Aurora -- Several city officials expressed kind words about planning commission chairman Maria Hydell as she presided over what is expected to be her last meeting on Dec. 4.
Hydell, who has served as a planning panelist for the maximum of eight years, will not return after Jan. 1. Mayor James Fisher has appointed resident Scott Wolf, an unsuccessful candidate for Council-at-Large in the November election, as her replacement.
Prior to her eight years on the commission, she was a member of the zoning board of appeals for four years. Thus, she has served 12 years in an appointed capacity on the two city boards.
"The planning commission is one of the most important city bodies," said Fisher. "Maria has made a great commitment to the board, and the city is grateful for her service. She represents the 'best practices' that we like to follow."
"Maria guided me when I joined the planning commission," said Ward 5 Councilwoman Kathi Grandillo. "After taking a breather for a couple of years, hopefully she will serve the city again in some capacity."
Grandillo presented a plaque to Hydell in recognition of her service.
"On behalf of Ward 6, I thank you for your service," added Councilman Harold Hatridge. And Council President George Horvat noted, "as a friend, I appreciate what you've done, and the city residents appreciate it, too."
Others who thanked Hydell were Councilman and panelist Joe Kastelic, who also will step aside from both seats after his defeat in the November election, and former planning panelist/chairman Roy Shafer.
"It's cool to see how things have transpired on the development front in the city over the past few years," Hydell responded. "I've learned a lot from [Planning-Zoning-Building Director] Rich Wehrenberg and the planning staff."
Hydell is known to many residents because of her enthusiasm for distance running. She can be seen running along city streets, and has participated in many local and Northeast Ohio 5K runs.
She and Kastelic were running enthusiasts for many years prior to Kastelic having to step away from that endeavor because of health reasons.
OTHER PLANNING ITEMS
Panelists unanimously approved a lot split at a 14-acre property at 275 N. Bissell Road owned by Mike Gervace. It is in an R-3 residential zoning district.
Gervace said he wishes to create a 10-acre parcel and three 1.15-acre lots. The property is bordered by Sherwood Drive and the Woodview Estates subdivision.
According to the planning-zoning staff report, existing structures on the property will be demolished and sanitary sewer hookups will be provided for the three small lots, with private septic service remaining for the 10-acre parcel.
Hydell noted the split would satisfy the following requirements: at least 0.67-acre lots, 115-foot lot frontage, 50-foot front setback, 40-foot rear setback and 15-foot side setback.
A site plan for a boathouse and other amenities at Sunny Lake Park was removed from the agenda after Wehrenberg explained City Council recently turned down paying an additional sum for stormwater engineering services.
In looking ahead to 2014, Wehrenberg said the big item relating to planning and zoning will be the possible creation of a multi-use development district for more than 500 acres in the northern portion of town, most of which comprised the former Sea World and Geauga Lake theme parks.
He said an ordinance to send the issue of creating the district to the May ballot is now being considered by Council.
Multi-use developments can include residential, office and commercial aspects. The affected area is mostly between Treat Road and the Bainbridge Township line.
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