The proposed Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center in Fairlawn is facing two new stumbling blocks.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands last week ordered the Fairlawn Planning Commission to reconsider whether the height of the planned hospital is compatible with the neighboring residential property in Bath. Her order, made as part of a lawsuit filed by the Crystal Shores Homeowners' Association, wipes out the five-member commission's approval of the $100 million hospital project last month.

Crystal Clinic announced plans last year to build a 160,000-square-foot hospital with 12 operating rooms and 60 inpatient beds in the Embassy Park commercial park in Fairlawn.

But the project has faced fierce criticism from homeowners in neighboring Bath whose properties abut the park. Their objections include the height of the facility, which will be nearly 50 feet high and one of the tallest buildings in the city.

In her order, Rowlands said the city noted that the height isn't out of place within the business park. But she said the commission failed to consider the residential property and that to exclude those homes when making a decision "is unreasonable."

Fairlawn Law Director R. Bryan Nace said the commission must reconsider the issue. The commission is scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road, but the order was removed from the agenda. A city official said the issue will be discussed at a future commission meeting.

Benjamin Ockner, an attorney representing the homeowners, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, a separate lawsuit was filed last week in Common Pleas Court by Bath residents Ryan and Ashley Heaney, Dale and Carol Becker, and Mohamed and Mouna Katirji against the orthopedic practice and CC Embassy LLC, which owns the property.

The lawsuit claims that property owner John Dellagnese III cannot construct a building more than 36 feet high or make changes in a 70-foot setback area because of deed restrictions. The project involves making drainage improvements in the setback, the residents' attorney Warner Mendenhall said.

The Crystal Clinic has said it plans to begin construction on the hospital in June.

"We are evaluating the court’s recent decision and the new filing and will be working on next steps," Dr. Ronald Suntken, chief executive officer of the Crystal Clinic, said in a prepared statement. "We are continuing our efforts to keep our project on task to be completed in 2021."


Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.