Goddard School gets Aurora planners’ endorsement

AURORA – The planning commission has sent a positive recommendation to City Council to issue a conditional zoning certificate so plans for a Goddard School can proceed on property on the east side of state Route 306 across from Barrington Town Square.

The panel made the decision Feb. 1. Property owner Sam Cannata said the Goddard School would be about 10,500 square feet on the southeast corner of a mixed-use development called the Greens of Aurora. A three-suite retail/office building also is planned on the 8.9 acres.

The three-unit suite would be 7,200 square feet (2,400 square feet for each unit). A detention pond would be provided to ensure there is no additional stormwater load or runoff onto adjacent properties, and all site lighting would comply with the zoning code.

Greens of Aurora site map
Greens of Aurora site map

The Greens of Aurora plans a Phase 2 development on the north side of the property, which would be submitted for future approval when that project is ready to move forward.

Access to the two phases off Route 306 would align with Barrington Town Square Drive, with the three-suite building being closest to North Chillicothe Road and just south of the access point. Parking would be behind the units and to the north of the Goddard School.

Cannata said a Goddard School could be considered comparable because it provides a service to the community. His client also has a Goddard School in Bainbridge. He said negotiations for the school and a dentist office at the site are in the final stages.

The planning panel’s decision to endorse the CZC incorporates recommendations made by the Chagrin River Watershed Partners and Aurora Fire Department.

At the panel’s Jan. 18 meeting, Councilwoman Sarah Grdina Gilmore, who is a former planning panel member, noted Cannata has been before the commission several times, and she believes child care facilities such as the Goddard School are needed in Aurora.

Variances granted

The planners granted riparian, floodplain and wetlands setback variances so Daniel Skowronski can install a driveway across two streams to access a single-family home at 888 E. Garfield Road.

The riparian and wetlands setback variances would be 75 feet and the floodplain setback variance would be 50 feet. The variances were reviewed by the Chagrin River Watershed Partners.

At the panel’s Jan. 18 session, Dan Barcikowski, who was representing Skowronski, said a lot of time and money have been spent to find the site’s best location for the house, and that location is minimally invasive to the existing wetlands, streams and vegetation.

Skonrowski also noted his septic system plan has been approved by Portage County, and he has entered and exited the property several times during the day to determine which entrance would be safer. “I’m trying to be as minimally invasive as possible,” he said.

Barcikowksi said a wetlands specialist was hired to guide the applicant on ways to not impact the wetlands and streams, and added city sewer lines are not available in the area, which is why Skowronski plans to install a septic system.

To end the meeting, the planning panel reviewed Chapter 4 of the master plan. Once recommendations are finalized, the plan will be forwarded to council for adoption. It provides guidance regarding future development, policies and strategies for the city.

U-Haul's proposal

A conditional zoning certificate for a U-Haul facility at North Aurora and Treat roads remains on the panel’s agenda after it was accepted for study Jan. 18, but some concerns were expressed.

Panelist Peter French said a common theme throughout the city’s master plan is to build upon its charm and Western Reserve character. He noted after reviewing responses from a recent community wants and needs survey, not one response mentioned a storage facility.

Grdina Gilmore said she believes the project would be beneficial, but not at the proposed spot. She added when the commercial project there was presented, it included medical offices, educational facilities, retail and restaurants, and she does not favor an industrial-type building.

Aaron Baker, representing Anna Maria of Aurora across North Aurora Road, said he considers the proposal as industrial buildings and not a good fit for the area. He also expressed concerns about the 24/7 operating hours, security and additional lighting.

Nearby resident Jeff LaBarbera also said he believes the plan does not fit the area, and he is concerned about 24/7 access to the building, plus noise, additional traffic and overall aesthetics. He said he is not opposed to U-Haul, but not at that location.

Property owner Pulte Homes rep Jim O’Connor explained the site has been marketed for four years. A gourmet grocery store was under contract, but negotiations stalled when a Joint Economic Development District agreement with Bainbridge Township was finalized.

He encouraged members of the planning panel to remain open-minded about the proposed use.

Contact the newspaper at auroraadvocate@recordpub.com.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Goddard School gets Aurora planners’ endorsement