CUYAHOGA FALLS: Despite objections by a group of residents, City Council on Tuesday night approved the first phase of a housing development in a rural area of the city near the national park.

City Council voted 7-3 in favor of a 40.8-acre, 40-lot final subdivision plat on Sourek Trail between Smith and Sand Run roads in the former Northampton Township part of the city. Council members Russ Iona, Vic Pallotta and Mary Ellen Pyke voted against the plan. Councilman Jerry James was absent.

Ryan Homes is planning to construct homes on 36 suburban-type lots in the first phase, according to the planning department’s staff report. Additionally, there are four large lots that will be sold to individuals who plan to choose their own home builders.

A group of residents who live near the planned development have been voicing concerns about additional traffic, safety for residents who are biking and walking along the road and potential flooding of property.

The residents say Sourek is a narrow road with deep culverts not fit for construction vehicles or additional residential traffic. They also have argued to keep the pastoral remnant of the old Northampton Township along the edge of Cuyahoga Valley National Park as a sparsely populated country lane.

City officials revisited the possibility of installing a cul-de-sac on Sourek Trail to reduce the amount of traffic on that road. However, Cuyahoga Falls Fire Chief Paul Moledor and Police Chief Jack Davis told City Council on May 21 that they opposed the idea because it would delay emergency response to some of those residences.

“Response times will be increased,” Councilman Tim Gorbach said on Tuesday as he reviewed what the chiefs said the previous week. “And in some cases, total access could be denied to a portion of these residents.”

Iona said while he understands and respects the concerns raised by the chiefs about the cul-de-sac, he added he was “disappointed that we didn’t come up with a plan B.”

He noted the residents who have expressed objections are “the most devoted group of people I’ve seen” in connection with a proposed development.

After the vote, two Sourek Trail residents offered ideas for traffic control measures that could be used instead of a cul-de-sac. It is not known whether their ideas will be considered.