Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Expansion of Former Hoover South Parking Lot Overburdens City Roads & Storm Sewers, Intrudes On Neighborhood Serenity, and Devalues Residential Properties

            On October 27, 1980, former Common Pleas Court Judge Lee Sinclair spoke before North Canton City Council regarding a proposed change to the City’s zoning code regarding home businesses in residential neighborhoods.
            At the time, Judge Sinclair was a member of North Canton’s Planning Commission and had voted against the proposed zone change. Judge Sinclair explains in the minutes of the Public Hearing that he was present not as a member of the Planning Commission but as a concerned citizen.

            Judge Sinclair explained nearly 34 years ago that, “We must remember that zoning is designed to make for an orderly transition, an orderly development of our community. Most of the people here in North Canton come here because of its residential nature. We have very defined lines of residential use and commercial use. I think it’s important that we maintain those lines….We live here because we enjoy the residential nature of our particular home sites” (end quote).

            Any expansion of the South parking lot of the former Hoover Company will not allow residents to enjoy the residential nature of their homes.

            It would be nice to document at this time what agreements were put in place decades ago when the Hoover Company first built the South parking lot but those agreements have not been discovered. But common sense and decency tell us all that this proposed expansion overburdens the City’s infrastructure, roads, and storm sewers; intrudes on the enjoyment of nearby homes and the serenity of nearby neighborhoods; and devalues residential properties already hard hit from the downturn in the economy.

            The heavily wooded area separating nearby homes has served as a buffer from the activities of the 78 acre Hoover property from the time this city was called New Berlin.

            Who would ever dream there would be the remotest possibility that there would be an attempt to develop property that is laden with underground coal mines? Not my in-laws who, in 1946, bought the home my wife and I now share. Not Stark Parks who, just two years ago, spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars putting in a walking trail that will now have to be abandoned.

            The concerns I have as a nearby homeowner regarding this proposed expansion are the same concerns you would have if you resided near such a development.  

            The requested expansion of the South parking lot when totaled with the current number of parking spots at the YMCA will result in total parking in this immediate area of over 1,100 parking spots.

I would urge this body to review the development plans of the Hoover District in its entirety instead of in the piecemeal fashion that is taking place.

I would say to the developers, Maple Street Commerce, that their plans to repurpose the former Hoover District would be greatly enhanced and better serve their tenants and the City if the thousands of parking spots on the North side of the property were utilized.

            An entrance on the North side to a common corridor would be a shorter walking distance for employees of the various tenants, would allow them to get in out of the weather more quickly, and would not require them to cross a busy street.

            The entire grove of trees must be maintained as a buffer. To paraphrase Judge Sinclair, my wife and I would like to “enjoy the residential nature” of our home, to the extent that is possible.

            Lastly, I have a petition containing nearly ninety names of North Canton residents who are opposed to any expansion of the South parking lot.

            Developments such as this require more than a token tree or a few bushes for a buffer. I ask that you turn aside this proposed parking lot expansion lest you accelerate the decline of an already dying neighborhood.

Chuck Osborne