Ward Councilman Supporting Giant Eagle Project
Matt Schonhut is backing the proposed Market District on Pearl Road
Ward 2 Councilman Matt Schonhut has come out in favor of Giant Eagle's proposed Market District store on Pearl Road, even though residents in one area of his ward -- those adjacent to the site -- oppose it.
"The majority of residents in my ward that I've talked to favor it," Schonhut said. "If most were against it, I'd oppose it, too, but that's not the case."
Residents in Hunting Meadows, where several streets abut the Market District property, object to the proposed 110,000-square-foot grocery store, citing concerns about noise and traffic.
Schonhut met Feb. 7 with a group of about 50 residents closest to the site to hear their concerns.
He followed that up at a public meeting the next night by telling project developers they need to widen the buffer zone between the Market District and neighbors.
The buffer started at 60 feet and is now 90 feet after engineers adjusted plans.
Still at issue is the height of the mounding and fence that would separate the store from neighborhood. Schonhut said the company would build a 5-foot earth mound and top in with an 8-foot fence and "generous landscaping."
That might not be enough for homowners on Mallard Circle, which has a higher elevation.
"Even at that height, people are going to be able to look over the fence and see it," Schonhut said.
Voters will decide whether the grocery store can proceed by determining a rezoning issue on the March 6 ballot. Issue 4 seeks to rezone a residential portion of the Strongsville Golf property to general business.
The rezoning has to pass citywide and in Ward 2 to take effect.
Giant Eagle wants to close its store at Westfield SouthPark and build an upscale Market District on the Strongsville Golf and Honey Hut property.
The developers have scheduled three public meetings to discuss the project. About 200 people attended the first one in January; the second, held Feb. 8, drew less than half that crowd.
Schonhut said it's understandable that residents abutting the project would have qualms, but said "as long as Giant Eagle does the project right and does the buffer right, I think they'll be as satisfied as they could be."
If the rezoning issue fails, Giant Eagle officials could try again at the polls, find another site or abandon the project.
"We'll find out in a few weeks which way the ball rolls," Schonhut said.