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 proposed , 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, 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. seeks to rezone a residential portion of the 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 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.


Nick America February 18, 2012 at 04:37 AM
Why do you have to go to the voters? We elect city officials to best determine these zoning laws. It seems to be a waste of tax payers money. Surely the city officials know best on these matters. If they feel it is a good idea for the property in question to be changed to the best zone, that should be okay with the public; after all we elect them to be smart and savy and of course the all tax dollars the city collects from these business's benefits us all... With this being said what can city hall do to change the way we zone parcels ;where it would not have to go before the voters, who are mostly confused the way the zone change reads at the ballot box anyway.
lyn February 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Well said! I agree.
lyn February 22, 2012 at 02:13 PM
I have been reading different articles online, and also wonder why, if this property has been used as a driving range all these years, is there a need to go to the voters to change the zoning. I also wonder if it has been zoned residential, but used for business purposes, how were these parcels taxed? Also read this comment elsewhere online: "What is needed is a ring road around the property, connecting Pearl Rd. to Raccoon Trail, which is just a deadend street right now that could be extended. This solves 2 problems. The residents are very concerned about adding traffic to Drake and Shurmer. Well, this new road would allow access to the new store for all those living in that large development. Now less traffic on those other 2 roads. That problem solved. Second, the issue of hurting the value of nearby homes. By putting a road there, you have just created a selling point - easy access to close and convenient upscale shopping in your neighborhood. What could be better than a way to entice buyers to purchase your homes? Now market values have gone up. That problem solved. I think we should rally behind this idea and push for Giant Eagle and the city to consider this, even if the levy should fail." Sounds good to me. And, if the levy does fail, there is no need to put up a barrier - there is already a tall chain link fence between the 2 properties that must be acceptable. After all, in over 30 years, no one ever complained about the current view or noise.
Debbie Palmer February 22, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Lyn, to answer your question, there is a house on the property, and that small area is zoned residential. Strongsville Golf doesn't use that part for its business, but Giant Eagle would. Strongsville voters approved a ballot issue years ago that requires a public vote any time a parcel is rezoned from residential to any other use.
lyn February 22, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Hi Debbie, I thought a major part of the 5 (?) acres that they are asking to be rezoned is at the rear of the property. Also, I thought that council had the authority here to make the call to rezone this property, but chose to send it to the voters first. At some point, I wonder if they would permit the exercise of eminent domain for promoting economic development.
Debbie Palmer February 22, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Lyn, I think you're right about the location of the parcel. But no, council doesn't have the authority to rezone residential property without a vote of the people. Kind of a quirky Strongsville law.
lyn February 22, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Then the Sun Star and Strongsville Post got bad info. But, eminent domain might still be a possibility.
lyn February 22, 2012 at 04:51 PM
But, then again, now I don't know who has said what!!! So many people have stated council could have done this without the voters, and this is the first I've heard they can't.
Debbie Palmer February 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Okay, I just looked it up to be sure! Voters changed the city charter in November 1990 to prohibit council from rezoning any residential parcel without it being approved at the polls both citywide and in the ward.
Nick America February 22, 2012 at 08:59 PM
It would be interesting to know just how many votes were cast and the actual reading of the law . Who actually initiated the law and who actually benefited from the law at that time. There had to be a reason for making the law. It had to benefit someone or some property owner. Furthermore why does the whole city has to vote, Thats why we have Wards or Zone's , What may be good for one Ward/Zone might not be for another , Therefore let the Ward/Zone decide; if they want to make changes . Just my opinion of course!!
lyn February 22, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Good thoughts. I move, since the driving range has used this property for recreational purposes since before 1990, we just skip the expense of a vote and rezone it to what it has been used for. Any seconds? Too bad we can't do it that easy. But I wonder if it is possible. No one stopped this from being used for a business purpose, so therefore, "de facto" zoned for recreational purposes. Of course, some lawyer reading this is going to point out my lack of knowledge of the law.


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