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TWINSBURG – The city’s planning commission on June 27 approved a final site plan for Phase 1 of an orthodontist’s three-building project on a vacant plot of Darrow Road between Tinkers Lane/Richner Court and the drive to access to Wilcox School.

The first 3,352 square foot building on the 1.7 acre lot would be occupied by Holt Orthodontics, which plans to move from the Chicago area. The site is in the C-5 residential/business mixed zoning area.

This designation was established to encourage compact, sustainable, mixed-use development in the central part of the city. Professional and medical practices are permitted uses in their own right, and multiple uses are permitted on the same lot.

The building and driveway are oriented to the Darrow Road frontage. The phased construction of two additional buildings is being considered, but is not part of the final approved site plan for Phase 1. All proposed buildings would be single storey.

The plan for the commercial complex indicates future consolidation of three parcels, minimum setbacks and maintenance considerations for the common elements of the site. Parking would be primarily inside the site.

Twenty-five parking spaces are proposed for phase 1, while 59 spaces are proposed for all three phases. The parking spaces would be supported by a 24-foot-wide, two-way driveway.

The main elevation of the Phase 1 building would face Darrow Road, while later buildings would face the interior parking area.

Since the City Engineer requires the access drive to be at least 100 feet from the signposted intersection of Darrow and Tinkers Lane/Richner Court, the developer changed the location from Richner to Darrow Road, which to which panelist Steve Shebeck objected.

Shebeck and David Kleinman were not supportive of the sitemap, unlike the other three panelists. Conditions for site plan approval are consolidation of the three lots, engineer’s approval of a stormwater plan, and future changes must be approved by the planning committee.

DRIVE-IN SERVICE – MAP

The panel filed a plan to reconfigure the Starbucks drive-thru lane at the southwest corner of East Aurora and Darrow roads pending further study.

This map shows the site of a planned shopping complex (red rectangles) at Darrow Road and Tinkers Lane/Richner Court, which will include offices for Holt Orthodontics.

Starbucks wants to reconfigure the drive-thru to create additional vehicle stacking capacity because stacking outside the drive-thru lane disrupts on-site vehicle traffic around the three-tenant building and the PNC Bank, and block parking spaces.

The cafe shares a building with Verizon and Fed Ex. The drive-thru is behind the building (south side) and was approved through the site plan review process in 2006.

Adjacent land uses include PNC Bank to the west, Darrow Road to the east, East Aurora Road and Twinsburg Square to the north, and multi-tenant Cashelmara Plaza to the south.

The redesigned drive-thru lane was proposed to increase vehicle stacking during rush hour and reduce the risk of car stacking around the building and on East Aurora Road. Storage capacity would increase from eight to 13 vehicles.

The traffic system on the site consists of three entrances – East Aurora Road, Darrow Road and the commercial area to the south. The proposed drive-thru and taxiways are located within a 30 foot wide access easement granted to the bank.

PNC Bank does not have a cut curb on its East Aurora Road frontage and must be accessed from the driveway provided by the traffic light easement at East Aurora Road/Church Street and through Cashelmara Plaza.

City planner Lynn Muter said that for some time customers, tenants and property owners adjacent to the Starbucks site have expressed traffic and parking issues associated with the existing drive-thru.

Shebeck called the existing traffic pattern “a mess”. While he admitted Starbucks’ reconfiguration plan would be an improvement, he said more studies were needed for an even better plan. Planning committee chair Marc Cohen agreed.

Panelists suggested that Starbucks officials discuss traffic improvement plans with officials from PNC Bank and other affected companies and try to come up with a better plan that would benefit everyone.

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