Aurora planners study Kingdom Hall, Pulte proposals

·3 min read
This rendering shows what the proposed Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall would look like on land on South Chillicothe Road just south of Mantua Grain & Supply.
This rendering shows what the proposed Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall would look like on land on South Chillicothe Road just south of Mantua Grain & Supply.

The Aurora Planning Commission accepted for study a final site plan for a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall and preliminary/final site plans for Renaissance Park at Geauga Lake East Phases 2 and 3 at its Jan. 19 meeting.

JW Congregation Support Inc. is seeking to build a 3,065-square-foot Kingdom Hall for worship and religious activities on a 2.1-acre parcel south of Mantua Grain & Supply and east of Leighton School.

The parcel is owned by ABR Management LLC of Pepper Pike, and is in an O-1 office zoning district. The planning panel granted preliminary site plan approval back in September 2020.

The building is expected to seat about 130 people and have a parking lot to accommodate 44 cars. Only 33 spaces are required under the zoning code. Access to the parking lot would be off Route 43.

This illustration shows the site of the proposed Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall between South Chillicothe Road and Greenman Way. Miller School is to the south and Mantua Grain & Supply to the north.
This illustration shows the site of the proposed Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall between South Chillicothe Road and Greenman Way. Miller School is to the south and Mantua Grain & Supply to the north.

Planning-Zoning-Building Director Denise Januska said a conditional zoning certificate for comparable use was approved in 2019, and a front parking variance of 12 feet was OK’d by the board of zoning appeals.

A traffic study has been reviewed, and elevations have been approved by the architectural board of review. An additional side setback variance is required and the level of service needs to be addressed before final site plan approval.

Conditions for final plan approval require that two vacant homes on the two separate parcels be demolished and the property be improved, along with creating shared ingress and egress.

In November 2015, the planning panel denied a CZC for a family entertainment center on the site, and City Council later upheld the denial on appeal. The actions followed widespread public opposition to the plan.

According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses website, the group “strives to adhere to the form of Christianity that Jesus taught and that his apostles practiced.”

“All of our meetings are open to the public, seats are free and no collections are ever taken,” JW representative Marco Iafano previously told the planning panel. “Families are encouraged to come together and learn principles that help build successful families.”

He explained activity at the site would mostly occur on a mid-week night and Sunday mornings. He estimated that 30 to 40 vehicles would be in the parking lot for worship services, and “we would not produce any negative traffic impacts.”

Renaissance Park at Geauga Lake

This illustration shows the site of proposed Phases 2 and 3 of Renaissance Park at Geauga Lake, north of Treat Road and east of the abandoned Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks..
This illustration shows the site of proposed Phases 2 and 3 of Renaissance Park at Geauga Lake, north of Treat Road and east of the abandoned Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks..

Meanwhile, the Pulte Group proposes to build on 39 lots in Phase 2 (16.1 acres) and 36 lots in Phase 3 (15.6 acres) of Renaissance Park at Geauga Lake, which is north of Treat Road, east of the abandoned Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and across from Tara.

A concept plan for the site was approved by planners in August 2019 and by City Council in September 2019. A wetlands delineation, traffic impact study, title search, development agreement, improvement plans and specifications, landscape plan, stormwater management agreement and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio EPA and ODOT approvals have been submitted.

In an organizational matter, the panel elected Jim Maulis as chairman, Pete French as first vice chairman and Sarah Gilmore as second vice chairman, with Marie Lawrie continuing to be the panel’s clerk.

Contact the newspaper at auroraadvocate@recordpub.com.

This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Aurora planners study Kingdom Hall, Pulte proposals

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