Judge Alison McCarty delivered last week the responsible ruling required in the court battle between Copley Township and the city of Fairlawn over a proposed Walmart and Sam’s Club development. The judge found that the city did not act capriciously, arbitrarily or in bad faith in closing Rothrock Road to serve its residents.
The city had good reasons to close the road, bolstered by the independent and persuasive analysis of the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study. The concerns include a sharp increase in traffic and disruptions for residents.
More, as the judge stressed, Fairlawn had the home-rule authority to act. All of it leading to “an unavoidable conclusion” about the closing.
Now the developer, city and township would do well to take the signal the judge sent. McCarty rightly placed emphasis on the AMATS finding that the improvements put forward by the developer fall far short of addressing the legitimate worries about traffic and congestion. That translates into the developer coming up with a sufficient response, in scope and resources, the city and township cooperating to see that it gets done.
The Montrose area stands as a monument to sprawl. The property in question is zoned commercial. In other words, the developer has the path to proceed. Closing Rothrock Road isn’t the answer. It serves as a reasonable protest in pursuit of a comprehensive and thoughtful remedy.