By Kevin Kelley
At their Dec. 19 meeting, the Cleveland Metroparks Board of Commissioners failed to grant final approval for Abode Living’s Riversouth luxury townhouse project at the eastern end of Lorain Road. Instead, the trustees said they wanted additional assurances that construction of the townhouses would not cause erosion of the slope into the Rocky River Valley of the Metroparks.
Although Abode owns the property, the Metroparks has a decades-old easement that prohibits construction on certain sections. Abode had convinced the Metroparks board to modify the easement last year. The final construction plan for the townhouse project required some changes to the modification.
Fairview Park officials and Abode general partner Andrew Brickman said they were not expecting the board’s actions.
“I was surprised,” Brickman said, “but I am confident we can continue to work with the Metroparks to successfully address the issue. Thus far, [Metroparks Executive Director] Brian Zimmerman and his staff have been excellent to work with. While this has temporarily delayed our efforts, we are continuing to move forward and anticipate that, with the guidance of Mayor [Eileen] Patton and Economic Development Director [Rob] Berner of Fairview Park and the Metroparks staff, we will resolve in the very near future.”
Berner told West Life he believes the board’s concerns can be addressed. He said the city has sent the board a list of actions that will be required of Abode. Among these are a special construction bond that would specifically pay for any slope erosion problems, should they arise, and language in the Riversouth homeowners association agreement that would hold the Metroparks blameless for any future slope problems.
The funeral home that currently sits on the Riversouth property encroaches much more significantly onto the Metroparks easement than the townhouses will, Berner noted.
Berner said Metroparks staff members he and Abode had worked with had appeared to be content with Abode’s construction plans. But board commissioners Bruce Rinker and Dan Moore had further questions about the slope issue and wanted responsibility for any future slope problems to rest with the builder and not the Metroparks. Board member Debra Berry recused herself from the vote because she had purchased a property from Abode.
Brickman told West Life that the starting price for Riversouth’s 36 townhouses will be $239,000. He said he has received considerable interest from potential buyers. Like most new development in Fairview Park, the townhouses qualify for seven years of property tax abatement.
Cleveland Metroparks officials did not respond to West Life’s request for comment by press time.