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TWINSBURG — Despite intense opposition from several Old Mill Road residents, the city’s planning commission favored a final site plan for two large industrial buildings on the north side of the road, just east of Darrow Road.

At its May 16 meeting, the committee sent a positive site plan recommendation to City Council for what is being called Project Gumbo, which involves erecting 299,000 and 156,000 square foot buildings on the north and the west of many houses.

Scannell Properties has proposed development of the 33.5 acres east of Siffron in the I-2 Limited Industrial Zoning District, and is working to finalize the purchase of an adjoining 1.5 acre residential property.

Emotions ran high at a handful of meetings because nearby residents said the project would negatively impact their lives and possibly reduce the value of their properties.

“These plans have been reviewed by a number of local, state and federal professionals and approvals have been given,” planning committee chairman Marc Cohen said.

“We have to rely on these professionals for information so that we can make decisions. Although I wish the development was smaller than what is offered, Scannell followed all procedures, codes and regulations.

The panel vote was 3 to 1 in favor of the sitemap, with Michael Walker voting “no” and Cohen, Steve Shebeck and David Kleinman voting “yes”. Kraig Shipley was absent.

Some revisions to the original plans were described by Matt Weber of Weber Engineering, including reducing the width of a building’s facade from 240 to 210 feet, eliminating an 18-foot-tall barrier wall, and relocation of a port lane for trucks.

“We worked within the guidelines presented to us,” Weber said. “We have completed studies, received approval from multiple regulatory agencies, and received or applied for wetland permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers.”

Some of the infrastructure improvements proposed by Scannell are the addition of an Old Mill turning lane at Darrow, changing the signage at the intersection, landscaping to conceal buildings from neighboring houses and sidewalks along of Old Mill.

City planner Lynn Muter said Summit County officials said they would support lowering the speed limit to 35 mph on the Old Mill Township side, and Twinsburg Township administrators said they would support that.

Neighboring residents have expressed concerns about truck and car traffic accessing the property from Old Mill Road, fumes from trucks, how the project will affect their water wells and nearby wetlands and streams, bright lighting and noise.

The main theme expressed by residents is that the industrial development “is not harmonious with the surrounding neighborhood”. They were particularly critical of Old Mill Road, rather than Darrow, being the access point to the property.

City officials explained that the reason access is not possible from Darrow is that no easements were obtained to extend East Summit Commerce Park Drive east from Darrow when the installation of Siffron was built.

Weber said Scannell tried to buy a small parcel from Siffron so that the two proposed buildings could be located farther west, but that attempt failed.

ADDING STORAGE

The panel approved a final site plan for a 2,000 square foot storage building behind Summit Sound & Security at 8027 Darrow Road, south of Old Mill Road and north of Darrow Road Plaza.

TLJ Cos. LLC wants to erect the addition on its 0.75 acre lot in the C-2 Community Commercial Zoning District. Summit Sound occupies 3,000 square feet of the existing building, with Subway occupying the remaining 1,788 square feet.

Thirty-two parking spaces are available for Summit Sound and Subway, including 13 on-site and 19 on the adjacent Havana’s Cigars property. There is a shared access drive off Darrow Road for both properties.

A side lot setback waiver was granted by the Zoning Appeal Board.

The planning committee changed its next meeting date from June 20 to June 27 because the city will observe the old date as the June 19 holiday.

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