July 18, 2024

Berea City Council held a committee meeting on Sept. 26 where a developer presented information about a potential future annexation request between Olmsted Township and Berea. (Beth Mlady/special to cleveland.com)
BEREA, Ohio — A 2019 petition sought unsuccessfully to annex to Berea a 72-acre Olmsted Township parcel located between two Sandstone Ridge housing developments in Berea. It now appears that another annexation request for the same vacant site could be imminent.
The prior abandoned request, which met with staunch opposition from both communities, proposed building 293 single-family homes on rural property owned by township residents Joseph and Suzanne Hollo.
Berea City Council earlier this year enacted legislation increasing minimum lot size requirements to control the number of homes on any future annexed property.
At council’s Sept. 26 Coordinating Committee meeting, attorney Greg Sponseller informally spoke alongside developer Richard Beran of Builders and Developers Co. (who said Ryan Homes currently is under contract as the builder) and engineer Dan Neff of Neff and Associates about a new project concept.
Their plan reduces the maximum number of homes to 165.
This Neff and Associates rendering shows a 72-acre Olmsted Township property eyed for a new 165-home development, provided annexation of the site to Berea is successful.
Approximately 75 people, including township trustees and Berea’s mayor, city engineer and law director, attended the information-only presentation held at Berea-Midpark High School.
Sponseller emphasized that no annexation petition or formal project plan for the new Hollobuck Subdivision currently sits before City Council, but he said an official petition could be coming within a few months.
“This is a legitimate opportunity to increase the housing stock in Berea with high-quality, first-rate houses,” Sponseller said. “Ultimately, the question is what’s in the city’s best interest? That’s what you have to answer.”
He noted that the local portion of real estate taxes generated from the subdivision would stay in Olmsted Township, with the appropriate allocation going to the Olmsted Falls City Schools and not the Berea City School District.
Beran estimated the base price of each new home at $500,000.
Attorney Greg Sponseller, legal counsel for developer Richard Beran, explained the annexation process and several reasons why the development team believes it would benefit the city of Berea. (Beth Mlady/special to cleveland.com)
Income taxes generated by Hollobuck residents would be directed to Berea, which was projected at $169,000 per year. Berea would be responsible for providing city services, including police and fire.
Hollobuck initially would form its own homeowners’ association. A huge stormwater detention basin would be constructed along Lewis Road.
Neff said Hollobuck’s sanitary sewer flows would not adversely impact Sandstone Ridge because enough capacity exists in the regional system. He also indicated that an updated traffic study will be done to gauge vehicular impacts, noting that turn lanes and deceleration lanes could become necessary on Lewis Road.
Councilman Chris McManis shared Ward 2 residents’ concerns, asking about Hollobuck’s effect on Sandstone Ridge home values, additional traffic volume through the neighborhoods and the amount of one-time permit fees generated for Berea (which Neff estimated at $890,000 over the multi-year construction period).
Councilwoman Lisa Weaver encouraged preservation of the area’s rural character.
Several Olmsted Township and Berea residents expressed their dismay, particularly about increased Lewis Road traffic and its impact on ingress/egress to and through Sandstone Ridge.
An adjacent horse farm property owner said her land unfortunately would abut several Hollobuck back yards, with no planned buffer and only 50 feet separating the yards from her barn and pasture.
“I strongly urge our council to say no again,” a Berea resident said about the future annexation request. “Your constituents do not want this.”
“There are ways to collaborate, think outside the box and move forward so we don’t have to have this (annexation) conversation anymore,” Olmsted Township Trustee Riley Alton added.
“You (as a developer) can go into an economic development district that allows you to tap into some of the resources and tax abatement you’re looking for without having to have unplanned development, which is effectively what this is.”
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