BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — Residents, speaking at a Jan. 26 public hearing on the proposed mixed-use section of Valor Acres, expressed concerns that crime, flooding, bright lights and low-rent housing might result from the development.
Some residents also didn’t care for the five-story height of each proposed building in the 24-acre mixed-use area at Brecksville and Miller roads.
Nancy Woefl of Village Lane compared the proposed buildings to the five-story “monolithic” apartment complex now under construction in Canvas, the residential portion of Valor Acres, north of the mixed-use section.
“I really object to another cluster of five-story buildings,” Woefl said. “The height of the buildings needs to come down, because what you’ve got at the north end is just totally overwhelming and I think very out of character with the community.”
Not every comment was critical. Nathan Keyhoe of Whitewood Road said the proposed mixed-use section was “neat.”
“More of the country should consider more mixed use like this,” Keyhoe said. “I thought this was kind of cool. It would be great to have more walkable developments like this.”
Keyhoe suggested adding “biking infrastructure,” such as dedicated bicycle lanes in the roadways, to the mixed-use section.
Kevin DiGeronimo, principal of DiGeronimo Development, said he plans to connect Valor Acres to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail about 3½ miles to the east.
Bright lights, big city
Richard Hipple of Brecksville asked how the Valor Acres mixed-use section would compare to Pinecrest, a mixed-use development in Orange that DiGeronimo helped build.
DiGeronimo said Pinecrest is focused on large retail stores, while Valor Acres will have more office than retail space.
Chris Zach of Old Orchard Drive questioned how the proposed hotel in Valor Acres would be successful, given that hotels nearby are not doing well. He added that hotels are crime magnets.
DiGeronimo said that according to demographical studies, hotels in mixed-use developments perform well. He said the hotel would cater to guests doing business with companies like Sherwin-Williams, so crime isn’t expected to be a problem.
Also, DiGeronimo, answering another question from Zach, said there are no plans to include low-income housing in the Valor Acres mixed-use section.
Gary Klein of Snowville Road noted that Valor Acres’ mixed-use section would involve a lot of asphalt. He asked if the plan would include creative stormwater management elements, like bioswales, designed to hold and clean stormwater of debris.
DiGeronimo said his firm would build stormwater retention ponds, detention basins and bioswales as part of the Valor Acres mixed-use section.
Brecksville resident Rob Garrison asked whether bright lights in the Valor Acres mixed-use area would shine on those living nearby.
DiGeronimo said the development will adhere to “dark skies” standards, meaning that although light will be visible on the site at night, none of the lighting will spill onto surrounding properties.
Michael Weiss of Old Quarry Lane said he’s a real estate broker working with retailers. He said he was surprised to see so much retail in Valor Acres, due to the declining market for retail space.
Weiss questioned how retail tenants in Valor Acres would afford to pay their rents. He said retail space ages quickly and becomes difficult to market.
DiGeronimo said he and Weiss “clearly disagree” on the marketability of retail space in Valor Acres. He said the development already has three anchors — Sherwin-Williams, the DiGeronimo firm and the eventual hotel tenant.
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