Beacon Journal staff

GREEN: City Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to reject a months-long attempt to rezone almost 16 acres of land along South Arlington Road to permit an 81-unit luxury apartment complex.

The rezoning of 15.96 acres from R-1 single-family residential to R-2 multiple-family residential was denied. The initial request to rezone the 12.36 acres was expanded by the city to include 3.6 acres that are partially surrounded by the proposed complex and contain two single-family homes.

The developer, Redwood Management of Beachwood, has contended the proposal met all the criteria of the city's long-range land-use plan and had city administration support.

Redwood Management sought the rezoning, along the west side of South Arlington just north of Boettler Road, to extend the already fully-occupied 102-unit, single-floor Emerald Ridge apartment complex.

The complex was built in 2009 and designed primarily for senior citizens.

"We don't think the city made a prudent move," Redwood Vice President Keith Ritz said Wednesday. "This is not over. We will use whatever means available to try to make this happen. It's a shame the city [council] did what they did. It's unfortunate for the senior citizens.

Ritz did not attend the meeting but was represented by several others.

Ritz said the developer has collected 650 signatures from people who want the housing in Green and has a waiting list of prospective residents, some who could be shifted to other Redwood complexes in Cuyahoga Falls and Hudson.

A call for comment from Ritz's attorney, John Slagter of Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs, wasn't returned.

At-Large Councilman Gerard Neugebauer, a former member of the city's Planning and Zoning Commission, acknowledged that there still is a need for multi-family senior housing in Green, adding that the area in question is governed by the land-use plan for medium-density, multi-housing.

"This is a tough one," he said as he started discussing the pros and cons of the proposal. Neugebauer added that some people are concerned about more traffic on Arlington Road and others are unhappy with the appearance of Emerald Ridge.

"We had a road map and in this case I think we have to respect that somebody is actually following our road map. They're not giving us a whole new way to do our city," said Neugebauer.

Ward 1 Councilman Jim Colopy said that while he understands and empathizes with the residents, he has long been an advocate of alternative housing in Green.

As a retired Cuyahoga Falls firefighter, Ward 2 Councilman Dave France said he is concerned with safety issues and is against piecemeal zoning, therefore opposed to the zone change.

Neugebauer and Colopy voted for the issue while France, President Joel Reed and council members Ken Knodel and "Skip" Summerville voted "no."