Sports Complex Plan May Face a Fight
City may not allow rec uses in industrial zones
Strongsville officials have introduced legislation to stop allowing sports and recreation facilities in the city's industrial districts -- days after two Strongsville men submitted plans to build one on Progress Drive.
The measure, if approved, could thwart a plan to build the 22,000-square-foot Strongsville Performance Sports Center on a 2-acre site behind Olympia Candy.
Walt Rapacz and Jeff Zbydniewski said they want to give Strongsville kids another place to practice basketball, volleyball, batting, soccer and badminton.
They want to start building the $1 million facility this year.
Their attorney, Bruce Rinker, asked City Council this week to "start a discussion" about how to "mesh the city's policy and this project."
Rinker said that if council no longer allows recreational facilities in industrial zones, "you're really taking this type of (athletic) use off the books altogether."
Council gave the legislation the first of three readings Monday and referred it to the Planning Commission for review.
Rapacz and Zbydniewski purchased the land at auction last fall. It was listed as being zoned General Industrial, a district that allows recreational facilities as a conditional use.
The partners discovered when they went to the Planning Commission earlier this month that the parcel had been rezoned a few years ago to Commercial Services.
Rapacz said last week he would seek to have it rezoned back to General Industrial, because no other Strongsville zoning districts allow facilities like the one he is proposing.
But if council no longer allows a sports complex in that district, the project can't move forward.
The developers hired Rinker to represent them. He pointed out Monday that the land around the site is already zoned general business and residential.
"It isn't so much a one-size-fits-all proposition," Rinker said.
Council President Mike Dayment said earlier this month that officials have been thinking for some time about changing the zoning code so that recreation facilities aren't allowed in industrial areas, both because of safety issues and because the land can generate much more tax revenue if it is occupied by an industrial use.