St. Maron’s pavilion, center for disabled adults under consideration

by Laura Bednar

Jan. 2 planning commission meeting

St. Maron Church at 7800 Brookside Rd. proposed building a 12,500-square-foot open-air pavilion on church property for use by the church and parishioners.

Contractor Joey Mannarino of Transitions Management Group said a portion of the pavilion would be enclosed with a kitchen and bathrooms. He added that there will be mounding and vegetation around the pavilion to prevent lights from shining into neighbors’ homes.

During the public hearing, Dania Drive resident Tom MeWhinney stated his concern about the potential lighting. He said his neighbors have existing church lights shining into their homes.

Mannarino said the lighting would include one sight line pole leading to the pavilion and the rest would be sconces on the structure itself. He added that the lights would be pointed towards the pavilion.

Resident Tamara Prochaska asked if parishioners would use the main church entrance and driveway to access the pavilion. Mannarino said they would. She said during the church’s summer festival, people used her property on Brookside Road to turn their cars around, causing damage to her yard.

Mayor Greg Kurtz suggested the city engineer and a St. Maron representative meet with her for a site visit to define property lines.

Dania Drive resident Mark Chaney asked how many people the pavilion could hold and how the developer arrived at the number. Architect Tyler Rice said the pavilion had a maximum of 500 people, per fire code regulations.

Planning commission member Joseph Moeller asked if the pavilion would host weddings or other potentially noisy gatherings on a regular basis. St. Maron’s parish secretary said the pavilion would likely be host to baptism and first communion receptions, and wedding or baby showers, all of which typically take place during daytime hours. She added that most weddings take place at St. Maron’s Cleveland location downtown.

Kurtz said he wanted assurance that the west side of the church property would remain undeveloped and that light was shielded from Brookside and Dania residents. The proposal was tabled until the Feb. 6 planning commission meeting.

Two representatives from Empowered Community Services of Independence proposed constructing a new 7,287-square-foot one-story training center for adults with disabilities at 4849 Acorn Dr. The organization provides community-based and traditional day services and transportation for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, according to its website.

“The goal is to help folks become more independent,” said Joe Kowalski, a representative from the organization.

Empowered Community Services works with an adult’s county-appointed case manager to help the adult set goals and achieve them. Kowalski said the center would serve 65 individuals with 12 to 13 staff members on site. The organization is for-profit, so the city would receive its due taxes from the new center. It would operate Monday through Friday roughly 7 a.m.-5 p.m., with an occasional weekend event, in which Kowalski said the center would act as a meeting hub before going off site. A public hearing will be held for that proposal on Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. ∞