Pepper Pike Rezoning Initiative Headed To November Ballot

A mock-up of a potential development in Pepper Pike.
No development plan is attached to the ballot initiative, but a mockup of what it might look like is included on the developer's website. [Axiom Development Group]

A proposal to rezone property in Pepper Pike to allow mixed-use development on the former Beech Brook site is headed to the ballot this November after Axiom Development Group gathered enough signatures from residents.

The city had been discussing the proposed rezoning and development for more than a year prior to the ballot initiative. If approved, it would be the first mixed-use district in the city.

“We have residential districts, we have office districts, we have commercial districts, but we have no district that permits those uses to be intermingled within a single zoning district,” Pepper Pike City Planner George Smerigan said during a virtual town hall discussion Wednesday.

The ballot proposal does not cover a development plan for the 65-acre property, Smerigan said, which formerly housed an adolescent care facility. A development plan would still need to go before the city, he said.

“It is a multi-step process. There is no specific development plan that is tied to the issues on the ballot in November,” Smerigan said. “Until a development plan is reviewed, found acceptable and approved, the only use that can be made of any of those three properties is the use that they’re zoned for today,”

The ballot initiative would create a mixed-use overlay district, Smerigan said, allowing for the changes once plans are approved by the city.

Residents are concerned such a development would remove green space, increase traffic and “change the character” of the neighborhood.

The ballot initiative’s language is too vague and offers little protection for neighboring properties, said Manny Naft, co-founder of the Say No To Rezone political action committee.

“We must all vote no, even if you like mixed-use,” Naft said. “As written, the ballot language does not protect the community or the residents.”

The goal of the development is to create a place where residents can come together and enjoy the city, said Bryan Stone with Axiom Development Group. It would include townhomes, office space and a limited commercial area, he said, including an ice cream parlor, yoga studio, bookstore and a few restaurants.

“We see this as an outstanding opportunity to extend the existing fabric of the area to create a unified village center in the only logical location for a village center to exist,” Stone said.

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