Plan to Eliminate 'Hodge Podge' on Pearl Road is a No-Go
City administrators say Carbone's idea of beautifying Route 42 won't work
The city's administration has all but quashed a plan to beautify Pearl Road by unifying the colors and landscaping.
Department heads said there are flaws in the plan, which was created by Ward 3 Councilman Jim Carbone with help from Ward 2 Councilman Matt Schonhut.
For one, it could be off-putting to businesses, Economic Development Director Brent Painter said.
"It's important we have a welcoming, warm, business-friendly approach," Painter said.
Carbone, whose goal is to eliminate the "hodge podge" look of Pearl Road, said he hasn't given up.
"This is something that needs to be done," he said. "There have been some great improvements in the last 10 years. This just takes it one more step to create consistency."
The plan seeks to have new and remodeling businesses conform to certain brick and stone colors, and to add hedge rows, plant certain trees and put up coordinated fencing.
Pearl Road would be broken into four districts, and areas that are still developing -- like the Whitney-Pearl intersection and Giant Eagle's new Market District store -- would be guided toward a uniform look.
A poll of Strongsville Patch readers in March showed the vast majority -- 89 percent -- backed the idea.
During a committee meeting Monday afternoon, Law Director Ken Kraus said the city made a similar study in 2009 and determined "a cookie-cutter approach" to color and landscaping wasn't the way to go.
Painter said he feared businesses would put off remodeling to avoid having to conform.
"We're adding additional obstacles and costs to our business partners," he said.
City Engineer Ken Mikula said he wasn't sold on the idea of consistency and wants an architect to determine that "having all buildings look the same is appropriate for Strongsville."
And Mayor Tom Perciak said Carbone was implying that the city's Architectural Review Board isn't doing its job. People on the board, Perciak said, have professional credentials.
"This implies they don't," he said.
Councilman at large Ken Dooner asked whether it was too late to implement a plan for consistency -- with so much of Pearl Road developed, won't it always be a hodge podge?
Yes, for a long time, Schonhut said. But if the city acts now, it will eventually transform.
"At what point do we stop it? Or do we let it go forever?" Schonhut asked.
Carbone, a police officer in North Olmsted, said officials in that community would love to go back 20 years and put some consistency guidelines in place as Lorain Road developed.
"This is our opportunity to do that in Strongsville," Carbone said. "Let's put the brakes on."
Mikula said the Architectural Review Board is already making sure new buildings have attractive designs and landscaping.
Carbone, though, said that while the building look good, the area's still lack consistency. If you look on Pearl Road from CVS to Dunkin' Donuts to Catan's, you'll see four different kinds of trees, while a district-wide plan would have had uniform trees.
Carbone said he will take a new look at the plan and start making revisions.
"I know in my heart it's the right thing," he said. "I think a lot of people in the community want something done."