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  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  and 's new  -- would be guided toward a uniform look.

A poll of Strongsville Patch readers in March .

The Problems

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.

Too Late?

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 to to , 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."



lyn June 13, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Matt- I hope you and Jim are successful in pushing this through. And, I am glad to see that the "young blood" is not kowtowing to the "good ol' boy network" that seems to be running the city. New and better ideas are needed in this city, and its time that the old boys' club making the decisions consider ALL the citizens of the community. Too many of us feel that our concerns just don't matter anymore, since we are already here and don't need to be courted. But shouldn't a community take care of its own before expanding too much; because if you don't, you will have pockets and areas throughout the city of neglect and falling values. Thank you for your efforts.
CNaso June 14, 2012 at 02:18 AM
What a disappointment. I thought Strongsville was finally going to do it right. Like Westlake. Like Dublin. No one who has driven down Pearl Rd with their eyes open can say the City’s Architectural Review Board is doing the right thing. I don’t think it is ever too late to do it right, so let’s get going and keep this idea alive. Nice job by the new guys, keep the faith many of us are behind you.
Jean Williams June 14, 2012 at 03:21 AM
why should strongsville have to look like any other city. this is who we are,our own city ,with our own character
Scott Maloney June 21, 2012 at 04:17 AM
As another recent addition to City Council, and the Chair of the Planning, Zoning and Engineering Committee, I feel there are some things that should be clarified. People complaining about strip malls should understand that architectural standards will not have an impact on what is built, but how it looks. Zoning standards dictate what can and cannot be built. Recent construction in the past 5-7 years is not a hodge-podge. Each new building or major renovation has had a high standard of quality. The proposal presented by Mr. Carbone and Mr. Schonhut was not dismissed out of hand. Mr. Carbone was advised to re-draft his proposed legislation in the form of guidelines rather than mandates. Other communities have advised us to engage a consulting firm with expertise in this area. The cost is estimated to be $250,000 to $350,000. We’re debating the timing given other areas where we’re struggling to meet the need – road repair and sewer infrastructure projects are two examples. Mr. Carbone was encouraged to reach out to the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce, and to consider town hall meetings. Given the long term impact the proposed legislation would have on our community for probably the next 50 years or more, these are not decisions to take lightly, or be made hastily.
Jean Williams June 21, 2012 at 04:43 AM
please give us an example on what architectural standards would do to the look of ,lets say the KFC that is in the photo (what would they HAVE to change)


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