Painesville Township trustees rezone North Ridge corridor for commercial use

Feb. 11—Painesville Township's trustees have unanimously voted to rezone properties along North Ridge Road for commercial use.

The Feb. 6 decision changes 37 properties in the eastern portion of the township from industrial zoning to B-2 general retail zoning, said township Planning and Zoning Director Harley DeLeon. The properties are located along sections of U.S. Route 20 east of Mantle Road and west of Bowhall Road.

The township zoning resolution states that the new designation will allow for offices, professional services, enclosed retail, restaurants, professional care services, banks and other commercial uses.

"As that area starts to be less rural and more residential, we had to see some adjustments," said Trustee Gabe Cicconetti.

He referenced the upcoming Villages at Casement development, which is south of the rezoned properties. That development could include up to 1,776 residential units, a mixed-use district and a town center on 395 acres of land, according to a preliminary development plan that the trustees approved in August.

"This will allow for future development to fall in line with more residential area than the previous industrial and type of farmland that was used there previously," he said. "So, as that develops, we see a need, possibly, for more business and community-based businesses and retail."

Trustee Chuck Hillier added that the township will be installing a new sanitary sewer in the area.

"We want to have a nicer corridor that's more business-friendly, better for the township, and that will allow things like commercial or office spaces to go in," he said.

Cicconetti said that existing businesses will be able to continue to operate as legal non-conforming uses, provided that they follow the previous industrial zoning rules and make no "major upgrades or changes" to their properties.

The township's zoning commission opened a public hearing on the request during its Dec. 11 meeting. DeLeon said at the time that the trustees initiated the rezoning proposal.

The commission continued the public hearing to its Jan. 8 meeting, when it unanimously voted to recommend approval of an amended proposal.

The initial application proposed rezoning the 37 parcels of land to B-3 commercial, but the Lake County Planning Commission recommended that the township remove six properties and change to B-2 general retail. The B-3 designation would have allowed for the same uses as B-2, in addition to certain auto sales and adult-oriented businesses.

Rezoning the region for commercial use was a goal of the the township's 2017 comprehensive plan. It described the area at the time as "a strip pattern with vacant, warehouse and residential property scattered throughout."

The plan called the northeastern portion of the township "the region with the greatest potential for development."