Broadview Heights officials at odds with Brecksville over proposed development

by Melissa Martin and Dan Holland

A 60-lot subdivision proposed for Brecksville’s southwest corner has received pushback from Broadview Heights following the Petros Development Group’s announcement that an extension of Wilmington Drive would provide the neighborhood’s only access.

Wilmington Drive, located in Broadview Heights off Boston Road, runs north then east into Brecksville, where the proposed ranch-style development targeting empty nesters would be constructed. It would be situated just north of the Four Seasons subdivision and south of the Ohio Turnpike.

The developer of the project initially requested the 47-acre site be rezoned from R-40, which calls for 40,000-square-foot lots, to R-8, which would allow 8,000-square-foot lots.

In its application to the city, Petros Development Group said the existing R-40 zoning would create “a more sprawling development footprint that would leave little to no buffer against the existing residents to the south in Four Seasons.” He said reducing lot sizes would mean removal of fewer trees and more screening between the homes in Four Seasons and the proposed homes.

“This is the best product we believe is needed and the least impact on the neighbors that are there,” Petros told the planning commission June 9.

The Brecksville Planning Commission disagreed and asked the developer to use either R-20 zoning, which would require 20,000-square-foot lots, or the current R-40. Members also advised Petros Development to discuss the proposal with Broadview Heights officials, given the singular route in and out of the development.

Commission members said existing Wilmington area residents who live in R-40 districts purchased 40,000-square-foot lots with the expectation that R-40 zoning would be in force for undeveloped land around them.

Petros told the planning commission that Broadview Heights had already agreed to cooperate with his plans, noting the neighboring community would provide police, fire and emergency medical services if Brecksville declined.

Broadview Heights Mayor Sam Alai disagreed when the topic arose during a July 5 city council meeting, arguing he hadn’t spoken to the developer and never offered the use of city services.

“Nor would I offer snow removal, garbage pick-up or sewer service,” Alai said. “I have informed [Brecksville] Mayor Jerry Hruby of this, and he understands our position is only offering the city of Brecksville mutual aid in cases of emergency anywhere in that city like they do with us.

“Furthermore, Mr. Petros stated that we have a 55-and-older community in the New Hampton subdivision. We do not have a 55-and-older community anywhere in the city of Broadview Heights; we have no such zoning. We have no agreement with the city of Brecksville, and we have no agreement with any developer.”

Broadview Heights Councilperson Tom Pavlica, whose Ward 1 includes Wilmington Drive, said a number of residents have approached him with concerns over the impact the proposal could have on Wilmington Drive and the surrounding neighborhood.

“You will have heavy equipment driving down Wilmington Drive, such as trucks with back-hoes on them, loaders, dozers, concrete trucks, large dump trucks filled with stone, and the deterioration of the road is not going to be able to take this,” said Pavlica.

He also cited concerns over additional traffic, stormwater runoff and an increase in flow into existing sanitary sewer lines.

“I think the city really needs to look hard at this,” Pavlica added. “They probably should have foreseen this when they built Four Seasons; that it is going to landlock this property. Obviously, they didn’t take that into consideration. Perhaps another access drive off Boston Road would be better for this.

“These are just a few things that I can think of right now that we should take into consideration before we move forward in allowing this to happen. I don’t believe that this should happen, in my opinion, and the residents of New Hampton believe that also.”

Robert Boldt, Broadview Heights’ city council president, said any negotiations with Brecksville would have to go through Alai’s office then have council approval.

Revised plans for the project have yet to be discussed by Brecksville’s planning commission. ∞