CH should reject Vandemar rezoning application

To the Editor:

I write to urge that Cleveland Heights City Council reject Circle K’s application to rezone two residential properties on Vandemar Street to enable yet another gas station—this one with 16 pumps and a convenience store that will clearly encroach on a residential neighborhood, likely with lights and traffic well into evening hours. I have lived in this community long enough to remember when you could not come out of the parking lot with a rental movie and make a right hand turn onto Vandemar. It is a residential street after all. Let’s keep it that way!

My objection to this project goes beyond the obvious impact on the residential neighborhood. Cleveland Heights needs economic development, for sure, but a 16-pump gas station within feet of another gas station is not my idea of the kind of development that will jump-start this community and strengthen the area north of Mayfield Road, that suffered most from the predatory lending/foreclosure crisis which has resulted in vacant, deteriorated properties and deteriorating property values in these neighborhoods.

So, I urge rejection of this rezoning request, but I also hope that the CH Master Plan, currently in process, will include a vision of what could be possible in this area. For example, what if the city would/could find another place to house what is in/on the old Hillside Dairy property it owns, and the day-care building on south Noble Road, and the vacant lot which held the former Medic/Pick n Pay, and the investor-owned Center Mayfield buildings could be brought together in a package of land for redevelopment? Imagine the possibilities!

In the meantime, while we wait for/look forward to the CH Master Plan and the hiring of a new economic development director to guide its implementation (an essential step; kudos to council), I urge council to reject the Circle K rezoning application. The proposal is not good for the neighborhood, and it is definitely not the kind of development that this community needs or wants.

Diana Woodbridge

Diane Woodbridge
Cleveland Heights

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 11:59 AM, 03.01.2016