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Liberty Ford unveils plans for Aurora campus

Three-building campus eyed at Route 43 and Squires

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published: February 22, 2017 1:00 AM
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AURORA -- At the city planning commission's Feb. 15 meeting, plans were unveiled for a Liberty Ford dealership on 13 acres on the southeast corner of Route 43 and Squires Road, just north of Treat Road.

The panel approved a tree preservation and clearing plan for the property and accepted for study a development plan and request for a conditional zoning certificate for the project, which would be on land now owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment, the owner of the former Geauga Lake-Sea World land.

The site is surrounded mostly by vacant land, except for some single-family housing to the north and Anna Maria of Aurora to the west across Route 43.

Liberty Investment Group LTD representative Ed Begue said the firm is seeking to build a "campus-style" car dealership consisting of three buildings -- 23,000 square feet for auto sales and service, 27,000 square feet for a body shop and 7,800 square feet for a quick lube facility.

"Each building will be a single story with a height not to exceed 30 feet and a design utilizing Western Reserve style architecture," Begue explained, noting egress and ingress would be off Squires Road.

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He said although it is cheaper to build one large structure, the firm "wants to satisfy the community with the three-building plan."

Begue said Liberty plans to move its current dealership from Solon because a deal could not be worked out with that city for expansion and consolidation of the facilities.

Begue said the 13-acre site would have 27 percent green space, three water retention ponds and 462 spaces to park vehicles. The retention basins are planned on the lowest portions of the property.

Begue said it is likely that modern LED lights on 20-foot poles would light the campus, with beams focused so as not to bother adjoining properties, and the lighting will be reduced after dark when the facilities are closed.

Since staffers at the campus would communicate mostly via texts and cell phones, there would be no noise from intercoms and loudspeakers, Begue said.

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The project is the first proposed on land in Aurora which voters rezoned to a multi-use district about three years ago. A public hearing on the CZC will take place at the commission's March 1 meeting at 6:30 p.m.

The approved tree preservation and removal plan allows for clear-cutting of trees. City Planning-Zoning-Building Director Denise Januska said the city arborist has reviewed the plan and finds it acceptable.

Planning panelists could approve the CZC and development plan at their March 1 meeting after the public hearing takes place. City Council must also approve those two items before the site plan phase can proceed.

In other action at the Feb. 15 session, panelists OK'd and forwarded to Council a revised final plat for Phase III-Block A of the Homestead subdivision, along with a revised development plan.

Classic Homes is changing its previously planned 14 condominium units to eight single-family sublots, plus adding six sublots in Phase IV.

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189

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PizzaPie55 Feb 22, 2017 12:39 PM

I applaud the advocate for including an image for this story. It would be nice to see a plan of the site.

It is commendable to create a "campus style" dealership. While I understand this is a car dealership, do they really need 462 of their own parking spaces while there are literally thousands of unused parking spaces north of the site on adjacent property?

Perhaps an agreement can be made to use these existing parking spaces and keep some of Liberty's space as land bank parking (future parking if needed). This would reduce the need for retention basins due to less impervious surface. The city of Aurora should encouragesuch an agreement. This could preserve over 3 acres of land from turning into a parking lot.

Many Aurorans say they prefer the city's rural character. With this and other suburban style, land intensive developments, that character is dwindling. We should advocate for centralizing development to established areas and preserving the rural space we have, even if it is on a large corridor (43).