P&Z: August 7th 2017

Mayfield Village
August 7, 2017

The Planning and Zoning Commission met in regular session on Mon, August 7, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center, Civic Hall. Chairman Syracuse presided. 

Roll Call

Present: Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman), Dr. Sue McGrath (Chairman Pro-Tem), Mr. Bill Marquardt, Mr. Garry Regan, Mr. Paul Fikaris, and Mr. David Hoehnen                                                  

Also Present: Mr. Joseph Diemert (Law Director), Mr. Tom Cappello (Village Engineer), Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner), Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary), Mayor Bodnar, and George Williams (Councilman)

Absent: Mr. Steve Jerome (Council Alternate)

Consideration of Meeting Minutes: April 3, 2017

Mr. Regan, seconded by Mr. Fikaris made a motion to approve the minutes of April 3, 2017.                


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Dr. McGrath, Mr. Marquardt, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fikaris, and Mr. Hoehnen
Nays: None                            

Motion Carried. Minutes Approved As Written.


  1. “Use” Variance
    Memory Care Assisted Living Facility
    Artis Senior Living, LLC
    East Commons, Ltd
    Parcel No. 831-05-015
    Berns, Ockner & Greenberger, LLC

Meeting Timeline to date:

July 6, 2017    Board of Appeals approved ‘Use’ Variance
July 20, 2017  P & Z Workshop
July 24, 2017  Council’s First Reading of Ordinance


Chairman Syracuse called the meeting to order. This is a regular meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission. The only item for consideration today is a ‘Use’ Variance proposal for a Memory Care Assisted Living Facility from ARTIS Senior Living, LLC. We had a workshop meeting, I was not present at that meeting but I read the minutes and saw what was discussed. We have the ability to take action tonight to whether or not recommend this proposal to Council, then Council will decide. There’s already been a variance granted for this ‘Use’ by the Board of Zoning Appeals which has a different standard of review than we have. Anyone here to make a presentation today, if you’d like to step forward and state your name and address for the record. We won’t need to swear you in as we did at the Board of Appeals.

Thomas Jones, Real Estate Consultant, ARTIS Senior Living, 840 Cedarhill Dr, Cincinnati, Ohio 45240 introduced himself.

Presentation by Attorney Sheldon Berns

Sheldon Berns, Attorney for applicant, 3733 Park East Dr., Beachwood, Ohio introduced himself. I’ve been informed by Mr. Diemert that you’ve read all the records from the Board of Zoning Appeals, so I won’t repeat that stuff. Your goal as Planning Commission is to determine whether or not this use is a proper use for this property where it’s located. As you know, Sam Cannata’s company went through a great deal of effort based upon his goal of building and leasing medical office buildings on this site, 5.8 acres. There’s one little section, about 1 acre that leads onto SOM Ctr Rd that can’t be built on. It has to remain unbuildable. The only access to the property is on North Commons Blvd.

Unless you’re deeply involved in the real estate market, things can happen and you don’t know they’re happening. That’s what happened to Mr. Cannata. I think everybody knows what the real estate industry has gone through. We see that every day with retail, nothing can be more dynamic than what’s happened there. Strangely enough equally dynamic is what’s happened to the office market, except that it’s not as apparent, you can’t see it like you see the stores shut down, the shopping centers with empty stores and the vacant malls.

As far as the office market is concerned, and forget medical offices. In the last several years with the combination of Obama Care and hospitals becoming larger and consuming the practices of many Doctors, independent medical office buildings are scarce. If you have a medical office building now it’s going to be on a campus where you have a hospital. Generally speaking those buildings will be owned by either Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals. There is no demand for medical office buildings and the lots of them are half empty. That is something that Mr. Cannata did not know.

In so far as office buildings in entirety, the last figure I heard from Appraiser Roger Ritley was there are 6 million square feet less office buildings in Downtown Cleveland. What’s happened to them? They’ve been converted to residences, huge buildings. So far as smaller buildings, unless they’re located on a freeway, there’s not much use for them. Why is that? It’s something called the computer. Who would have thought that armed with a computer, people didn’t need to have offices. The Plain Dealer just ran a story about lawyers going solo so they can work from their home. We have 7 people at our firm and 2 work from their homes. If you look at the freeway, you might be able to attract retail. This 5.8 acre site located 2 ½ miles away from a freeway is not a place where there’s a great deal of demand for office space. Seeing that there are lots of offices that are not being used, nobody can afford to build an office on a speculative basis trying to rent a small office because there are plenty of less expensive offices.

That’s what happened to Mr. Cannata, he didn’t know it. So he’s entered into a contract to sell his property to ARTIS Senior Living. Why is this a great location for a Memory Care Facility? There’s an insatiable demand at this moment for Memory Care Facilities. Our population is getting older. The incidences of Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia have been skyrocketing as the population gets older. Facilities for people suffering from memory loss, we’ll need many more, unfortunately it’s going to get worse. 

This particular property is residential on the north, residential on the east, across the street is another Assisted Living Facility and right next door to this facility is a residence. I’m sure his point of view is he’d be happy if they didn’t do anything. This is something which fits in residentially, its design fits in well. It doesn’t have much traffic at all. It’s an ideal use for this location here. It maintains the residential character on SOM Ctr. Rd and at the same time fits in well with the residences on both sides.

Mr. Berns concludes. While we’re limiting what we’re presenting, if you have questions, we’re here to answer. I’ll turn it over to Thomas now.

Presentation by Thomas Jones, Real Estate Consultant

Thomas Jones said, first I’d like to thank the staff of Mayfield Village for facilitating us through the process. Ms. Garbo thank you for helping me today. As stated earlier, the record is pretty significant as far as all the questions that I’ve covered through the Board of Zoning Appeals up to this point, so I don’t want to repeat everything. If you have any specific questions, I’d be more than happy to address them after my presentation. 

The first item I’d like to cover is the rendering “Front Perspective” (attached) which I believe everyone has a copy. I know one of the directives for the new buildings in the community is to comply with the Western Reserve Style. We went to great lengths to try and mimic your newer most recent municipal building, the Community Center. It’s a mini parallel between the architectural choices of the Community Center and we tried to parallel them here in our building with the red bell seam roofing, similar brick colors, capstones to comply as much as possible with the Western Reserve Style so that we fit into the community’s vision going forward.

Secondly is the “Site Plan” (attached) which we had Polaris Engineering design. We believe according to our interpretation of the regulations, is that we are complying with all regulations. Having met with the property owner along SOM Ctr. Rd., we tried to directly address his concerns with buffer issues and lighting. The funny thing is it’s not lighting from our property because we’ll obviously comply with zoning regulations to have a zero bleed site. But he’s more concerned about blocking lights from the Assisted Living Facility across the street which he says he sees lights from now as well as the Progressive Insurance complex. We agreed to build two rather large evergreen islands in addition to the 30 linear feet of woods that we’ll leave intact, plus an 8 foot fence. I think if there’s any scenario where this gentleman would be completely buffered, our facility with the steps we’ve taken to address that, I think he’ll he very happy in the long run.

Just so you get a general idea about the philosophy of our company as well as the inner workings of the facility, I have two very short videos that I’d like to show;

  • 1st Video @ 6:44 pm: ARTIS Environment
  • 2nd Video @ 6:48 pm: ARTIS Staff

Mr. Jones concludes. I hope as the saying goes, that a picture speaks a thousand words. I’d just like to add one last statement. The folks in these videos are the residents and I hope that the videos represent the safety and dignity we provide to the greatest extent possible to our residents. I want to point out that we’re helping not only the residents, but their loved ones. This city is blessed with one of the greatest medical facilities in the world, the Cleveland Clinic and they’ve opened up a specialty building on the west side of town that focuses on how when you have caregivers that are taking care of their loved ones with these diseases like Alzheimer’s, the psychological and physical impact on them is so great that sometimes they develop their own health issues while their trying to take care of their loved ones. You’ll see the overwhelming statistics that we have on our application and this will only get worse as times goes on. Taking care of people with these types on afflictions is very stressful both emotionally and physically. Thank you for your time.

Mr. Berns said, Assisted Living facilities such as ARTIS are licensed by the State of Ohio, and those are the baseline requirements. What they do beyond that is amazing. Unfortunately my Dad spent more than 10 years of his life with Alzheimer’s before he died at 83. We didn’t know what to do for somebody in that condition. What a blessing it would have been to have ARTIS for those services. I doubt there’s anybody here that hasn’t been touched with someone in their family by dementia.


Chairman Syracuse opens the floor for any questions.

Mr. Regan asked, how many facilities do you have Nationwide?

Mr. Jones replied, we have approximately 40, currently 13 open, rest are in various stages of development. As you can see in our application, the ownership group, the management group, we’re pioneers in the Assisted Living business back in the 1980’s. We have 100 years combined experience in this field.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, are they all Memory Care?

Mr. Jones replied, yes. We specialize in Memory Care Facilities.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, you have 2 in Ohio currently open in the Cincinnati area?

Mr. Jones replied, that’s correct. One in the Bridgetown which is the west side of Cincinnati and one in Mason which is out near Kings Island.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, their licensed by the State of Ohio?

Mr. Jones replied, correct.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, and presumably they’re regulated by the State of Ohio?

Mr. Jones replied, correct. The way the process works in Ohio, you build the facility, they do a physical inspection, then you’re allowed to have 2 residents come in, you take care of them for at least 60 days, the State comes back and interviews the residents and their family, does another physical inspection, you pass all those ‘tasks’ then you’re granted a full license to open up the rest of the building. Obviously the State does periodic inspections. I don’t have an exact timeframe how often they do them, but yes, it’s all regulated by the State.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, onsite inspections?

Mr. Jones replied, yes.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, do you receive written reports?

Mr. Jones replied, I’m sure we do, I could go back and see, if you’d like copies of those for the two existing facilities.

Mr. Hoehnen said, I’m sure our Council would like to see those. All the pros, all the cons and cover letters. That would be helpful.

Mr. Marquardt asked Mr. Marrelli, have you looked at this drawing and is it in compliance with our Office/Lab requirements?

Mr. Marrelli replied, I have not. This is a concept, it has not been officially submitted for approval.

Chairman Syracuse said, it’ll come to us at a later time. If Council approves it, it’ll go to Architectural Review Board-

Mr. Marrelli said, and back to Planning & Zoning to look at the setbacks, etc.

Chairman Syracuse said, and at that time if they needed any other variance request, that would go in front of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, how long has Mr. Cannata owned the property?

Mr. Berns replied, approximately 7 years.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, do you know how many real estate brokers he used during that time trying to sell the property as Office/Lab?

Mr. Berns replied, from what I’ve been told is he exhausted the market. One of his partners is a Real Estate Broker, Mr. Gatto.

Mr. Jones said, we have David Hollister a Real Estate Broker present if you’d like to ask him any questions.

Mr. Berns said, they exhausted their attempts to find anybody and they couldn’t find anybody. The reason is simple, whatever you pay to build an office building today, the rent you could get won’t cover your cost.

Mr. Hoehnen asked, basically he used his business partner to try to market the property as Office/Lab, is that correct?

Mr. Berns replied, I think he did but I think he also had other brokers as well.

Mr. Hoehnen said, I would hope that he contracted with outside brokers over that period of time. You don’t know for certain, you say that he did but you don’t know how many.

Mr. Jones introduced David Hollister. David is a very prominent broker in the Greater Cleveland area. Would you mind if he addressed your question?

Mr. Hoehnen replied, I’d appreciate it.

David B. Hollister, Managing Director Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

David Hollister said, I work with Newmark Grubb, I represented ARTIS in finding this property. I can say that Mike Gatto as their broker was quite visible on this property. In terms of being a partner, nothing like having skin in the game to motivate you. He was all over me on this property for 2 or 3 clients of mine. Two of them wound up going further down the highway here towards Chagrin Highlands. That was a company called Glenmede who is going in a brand new building that Dino Palmieri’s building that gets $35 sq. ft. rents, the kind of rent you need to get a new building started. Then a Pet Insurance Co. of mine who actually was in Mayfield Village at one point about 10 years ago in one of Tony Panzica’s buildings also moved into a building that is owned actually by Shelley’s Son and other partners. I tried to get it on the radar for both of these clients. They said no, it’s too far north, we don’t want to be there, too far out of the way, it’s not near where our people are coming, it’s not near the highway, there’s nowhere to eat, there’s no other amenities in the area. There was a great reluctance for office tenants to be this far north. There is no way if you had a real estate need in this area that Mike Gatto wasn’t going to find you. He’s was very aggressive in pushing on trying to get the property moving. There just wasn’t a demand for this location for an office tenant.

Chairman Syracuse asked, any other questions?

There were none.

Chairman Syracuse said, I’d like to reiterate the meeting timeline to date:

July 6, 2017    Board of Appeals approved the ‘Use’ Variance.
July 20, 2017  We held our P & Z Workshop.
July 24, 2017  Council’s First Reading of the Ordinance took place.

Procedurally, any ‘Use’ Variance granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals automatically goes to Council for approval. Council refers this matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation to Council. I’d like to note that the Board of Zoning Appeals approved the variance subject to a Development Agreement with Council’s input being agreed to between the applicant and the Village as well as an appropriate buffer for Mr. Kinnaird, a resident who has the adjacent property. The factors for us to consider whether or not this is an appropriate use for this property is the long range planning of the Village, other uses and surrounding uses in the area and things such as that.

Mr. Regan said Joe, we received information today regarding a Notice of Appeal. My question is, if you’re on Beta and your business fits that zoning, if you happen to have a competitor four doors down, so be it. Then there’s lots of people who have competing businesses in the various buildings. But, do we owe any consideration to an existing Mayfield Village business and taxpayer in consideration with this variance given that it’s right across the street?

Mr. Diemert replied, in my opinion you do not at this level. Planning is restricted to visualizing what’s the best use of the property in this zoning district and in the neighborhood.  

Mr. Regan said, the problem is this Appeal is coming after BZA has approved it. It winds up in our lap and ultimately Council’s lap at this time with an Appeal on a variance that BZA acted on. I don’t want to make it tougher on Council, I don’t want to make it easier on Council. I’ve heard what’s been said about this site and it makes sense. I’m sure if Mr. Cannata could have sold this building four years ago he would have done it or developed it. Today, with this Appeal lurking in front of us, is there the potential for issues that the Village has to deal with as far as a disgruntled current business operator because the Village has allowed a competitor right across the street in an area that was not zoned for that 10 years ago and are we potentially oversaturating an area with a type of use? I heard it isn’t going to go away, but I don’t know.

Mr. Diemert replied, to answer your question Garry, Planning Commission is not charged with that responsibility nor do we have that authority to determine what a saturation point would be. Yours is just to determine whether or not the proposed use on this property would be appropriate in that zoning district. Indeed the competitors you’re speaking to and those who appealed were not in a permitted use district that would accommodate what they’re doing. They were given special uses and variances in order to accomplish what they are doing the same as this applicant is trying to do. I don’t think that will be an argument or a problem. It’s up to the business people in our free market to determine whether or not they could succeed. We’re not able to tell a property owner that you can’t go there because it’s not good for other business. It’s just not in our realm.

Mr. Berns said, putting aside the legal issues. Governor’s Village has 23 beds that are for Memory Care. Most of what they do is not Memory Care. This is going to have 73 beds. You cannot possibly exhaust this market. You can use hundreds and hundreds of beds unfortunately. On a legal basis, if somebody wants to object because they’re a competitor, we still are an economic democracy, so that doesn’t work. We haven’t come anywhere close to exhausting the market, until there’s a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Chairman Syracuse asked, any other questions or comments?

There were none.


Mr. Regan, seconded by Dr. McGrath made a motion to recommend approval of this proposal to Council with the same conditions that the BZA applied.


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Dr. McGrath, Mr. Marquardt, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fikaris, Mr. Hoehnen
Nays: None                          

Motion Carried. Recommendation to Council.


Mr. Hoehnen, seconded by Mr. Fikaris made a motion to adjourn the meeting.


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Dr. McGrath, Mr. Marquardt, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fikaris, Mr. Hoehnen  

Nays: None                          

Motion Carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.