Concordia development process moves forward

by Laura Bednar

Independence City Council voted to award $15,000 each to two companies for due diligence work on the 18 acres adjacent to Concordia Lutheran Church on Brecksville Road, which the city purchased in 2022.

“We put together some design standards for the infrastructure, looking at lot sizes and some criteria for the homes,” said Economic Development Director Jessica Hyser. “As we talk to some of these developers, some additional infrastructure due diligence is needed.”

She said there are two finalists for development: New Leaf and Petros Homes.

“We hope to be able to get all due diligence and final proposals back within 45 days,” said Hyser.

Mayor Greg Kurtz added that all costs the city incurs in relation to the Concordia property will be recouped through the sale of the land to the developer.

Resident Leslie Bausher said approving more expenditures toward the property “adds to the eventual cost to the developer, which eventually adds to the cost to the eventual homeowner.”

She continued, “So, as you vote on these things, I’m cautioning you to be aware that number is ticking up and up and up each time you vote on these things.”

Resident Don Bausher said before the city purchased the property, it said it would produce a feasibility study of number of lots, infrastructure and usable land and residents would receive a report on that.

“We got none of that. All we got was an environmental study. …There’s nothing about costs on this, and we were promised that,” said Bausher. “Now, here we are telling a developer you want to build something, which I have no problem with building, I just don’t want the city involved.”

Resident Jeff Blumenthal asked if the homes would be age restricted. Law Director Greg O’Brien said federal law allows for 55 and older communities in certain circumstances. He added that through due diligence and public comment, it would be determined whether restrictions will be made.

Blumenthal also asked if there would be public meetings before selling the property. Kurtz said there would. A resident watching the meeting online asked if the developers would draft a plan that disregards city zoning and building code. Kurtz said no, and that any changes must go through council. ∞