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Hessler Road Apartment Building Proposal Moving Forward In Approval Process

An aerial view of the corner of Hessler Road and Ford Road, where the development is planned. [University Circle Inc.]
An aerial view of the corner of Hessler Road and Ford Road, where the development is planned.

A proposed apartment complex on Hessler Road in University Circle is one step closer to final approval. But residents remain concerned about the new development’s potential impact on the historic neighborhood.

The project was initially designed to include four floors with about two dozen apartments. But it has since been reduced to three floors with twelve total units to appease residential concern, said SA Group architect Daniel Sirk during a Thursday meeting of the Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee.

“We’re very obviously willing to work with any committee or anyone that has commentary to the building,” Sirk said.

The proposal received initial conceptual approval from the committee, but must still go before the Landmark Commission and then back to the review committee for final approval.

Designers also reworked the proposed exterior of the building to be more in line with the architecture of nearby homes, Sirk said, and cut back the number of parking spaces to leave space behind the building.

The complex will consist of “micro units,” according to developer Rick Moran.

The new proposal meets the desired goals for further developing the area, said University Circle Inc. President Chris Ronayne.

“We know and we respect that the design proposed does not meet for every resident exactly what they want,” Ronayne said. “But we are very happy with how this process has gotten us to today.”

Councilman Blaine Griffin also voiced support for the proposal during the Thursday meeting. Residents are still reaching out with concerns, he said, but others have said they support the newly rendered designs.

“There was significant community engagement,” Griffin said. “Quite frankly, I will tell you that there are still some community members that are not happy. I think at the end of the day, we will have something that is tastefully done.

Griffin said he is still working to help address concerns about infrastructure and maintenance in the neighborhood.

But longtime owner-occupant and community organizer Laura Cyrocki said the updated design does not fully address residents’ concerns, including those beyond aesthetics issues.

Neighbors are worried about how the new construction will impact existing drainage problems, she said, as well as how the construction might damage its historic brick and wood-block roads.

“We are still a very small, fragile, completely intact historic district. And we’ve watched this development grow up all around us, and we’ve suffered for it,” Cyrocki said.

The proposed apartment building is not going into a vacant lot, Cyrocki said, but the backyard of a home on Ford Drive. It’s an area used for events like an annual street fair, she said, and often provides options for parking. The developers need to show what kind of impact the construction and new apartments would have on the neighborhood, she said.

“We haven’t seen any drainage studies. We haven’t seen traffic studies. We haven’t seen safety, parking studies,” Cyrocki said. “Parking is insane. If you don’t have a driveway on Hessler, it’s hard. Really hard.”

The floorplans and design for the units themselves are also completely out of line with the types of housing already available in the neighborhood, Cyrocki said.

“We feel that this concept of these micro units conceptually does not fit into the landmark status,” Cyrocki said. “It’s not appropriate because it brings in a type of housing that is different from anything we have in the district right now.”