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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."

 

 

tom m June 12, 2012 at 12:34 PM
when you make everything the same the stores blend into the background........ and when the stores blend into the background... they become hard to notice/remember and when stores become hard to notice/remember people go elsewhere
lyn June 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM
What? Now, I was applauding the council and mayor for taking these steps to prevent Pearl Rd. from being an ugly corridor of a mish-mosh of business fronts. I thought, FINALLY, they were going to take care of CURRENT matters before moving on with new ventures, and maybe we won't see areas be neglected because they don't matter any more. I don't know if its because of a defeatist attitude or because it just doesn't fit into their agenda for future development and to hell with what we now have. But, this undertaking should not be that involved, and should be a given. The sooner the city starts on this endeavor, the sooner things will start to look better. Why wouldn't the city want to improve the appearance of 1 of its 2 major roads? Are they saving funds for other projects? I do not want to see another Lorain Rd. look here. PLEASE reconsider. Take a look at other communities, like Brecksville or Hudson. They manage very well to give a more cohesive look. I am constantly dumbfounded by the decisions the city officials are making recently, and really wondering the reasons behind them.
lyn June 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I don't think stores all need to look identical - but the same type of architecture should be required. Also, like landscaping down the streets through a community always is pleasing to the eye. I know I always take note of that in my travels
lyn June 12, 2012 at 02:03 PM
And, RE: "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." I have 2 responses to that - -So, now we do nothing to spare peoples feelings? -And, as they say, if the shoe fits... I mean, just drive down Pearl! What a dumb justification for not going ahead. I am so upset by this. What next from the city? How can something that shouldn't even be an issue, something so apparent, become a "no-go"? I read the reasons for not going ahead, and they are a real stretch to make them stick. I guess, once again, the citizens of Strongsville are nothing more than serfs of the mayors kingdom.
Michelle June 12, 2012 at 02:43 PM
City planners, credentialed or not, failed this city long ago when they decided to make it a city filled with nothing but strip malls! Many of these are frequently vacant and yet more are getting built! Strongsville's "town square" is in the middle of the busiest intersection around, lacks parking and is frequently filled with offensive displays that reflect Strongsville's disrespect for diversity (i.e. christmas tree travesty).
lyn June 12, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I never really gave much thought to those Christmas trees lining the square before. But now that you bring it up, it does look rather tacky with those signs in front of each, saying who donated money towards it. I think this year they should go for a more classy display on the square, with just a few larger trees. And, have the gazebo be highlighted better with a very nice display. Make it look more like a 1950's type square - not as commercial. Then the nativity scene could be put in front of the new police station.
tom m June 12, 2012 at 06:29 PM
lyn michelle is whining about having chrismas trees makes all of those in this city who dont believe in christismas feel left out and insulted.....I say too bad get over it
Sharon Galvan June 12, 2012 at 06:51 PM
"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." So is leaving the issue 'as is' the way to go instead? Uh, no. Jim Carbon definitely has the right idea. Spend enough time in communities that have gotten it right and you'll see how wrong parts of Pearl Road are.
lyn June 12, 2012 at 07:01 PM
tom- Yep! My reply to her was meant to convey essentially what you said - only in an obscure way. And I thought I'd throw in about the nativity for emphasis.
Mar June 13, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Very disappointing that our city administration would shoot down this idea. A cookie cutter look would be a definite improvement. If they are afraid they'll lose business with the older tenants, can't we have some standards for remodeling and new buildings? As mentioned above, we have to start somewhere. At the risk of sounding insensitive, those who've overseen the "planning" for the past 26 years we've lived here, didn't seem to have much of a plan, regardless of "credentials." It's a horrible mismash--with the exception of the Post Office, Mr. Sheiban's beautiful shopping areas, and a few other new brick buildings and businesses.. A landscaping plan would be another great way to start. Please don't give up Mr. Schonhut and Mr. Carbone. It sounds like most residents of Strongsville would favor the plans you have set forth. Mayor Perciak and City Officials: Please reconsider.. The more attractive the area, the more businesses that will be drawn here and customers to those businesses.
joe simonton June 13, 2012 at 12:32 AM
a cookie cutter look might be all happy happy joy joy but it just does not work. I drive all over northern ohio and there is nothing worse then looking for a store only to find you just drove past it because everything is all earth shades
Matt Schonhut June 13, 2012 at 12:45 AM
As someone who has worked countless hours on putting this together, I must express my appreciation for those of you that have showed your support towards this matter. Jim and I feel very strongly on this issue and will continue to fight for it. During our campaigns, we talked to many residents who were in favor of this. We feel that this plan is necessary to keep Strongsville a vibrant city that is compared to other top communities in Northeast Ohio. Our intentions are to create an exciting business district in the main throughways that the residents of Strongsville would be proud of. I hope that the residents will stay behind us on this plan as I feel it is truly what they would like to see happen to our major corridors. I have much pride in the City of Strongsville. With some young blood now on city council, I believe now is our time to get the city headed in the right direction so that generations to come will also be proud to call this great city home. Again, from Jim and I, your support is much appreciated. I ask all of those in favor of this plan to please encourage your councilman to support this as it is essential to the future welfare of the the citizens of this great community. -Councilman Matt Schonhut Ward 2
Matt Schonhut June 13, 2012 at 01:08 AM
James, While I respect your comment, I believe something needs to be clarified. If you could read the proposed legislation, it leaves enough room for businesses to still do things to stand apart from others. I believe 'cookie cutter' is an inaccurate way to describe our plan. It divides our main corridors into multiple sections so that each area could stand out as its own 'district' if you would. The plan RECOMMENDS things that we would like to see happen. Similar brick color and landscaping is in the plan, but it still allows for businesses to stand apart so that they do not completely get lost within one another. I believe 'cookie cutter' can be used to describe various housing districts that have been developed, but not this plan.
tom m June 13, 2012 at 01:22 AM
what I would like to see with all this new young blood on our city council is some help on getting the metroparks to build a bike/hike entrance off the drake and hunt area so that the generations to come dont have to drive 5 miles in a car to take their kids to a park system that is right off drake road
joe simonton June 13, 2012 at 04:36 AM
why dont you do something about the pig-stye on the corner of pearl and westwood, nothing like a bunch of broken down cars and trucks,weeds, empty barrels right next to the square to bring a whole town down
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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