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Elyria Council OKs senior development east of Walmart

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ELYRIA — City Council approved a conditional use permit to pave the way for 214 new homes for Elyria’s senior population, but the concerns about traffic in the area not far from the Walmart development remain.

Prior to Monday’s unanimous vote, City Council held a public hearing in regard to the development. No opponents or proponents spoke during it.

However, Councilman Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, said he hoped the developer would join concerns being had to find a way to alleviate traffic in the area.

“We are going to create a higher density by putting more people in the area, but we have not provided a solution for the traffic,” Craig said.

Mayor Holly Brinda said it is yet to be seen if K. Hovnanian Waterbury, the owner of the property, will take on that responsibility.

K. Hovnanian Waterbury LLC is planning a 214-home, age-restricted, owner-occupied subdivision called Four Seasons at Chestnut Ridge that will be located near Bender Road and Chestnut Ridge. Home construction is slated to start next spring.

The area is east of state Route 57 and near the Fieldstone Lakes development.

Still, the new development will be close enough to retail spaces like Walmart, Drug Mart and the Cleveland Clinic Family Health and Surgery Center of Elyria to worry Council members that more traffic will come to an already congested area.

The subdivision is in addition to a nearly 30-acre area of land that likely will bring more development to the area. The owners of that property successfully petitioned the county to have the land annexed from Eaton Township into Elyria.

Mayor Holly Brinda said those developers are working with the Ohio Department of Transportation to find a solution, possibly involving Route 57.

“We are waiting for the developers to finish with the state and there is another party interested in that area so they may want to be involved in the conversation,” Brinda said.

With such piqued interest in the area for both commercial and residential development, Brinda the goal is to find the right solution that is sustainable for the long haul.

In other news

City Council authorized the Elyria Police Department to forgo two police cars in exchange for a project that has been on the police chief’s wish list for years: a firing range.

To be located behind the city’s Central Maintenance Garage on Garden Street, the range is where Elyria officers will shoot for firearms qualifications and tactical training. It will allow officers to train in the city instead of going to Oberlin, the location of the closest firing range.

It also will mean less overtime for officers.

Police Chief Duane Whitely said the current setup means officers are pulled off the road for eight hours at a time to handle training outside of the city, which requires six hours to re-qualify. But with a firing range in the city those same officers can train in one-hour spurts in the middle of their shifts, removing the need to pay overtime to cover officers in training.

“We can pull them out of training for an hour, have them go right to the range, train, clean their weapons and return to the work,” he said.

The cost to build out the range is $30,000.

Whitely is sacrificing two unmarked cars that were going to be purchased for $70,000 to make it happen. With that money, $50,000 will go toward two radio repeaters for the southeast part of the city and the remaining $20,000 will go toward the firing range. Whitely said he will find the remaining $10,000 from some other allotment in the police budget.

Councilman Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, did question the emergent request for the firing range, saying it was a new request to him, although Whitely said he has wanted it for years.

The concern that kept him quiet came from the property. It is a former landfill and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency had to sign off on the project.

It seemed like it wasn’t going to happen until it did, Whitely said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT and like her on Facebook.



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