A developer working on a $3.3 million six-unit housing project on Wooster Road withdrew plans for the project on Friday, saying the city has not moved quickly enough to approve his rezoning request.
Matthew Parnell of Capstone Management LTD. of Rocky River notified the city that he has pulled his request to rezone the property at 3300 Wooster Road, where the former Buna Vestire Romanian Catholic Church was until its congregation moved to Olmsted Township in the fall of 2017.
“No, I’ve had enough. We’re pulling it off the table,” Parnell said. “Any work on a project on the property will be with another developer.”
Realtor Kim Kramer of Howard-Hanna Realty, the property’s listing agent, said it was a setback..
“It’s a shame,” Kramer said. “It’s a project which would have been good for the city. It’s very disappointing for the church because the members have been trying to sell it for a while.”
City Council President Jim Moran also expressed disappointment.
“I knew he was frustrated, but I hoped he would see this through,” Moran said of Parnell.
City Council had sent the proposal to rezone the property back to the city’s Planning Commission, which was to consider the request at its May 21 meeting. The commission would have reviewed questions about the size of the project, yard setbacks and variances that would be needed if the rezoning plan were approved.
Council had already asked the planning commission, Board of Zoning Appeals and Architectural Review Bboard to hold a joint meeting to review the project for council, which they did before council considered the proposal again at its May 13 meeting.
“We’re back where we started with all of this,” Parnell said. “I just didn’t see where we should try to keep going.”
Parnell questioned whether council should have been considering some of issues concerning the project size and variances it would have needed.
“We were informed throughout the process that the planning commission is empowered to grant variances.” Parnell said. “It had been through the planning commission. I thought all the questions in those areas had been considered and answered.”
He noted that many nearby residents have spoken in favor of the project at city meetings.
Moran said the questions would have come about, whether it was from council or one of the other boards or commissions.
“There were questions about what to do with the size of it and how to handle variances for the project in addition to the questions about the zoning,” he said.
Plans called for razing the former church building, which sits on the half-acre of property and dates to 1840. It is believed to be the oldest building in the city.
Kramer said the church will continue its efforts to sell the property, which is listed at $365,000.
“They moved to another location and don’t want to retain the property,” Kramer said. “They would like to find an owner for the land who will do something good with it for the area.”
Moran said council would like to see a resolution that satisfies everybody.
“We certainly would like to have someone come in and do something good with the property which will benefit the church and the city,” he said. “We also would hope to work with the developer in the future since he has done a lot of good work through the years.”
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