CLEVELAND.COM | construction attorney, John Swansinger, quoted regarding his representation of Citizens of Sensibility in Medina

Medina developer’s plan for 15 houses off Miller Road in Brecksville faces pushback

Originally published on Cleveland.com on April 13, 2020

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — Plans by Medina developer W.J. Bailey Homes to build a 15-lot subdivision off the south side of Miller Road, just west of Interstate 77, may not come to fruition.

The Brecksville Planning Commission in February said the proposal, due at least partly to the presence of wetlands, would overdevelop the property, according to meeting minutes.

Commission member Dominic Sciria asked Bailey to consider building five or six “estate-style” homes on the land instead.

Further, a group of about 10 to 15 residents living near the site has hired an attorney to oppose the plan as presented by Bailey. The group, calling itself Citizens for Sensibility, are worried that the development would worsen flooding on their properties, draw too much additional traffic and lower their property values.

“My group believes this is not a buildable lot and that they (Bailey) are trying to jam this development in for economic reasons,” John Swansinger, the attorney representing Citizens For Sensibility, told cleveland.com last week.

“We are trying to hold the developer and the Planning Commission accountable and make sure this plan is properly vetted,” Swansinger said.

William Bailey, of W.J. Bailey Homes, didn’t return emails asking whether he would change his plan to five or six homes, as Sciria suggested.

It was about a year ago that Bailey first proposed the development, now dubbed Hidden Hollow, for four lots totaling about 20 acres between Katherine Boulevard to the east and Barr Road to the west. The site is behind existing residential parcels on both Miller and Barr.

The subdivision site is about 1 mile west of Valor Acres, a multiple-use development proposed for the former site of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital at Miller and Brecksville roads.

The Sherwin-Williams Co. plans to build a research-and-development center in Valor Acres, which might also include stores, restaurants, apartments, hotels, hospitals and/or manufacturing plants.

Originally, Bailey proposed 17 homes on a new street leading south off Miller. Wetlands were an issue from the beginning, and at least partly led to Bailey reducing the number of lots to 16, then 15.

In August, city Engineer Gerald Wise questioned whether Bailey could build on some lots, due to wetlands there. At a previous commission meeting, Wise said that wetlands restrictions could prohibit cutting trees, changing grades, increasing traffic and building fences, playground and pools, among other development activities.

At a February commission meeting, Sciria found problems with five lots because they encroached wetlands. By that time, he had also wondered if Bailey could even sell some lots because of their proximity to high-tension power lines.

Commission members said that although the lots met the city’s size requirements, they had to consider other factors, including stormwater drainage.

Randy Zack, a Miller Road resident, told the commission that the new entrance road to Hidden Hollow would run about 30 feet from his home. He said his basement has flooded more than 30 times over the years and he was concerned that Hidden Hollow would cause more stormwater to flow onto his property.

 

 

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