NORTHFIELD CENTER — The Spitzer Chevrolet dealership is on track for rezoning after township trustees favored a settlement Monday for the its property on the north side of state Route 82, just west of state Route 8.

Spitzer A-Team and Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien still must sign off on O’Brien’s consent decree before Spitzer’s rezoning civil action against the township is dismissed and the rezoning takes effect.

The lawsuit was filed more than a year ago after trustees denied Spitzer’s request to rezone 16.6 acres of Spitzer’s 43.7 acres from residential to commercial.

“We’ve had countless discussions about this issue,” said Trustee Chairman Russ Mazzola. “It’s not a popular topic, and we haven’t taken it lightly. We thank township residents for all their input.”

“We’ve tried our best to fight for the utmost protections for residents,” added Trustee Paul Buescher. “If we keeping fighting this in court, we could eventually be stuck with buying Spitzer’s land, and we can’t afford that.”

Spitzer owns the 43.7 acres of vacant land around its Chevy dealership. Slightly more than 6 acres along Route 82, west of the dealership, is already zoned commercial.

The settlement would allow the 16.6 acres behind the 6.6 acres and the dealership to be rezoned commercial, with 21.5 acres further north remaining residential.

In its lawsuit, Spitzer questioned the residential zoning classification for the 16.6 acres, saying that because there’s no current roadway access from the lot to Route 8 or Route 82, there’s a telecommunications tower on the property and the land is close to other commercially zoned land: “It is not reasonable to expect the property can be developed for single-family residences.”

The complaint also cited the Summit County Planning Commission's support of Spitzer's rezoning proposal.

The agreement would subject Spitzer’s property to a lot split and consolidation, with the developer allowed to pursue an additional subdivision to accommodate construction of a second building.

If the agreement is approved by all parties, Spitzer would agree not to make any further requests for rezoning the 21.5 acres of residentially-zoned land. However, township legal counsel David Smith said the agreement applies only to Spitzer, and if it someday sells those 21.5 acres, the new owner could pursue rezoning.

The agreement also requires Spitzer to apply for placement of the 16.6 commercially-zoned acres into the Macedonia-Northfield Center Joint Economic Development District.

The protections for township residents that Buescher alluded to include a 90-foot setback from the western boundary of the property, mounding and screening from the adjacent residentially-zoned properties, restrictions on lighting and loading dock locations and extension of sidewalks along Route 82.

The settlement also would require that Spitzer donate trucks and money to the township.