Party center/funeral chapel proposed for former golf clubhouse

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published:

Aurora -- The former Aurora Golf Club's clubhouse may become a party center and gathering place for funerals if the planning commission and City Council OK a conditional zoning certificate.

At the planning panel's Jan. 2 meeting, two partners who will operate as Aurora Events LLC outlined plans for the facility, which stands on 5.6 acres of C-1 shopping district-zoned land at New Hudson Road and rails End. The property was rezoned from residential a couple of years ago.

Thomas Steinbauer of Kindrich-McHugh-Steinbauer Funeral Home in Solon said he and his partner, Donald LoPresti, have purchased the property and are seeking the CZC to turn it into a business.

The 11,000-square-foot clubhouse, which replaced the historic former Aurora Country Club clubhouse in the 1990s, would house wedding receptions, reunions, showers and related events, and would also serve as a chapel for funerals and calling hours, plus a site for catered luncheons after funerals.

Steinbauer said no embalming services would be performed there, as that function would remain at the Solon funeral home.

He said parties generally would take place in the evening, while funerals and calling hours could take place from late morning to evening.

Planning panelist Dennis Kennedy was concerned that noise from live bands playing at parties would disturb the tranquility of residents who live nearby.

Steinbauer said the bands would not play outside, and thus noise should not be a problem.

Planners accepted the request for study and a public hearing will take place at the Jan. 16 meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

LOT REZONING IS FAVORED

The planning commission favored the rezoning of 0.67-acre owned by James Occhinzzi at 283 E. Garfield Road from C-1 shopping district to R-2 residential.

The matter will go to City Council, which will make a final decision as to whether the rezoning will go to voters on the May primary ballot.

Occhinzzi's lot sets back from East Garfield Road along the former right-of-way of the Norfolk Southern Railroad and is bordered on the east by commercially-zoned land and on the north and west by residentially-zoned land.

Realtor Pat Korner explained the property has been used as a single-family home for many years, and Occhinzzi has tried to sell it for 11 years, but several deals have fallen through because of the land's zoning.

She said the property is not a good location for a business because it can barely be seen from East Garfield Road and is accessed by a driveway shared with the residential neighbor to the northwest.

Planning panelists agreed with Korner that rezoning is justified. The issue will appear on City Council's agenda at its Jan. 14 meeting.

The commission voted to keep Maria Heidel as chairwoman for 2013, while Joe Kastelic will be first vice chairman and Ken Dombrosky will be second vice chairman.

The panel is short one member with the recent naming of Kathi Grandillo to the Ward 5 Council seat. Anyone interested in succeeding Grandillo should make their desires known to Mayor James Fisher, who will appoint someone to the vacancy.

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com.

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189

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