City Council will hear a second reading Monday to adopt legislation approving revisions to the Revised General Development Plan for Kopf Construction Corp.'s Legacy Isle development.
In an unusual move given restrictions for group gatherings amid the COVID-19 emergency, council will allow up to 10 residents to speak in person about items that are on the collective committee and regular council agendas. The meetings, usually held separate weeks, are combined so the council can meet fewer times during the health crisis, something most area city councils are doing.
Kopf wants to eliminate about half of his 18-hole Sweetbriar Golf Course in order to build 140 residential units including single family, cluster and attached townhomes. It is situated on nearly 92 acres east of English Turn and Heron Bay and south of Legacy Pointe Parkway.
Kopf’s plan was met with strong resistance from Legacy Pointe residents with a long list of concerns, including: existing flooding issues in homes and yards that would worsen with more development; increased construction, passenger and delivery traffic creating danger for children and pets; density issues reducing the value of homes that currently range from $350,000 to nearly $1,000,000; and loss of green space.
The Planning Commission and City Council approved the Revised General Development Plan in fall 2018, although the 3-3 vote in council was disputed, and remains an issue with some residents. Disappointed residents were told at the time the developer had a right to build on his own property. But they were also told their issues would be considered when Kopf presented an Improvement Plan.
The revisions being considered by council now are for Phases 1 and 2 of the Revised General Development Plan. Included are a reduction of three cluster homes and one three-unit townhome, as well as a slight shift in a proposed street to so that new homes are 100 feet further away from existing cluster homes on Heron Bay. The initial plan set them 200 feet apart. Phases 1 and 2 now include 36 cluster homes and 11 townhome units for a total of 33 structures. A community swimming pool has also been added.
Council can either vote to accept the revisions, or the revised plan approved in 2018. A third and final reading to approve the revisions is tentatively scheduled for April 27.
In addition to the physical changes, Kopf’s engineer Jim Saylor pledged at the March 3 Planning Commission meeting to address homeowner concerns, including having construction vehicles enter and leave Legacy Isle from a street stub at the south end of English Turn at the gazebo roundabout. He also pledged no construction vehicles will be permitted on Heron Bay and that temporary barriers will be placed across a street sub at the south end of Heron Bay to prevent passenger vehicle and construction traffic from entering or leaving Legacy Isle.
More than a dozen Heron Bay residents have written one or multiple emails to council member Jennifer Fenderbosch, whose ward includes Legacy Pointe. She is also the council's representative to the planning commission.
Chief among their concerns is the plan to join Heron Bay to Innisbrook, one of the proposed new streets in Legacy Isle. They argue that, as a private street, they will be on the hook for street and gate repairs resulting from increased traffic from those who do not live on their street. Private streets are the responsibility of homeowners associations which are supported by monthly dues from each resident home.
They have also raised concerns about potential liability and loss of favorable insurance rates from being a private street. Kopf built six private streets in Legacy Pointe, but this would be the first connected to another street, said Fenderbosch in written responses to their questions. She explained that the city's Thoroughfare Plan, supported by local safety forces, prefers multiple points of access for emergency vehicles.
Residents have proposed that, once construction is complete, construction barriers be replaced by flexible barriers that would allow emergency vehicles access from Heron Bay to Innisbrook in Legacy isle. They object to any influx of passenger or delivery vehicles. It is not known as of press time what, if anything, is possible regarding this request.
The other persistent issue is repeated basement and yard flooding after heavy rains. One resident wishing to remain anonymous said there had been four “hundred year rains” since moving to the development in 2015.
During heavy rains the weekend of March 28-29, a resident sent pictures of a heavily flooded golf course. Fenderbosch met with a property owner and provided a written response saying the golf course serves as a large retention field for nearby Heider Creek to back up into after a large storm. She explained it was holding water to allow the creek to drain into Lake Erie and that if the water receded, it was doing what it was meant to do.
She repeatedly emphasized to residents that storm water issues would be one of the things Kopf must address as part of the coming Improvement Plan.
Fenderbosch was unable to say when Kopf might present it to the Planning Commission, which will have to approve it before it goes to council. However, it could be relatively soon, as she predicted work could begin as early as fall or next spring if Kopf gets the necessary approvals to proceed.
This has aroused new concern among residents who said they want to appear before the planning commission and council but have great reluctance given the current COVID-19 health emergency. Nearly 30 Heron Bay residents attended the Planning Commission's March 3 meeting and more than 100 jammed council chambers and flowed into an adjacent hallway when the Revised General Development Plan was considered in late summer and early fall 2018.
Given the current “stay at home” order that runs through May 1, Fenderbosch announced at council's March 23 meeting that any correspondence from residents relative to Legacy Isle will be summarized on April 13, making it part of the official meeting record.
Michele Murphy is a freelance writer in Avon Lake. She may be reached at email@example.com.