Fighting Unlawful Development Outside Cuyahoga Valley National Park

On July 2nd we submitted a letter to the Cuyahoga Falls Planning Commission on behalf of our clients, Scott Myers and Gina Burk, in opposition of a planned community development which violates local zoning code and endangers surrounding natural habitat, ecology, and adjacent local property.

There’s never a shortage of work. We could use support.

In the letter we detail 4 major deficiencies that should prevent the planning commission from approving the project. They are:

  1. The Final Plat Does Not Meet the Zoning Code Criteria for R-3, Sub-Urban Density Residential, RM Mixed Density Residential Overlay.

  2. The Development is not in the Interest of Public Health, Safety, and Welfare.

  3. It is unclear whether the Final Plat complies with Section 1125.02 of the Cuyahoga Falls Development Code.

  4. The Final Plat is not in Accordance with the Northampton-Cuyahoga Falls Merger Agreement.

Despite residents’ best efforts, the the Final Plat for the Sycamore Development was passed out of the Planning Commission last week, and now moves to the Cuyahoga Falls City Council for consideration. We anticipate the Cuyahoga Falls City Council will vote on the matter at their upcoming meeting on Monday July 15. We will continue to assist our clients in representing their concerns to Council. We will also continue to ask the City to consider the significant public opinion in opposition of the project, as shown by the turn out to and voiced concerns at previous planning commission meetings, and advise them to deny the project as it is currently submitted.

In recent years this area, just two miles outside of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, has seen blowouts in runoff management causing damaging and life-threatening floods. Homes and property have been destroyed and habitats are still recovering. Zoning codes for the area are designed to prevent further runoff from causing more damage to an already vulnerable environment, and to increase quality of life in Cuyahoga Falls by implementing development that complies with New Urbanist principles. The disregard for these protections in the code shows a lack of understanding of the current geology, hydrology, ecology, and a disrespect for the current residents of the area who are going beyond what is required of them to mitigate their own runoff among, other human impacts. Gina Burk and Scott Myers, along with many residents in Cuyahoga Falls, are actively working for a future where this valuable watershed is given stakeholder status in environmental decision-making to encourage sustainable economic and community development.

Throughout the review process of the proposed development, the City has largely ignored the facts presented by concerned residents regarding the location of this project. Instead, each stage of this project has been approved without sufficient factual justification, leaving it to the developer to address significant concerns at some point later down the line.

The residents of the Cuyahoga Falls region will not accept that approach. They have voiced their concerns and now they have made it clear that they will be a part of this decision-making process that will undoubtedly affect their way of life. In short, residents are demand that the planning commission apply the laws as they were written and deny the Final Plat.

You can view the full letter sent to the Cuyahoga Falls Planning Commission here.