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Judge Rezones Parkstone Property; Solon City Council To Appeal

Solon Law Director Tom Lobe provided an update on a lawsuit concerning property at the corner of Miles and SOM Center roads.

A Cuyahoga County judge recently ruled on controversial and long-dormant lawsuit regarding property at the corner of SOM Center and Miles roads.

Solon Law Director Tom Lobe told council that a judge had taken action in the lawsuit filed by Parkstone Partners against the city, deciding to rezone the property to a denser residential district.

In response, the Solon City Council voted 6-1 on Monday night to appeal the decision.

Parkstone Capital Partners has been locked for years in a lawsuit with the city of Solon over rezoning land at Solon's northern border.

The undeveloped land at the southeastern corner of Miles and SOM Center roads is zoned for single-family homes. But Parkstone, the land's owner, has been fighting to rezone the property to allow something denser than single-family homes.

Residents in the area have vigorously opposed those options, saying that the land should remain single-family homes to keep it in harmony with the rest of the neighborhood.

In 2010, Judge John Sutula ordered Solon to put the rezoning before the voters or he would rezone it himself. The voters did decide, with 86 percent of those casting ballots voting no.

But then in June 2011, Parkstone Partners filed a motion asking Judge John Sutula to judicially rezone the property. That's what he did earlier this month on Nov. 14.

Councilwoman Toni Richmond was the only member who voted against appealing. She said she doesn't think the outcome of the appeal will be in the city's favor.

"I don’t believe its an unusual use of that property," Richmond said of the R-2 zoning district. "I’m not going to support this. I just don’t believe the outcome will be any different regardless of what judge it's with."

The other council members disagreed, and voted to appeal.

 

 

 

Heinz Knall November 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM
The tail wagging the dog. This is a bit disturbing to read about. Does this mean that zoning laws, even those backed up by 86% of the voters, are now a moot issue? How is it that a developer, whose only interest is in achieving a monetary gain, can trump a longstanding law and carry more weight than the voters whose interest is in preserving the quality of life in a community? How is it that a homeowner will have his feet held to the fire over a minor issue and developers, by filing suit, or threatening to file, get what they want? This is clearly a case where the developer wants to build something that is not compliant with the current zoning, nor consistent with the surrounding properties. Perhaps its time for the City to swallow some pride and buy the property from the developer and follow Moreland Hills’ example as with the old BP station on the opposing corner. If you’re looking for ways to spend money that will make Solon look better, this would be the place to do it. I believe this was suggested a long time ago, making the property a portal to the City. Some nice stone work, some flowers and a nice western reserve style sign welcoming visitors to Solon.
Harry November 20, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Sutula was unopposed in the November election. He owed more to the Democrats than he did to the 86% of the Solon voters who rejected this rezoning request. He doesn't care what Solon thinks.
Harry November 20, 2012 at 02:07 PM
An admirable suggestion but I don't feel the city can or should purchase every piece of vacant land in Solon just to keep it green. A purchase like this might be better than spending $1 million to make an old bridge look better but this is not the same as what Moreland Hills did. There was an abandoned gas station on that property. The one in Solon is densely wooded. A portal to the city is not a bad idea but this is one of about 20 portals to this city. Spending big money for this makes little sense. Appeal the decision and let it work its way through the courts.
Murphy-Solon November 20, 2012 at 02:20 PM
How Solon responds will determine the effectiveness of zoning laws going forward. Hate to see $$$ going to law firms but if we don't draw the line here, then where is the line going forward if said line can no longer be drawn by council or the voters?
Bob Melzer November 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I find the fact that Judge John Sutula thinks his opinion is more important than the will of the people frightening.
Murphy-Solon November 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Eminent domain decisions involving private interests set the stage for this.
Jacki Calavitta November 20, 2012 at 07:23 PM
If City Hall had done their job and appealed the original ruling in March, 2010, this entire debacle could have been avoided. Instead, they met in "executive session" and collectively sat on their hands, and said nothing to their constituents and allowed the legal deadline to pass without action. Solon operates on zoning laws that are selectively enforced, and a patchwork of exceptions presented to gullible and uninformed voters who grant City Hall's every wish. Just look at our history of rezoning issues (except Issue 129). How sad! No wonder Solon's retail landscape is so pathetic.

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