By Kevin Kelley
The Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners gave its approval Jan. 29 to Abode Living’s planned luxury townhouse development at the eastern end of the city.
The development, known as Riversouth, will consist of 36 townhouse units. The townhouses will be built on the Mandley-Vetrovsky Funeral Home property at the eastern end of Lorain Road.
The Metroparks holds has an easement dating to 1924 that prohibits construction on certain sections of the property, namely 20 feet from the top of the Rocky River valley in the Metroparks. Abode obtained a modification of that easement in November 2012.
However, Abode owner Andrew Brickman flirted with the idea of building an office building on the site last summer. When he settled on the townhouse plan, the layout of the development was modified. Cleveland Metroparks officials said that meant the easement issue had to be readdressed.
The Metroparks board deferred the matter at its Dec. 19 meeting, saying more study was needed.
Metroparks officials said they worked with Abode over a considerable period of time to reach a mutual agreement on the easement, according to a recording of the board of park commissioners’ Jan. 29 meeting.
“We went back and forth with the developer Abode to minimize and reduce what he was asking to change in the easement,” said Rose Fini, the Metroparks’ chief legal officer.
Bruce Zimmerman, the Metroparks’ chief executive officer, said the final compromise with Abode will result in an actual reduction of the current easement encroachment by existing buildings.
Richard Kerber, chief of planning and design for the Metroparks, said the funeral home buildings now on the property encroach a total of 1,440 square feet on the easement. Abode’s original plan encroached 530 square feet. The new plan, which includes an adjacent parcel, encroaches a total of 977 square feet, of which 388 square feet is either a balcony or a canopy encroachment. Much of the encroachment in the new plan is on the adjacent parcel, which is farther away from the Metroparks’ property line.
The resolution approved by the park commissioners also specified that the Metroparks shall not be held financially or legally liable for any future slope erosion problems on the property. It also mandates that the Metroparks be listed as a party on the performance bond required of the developer by the city.
Fairview Park Mayor Eileen Patton told commissioners that the proposed development has been scrutinized at public hearings and meetings of City Council and the planning and design commission.
“This is a really important project for our city,” Patton said.
Brenda Rodriguez, Abode’s marketing director, said construction at Riversouth should begin in the early spring or summer, with the first units completed by the end of the year.