you know what they say, if you build it, they will come,” he said. “Royalton needs this.”
Royalton Corners or the Shops at South Market, as the development might be named, will feature six buildings with shops on the first levels and office space above, very much resembling the Crocker Park-style feel but on a much smaller scale.
These shops would house restaurants, higher-end destination retail and professional offices with a portion of land set aside for the single-family residential development in the future.
The early site plan calls for two one-story buildings along the West 130th side of the property between Bennett and Boston that will be home to two national retailers.
The main portion of the development, in the center of the property, consists of one three-story building and two two-story buildings with retailers on the ground floor and offices above. These buildings are situated in such a way creating the outdoor courtyard for the nightlife aspect.
On the far eastern edge of the property, there is a one-story building planned as well.
Baumann said the goal would be to do this project in phases. A construction start date and timeline are dependent upon the quickness of securing interested tenants.
Mayor Bob Stefanik, a planning commission member, said the city will make sure the project is considerate of the neighborhood.
“The questions that were asked were the typical questions when a large developer comes in when you’re the neighbor. Neighbors are concerned when something changes in their neighborhood. I understand,” Stefanik said. “We’re not going to let someone come up and not be considerate of the neighborhood.”
As for water concerns, he said the retention pond is being constructed at the lowest spot to collect rainwater.
“The next door neighbors were delighted to see that that will collect water going into that creek,” the mayor said. “Everything will be done with the neighborhood in mind.
Council President Larry Antoskiewicz, who also serves on planning, said the city has worked aggressively the past seven years to reverse the storm water issues that plagued the city in the past.
“We have worked so hard to try to control the storm water that I believe all of us on planning are cognizant of any storm water issues and what needs to be done. What has happened in the past has made us so aware,” he said. “We have seen how development has gone in and no one paid attention to, outside the scope of the project, where that water was going. We are very aware of that and will do everything to make sure this won’t create a problem, but will instead, improve the situation.”
He said he was glad to see residents come out in the early stages of the project, which is the best time to voice any questions or concerns.
Baumann will have to appear before planning again for final site approval once his plans are more complete.