WADSWORTH – The Restored Church of God could be obtaining an additional 50 acres of land adjacent to its campus on Ambassador Drive if a land purchase agreement is successfully finalized by the end of this month as anticipated.
The church’s plans for this land were discussed at a planning commission meeting Sept. 9.
William Behrer, director of community relations for the Restored Church of God, said that about 25 acres of the land will be used for agricultural purposes.
Behrer said the agricultural area will act as an educational tool, training others how to properly grow food so they can pass along this information in other countries where food is scarce.
“It is to show people how to analyze the soil as God created it and how to restore the soil without the use of pesticides or other chemicals,” Behrer said.
Another portion of the land would be used for recreational purposes such as ball fields and church-owned houses would be constructed on a small portion of the land to provide a place for church faculty to live while they are in the area.
Mayor Robin Laubaugh, who is a member of the planning commission, said plans show up to eight residential units on a cul-de-sac. She said that the land is zoned low density residential and added that the number of houses would be appropriate for a piece of land with that kind of zoning.
Laubaugh said that the main issue discussed by planning commission was Ambassador Drive.
If this land purchase goes through, Ambassador Drive would be extended to Hartman Road. The existing portion of Ambassador Drive which provides access to Giant Eagle and GetGo from Akron Road would remain a public road, but church officials would like to make the rest of Ambassador Drive a private road which would be maintained by the church.
“Really it would be a benefit to the taxpayers because the road would not be maintained by the city,” Behrer said.
Laubaugh said the city’s comprehensive plan had included plans to have a public road that would lead motorists from Hartman to the commercial development on Akron Road.
“This was added before improvements were made to the intersection of Hartman and Akron roads,” Laubaugh said. “Now that this intersection has been improved we would encourage people to use the intersection instead of a cut through street. I think the staff’s recommendation that a public street is no longer needed is appropriate.”
Because the majority of Ambassador Drive would be private, church officials said they would like to put up a gate on the road.
Laubaugh said that the city’s safety forces would still want to have access to the road.
“Council might discuss options to make the road accessible to our safety forces for safety reasons,” Laubaugh said.
Behrer said that, if the purchase goes through, he doesn’t expect any work on the land to begin until next spring.
“We would need to work with the city and with planning commission to get the proper approvals before we could begin,” he said.
Behrer said the church is currently focusing on the completion of a mail processing center and a media center on the property that the church already owns. These buildings are expected to be complete this fall.
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