On the May 6 ballot, Aurora residents face perhaps the most important zoning issue which has come along in recent years. Issue 11 would create a multi-use, or mixed-use, district for about 550 acres along the city's northern border, most of which is between routes 43 and 306.
Much of the land in the proposed zone is owned by Cedar Fair and was the site of the former Sea World of Ohio and Geauga Lake Park, including the old campground near the former Norfolk Southern railroad line. It also includes some residential and commercial properties along Route 43, such as Anna Maria of Aurora, and some businesses north of Treat Road and just west of Route 306, such as a sand and gravel operation.
The Advocate believes a "yes" vote on Issue 11 to create the new zoning district would be a huge boost toward redeveloping the acreage.
Most of the property is zoned industrial, but the land is simply not suited for that use; the city has plenty of land along its southern border for that purpose.
The multi-use concept would allow developers to build homes and locate offices and businesses of a retail, dining, amusement and recreational nature on the property. Think Crocker Park in Westlake, First & Main in Hudson and downtown Kent.
City officials are working closely with Bainbridge Township trustees to see that another 550 acres in Bainbridge, which is contiguous to the Aurora land and includes another portion of the former Geauga Lake Park, are developed in a similar multi-use fashion.
The roughly 1,100 acres have the potential to be a tremendous economic advantage for both communities. The best way for the redevelopment to be successful and something residents can be proud of is to create a multi-use district by voting "yes" on Issue 11.