Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Planned DTW building project sparks debate

A new combined commercial and residential development planned for downtown Willoughby has started serious conversations between residents and at the most recent council meeting.

Read the article about the split vote from Willoughby City Council on passing a resolution approving the construction: Split Willoughby Council OK's condominium plans along Sharpe, Euclid avenues.

Here is a quick rundown on what is planned:
  • B.R. Knez Construction, Concord Township is looking to build 12 brownstone-style buildings. Each building is three-stories high with plans for first-floor light commercial/office space with residential units, both one and two-story, above. Each building will have a commercial space and there will be 18 residential units.
  • The lot is located at Sharpe, Euclid and Clark Avenues in Willoughby. Five buildings will face Euclid, two will face Clark and the remaining five will face north on the property.
Before being approved by the council, the construction plans underwent some changes:
  • The Design Review Board Historic Preservation District heard the plans twice. The first time they were denied. Knez Construction then changed the plans, making the buildings only three stories instead of four.
  • The Planning Commission agreed to the plan, but required some stipulations from the company. One of the conditions agreed to was that the buildings facing Euclid Avenue would be built first. This was to ensure that if the project was stalled for any reason, then buildings wouldn't be scattered across the lot. Another condition was that the commission would withhold building permits until the city's law department reviewed the proposed deed restrictions and homeowner's association covenant created by Knez.
Residents and city officials have expressed pros and cons to this project.

  • It is one of the few combined commercial and residential projects in the area. This promotes the city's work/play/live strategy for revitalizing downtown Willoughby and drawing more people.
  • Offers more options available to businesses/residents looking to locate to Willoughby.
  • Neighbors surrounding the lot, which has sat vacant for many years, are concerned about the lack of green space. Constructing 12 buildings on a single large lot may overwhelm the neighborhood.
  • Increased traffic could cause more congestion on the streets in downtown Willoughby and more people could put strain on sewer system.
Elizabeth Lundblad
Twitter: @NewsHLiz

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