By Jeff Gallatin
City Council officials plan to introduce legislation at a special meeting Monday that would open discussions about putting on the ballot the rezoning of Cahoon Road property for the development of attached housing.
The move stems from a recent proposal by developer Andrew Brickman to city administration and council officials about building about two dozen luxury apartments on both sides of the Cahoon Creek area. The Cahoon Creek property is located near the old Shell gas station property, which the city rezoned about two years ago to allow for the construction of attached housing.
At the June 24 City Council meeting, council members indicated they wanted to have a discussion about rezoning the parcels near Cahoon Creek for attached housing, adding that if approved, it could be utilized by any developer, not just Brickman.
Council Vice President Mike Young said Friday the related legislation will be introduced on first reading and will go for a full three readings. In addition, he said, a public hearing on the matter will be set up.
“We want to hear what the public has to say on this and how people feel about this,” he said. “I also would expect that council will have a lot of discussion about how we proceed with all of this.”
If a rezoning proposal goes on the ballot, it would have to approved by both Ward 2 voters (the ward where the property is located), and city voters overall, for it to be approved. To put any issue on the November 2013 ballot, Bay Village would have to have the proposal to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections by Aug. 7. To have three readings and a public hearing on any legislation, council would have to several special meetings, since it’s normally in summer recess in July.
At the June 24 council meeting, Bay Village law Director Gary Ebert said both of the Cahoon Road property owners are asking council to allow their property to be rezoned, so they can seek developers interested in using the property. Brickman told council he has options on the land he wants to use for his apartments. In addition, he told council and reiterated later that he would want tax abatements or some form of public investment for him to proceed with any Bay Village project. He has similar projects in Cleveland, Rocky River and Lakewood and is working on a Fairview Park proposal as well.
Young said he would expect tax abatement proposals to draw a lot of discussion from council and the public.
“There are a lot of opinions on it on council alone,” he said. “There would have to be a lot of talks to determine where we stand as to what we would put in any proposal in terms of possible abatement or incentives.”
Citizens at the June 24 council meeting spoke against abatement. Susan Murnane questioned why it should be offered to a developer, noting taxes for all Bay Village residents are high.
“All of us would love tax abatement,” she said.
Mayor Debbie Sutherland Friday reiterated her belief that for any current development project to go forward – be it in Bay Village or elsewhere in northern Ohio – there has to be some form of public investment.
“It’s how it is done in the current economic climate,” she said. “It could be the tax abatement or something from a city. Or it even could be something from another public entity, like Cuyahoga County. But all the current successful projects include public investment.”