P&Z: November 15th 2018

Planning & Zoning Commission
Workshop Meeting Minutes
Mayfield Village
Nov 15, 2018

The Planning and Zoning Commission met in workshop session on Thurs, Nov 15, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center, Conference Room for a meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris presided.


Present: Mr. Paul Fikaris (Chairman Pro Tem), Mr. Jim Farmer, and Mr. Jim Kless

Also Present: Ms. Kathryn Weber (Law Department), Mr. John Marquart (Economic Development Manager), Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner), Ms. Deborah Garbo (Commission Secretary)

Absent: Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman), Mayor Bodnar, Dr. Stephan Parker (Council Rep), Mr. Tom Cappello (Village Engineer), and Dr. Sue McGrath (Leave of absence thru 2018)


  1. Skoda Construction, Inc
    Preliminary Concept Plan & Development Agreement
    Rezoning of Highland Rd. Properties to Planned Residential Development District


Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris called the meeting to order. This is a Thurs, Nov 15, 2018 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission. Our only proposal on the agenda is Skoda Construction, Inc. This is a workshop meeting, no vote will be taken tonight.

Mr. Marrelli begins with a little history. There was a proposal from the same company about a year ago for 26 units on so many acres of land on Highland Rd. Since then it’s gone back and forth with the Administration and Council. Council did not vote to put it on the ballot, so Chris Skoda came back with a new proposal. It’s bigger, now we’re looking at 60 units with some amenities which would incorporate buying one property that we own. The Skoda Company is on target to go to the May ballot for the rezoning which is Village wide. In order to make the commitments and keep the Planning Commission abreast of what the plan is, because at some point you’re going to have to deal with it, we had this meeting tonight which we’re calling a preliminary concept plan. Also, the Law Department and the Administration hammered out a Development Agreement. Katie, if you’d like to expand on that.

  • Development Agreement

Ms. Weber states, we put together a Development Agreement that would pretty much outline the Village transfer of property and the acquirement of property as well as regulations for the development in order to keep in mind what the Village had intended.

Mr. Marrelli asked Ms. Weber to give the highlights on the Planned Residential Development criteria.

Ms. Weber explained. The Village has a Chapter devoted to the PRDD, Chapter 1159 which is attached to the Development Agreement. The Developer is required to comply with the intent of Chapter 1159. Section 1159.01 outlines the intent of the PRDD.

Mr. Marrelli asked for highlights of the Agreement.

Ms. Weber refers to pg #4, section 5; Development Terms, Conditions and Deed Restrictions. This is pretty much the restrictions and the requirements that the Village would like to see in this development that we’ve worked with in order to come to an agreement.

Mr. Marrelli added, that are particular to this unit development.

Ms. Weber replied, exactly.

Mr. Marrelli said, and if you haven’t read them, it’s pretty clear about how many units are going to be ranches, how many units altogether, and it talks about the existing residences on Highland Rd being allowed to use the amenities. 

Mr. Marrelli said, I have to apologize, I haven’t introduced John Marquart who is our new Planning Development Manager.

Mr. Marquart thanked John. For now, I’m the Economic Development Manager. Eventually, Planning Director. I’ve been here for about a month or so.

Everyone welcomed Mr. Marquart.

Mr. Farmer asked a question on pg #4 where it states;

“In the event that the Developer is unable at any time to meet the timing set forth above through no fault of its own, the parties shall meet to discuss and agree upon extension of up to 12 months, which shall not be unreasonably withheld from the Village. Adverse economic conditions are deemed to be a valid basis to extend the time for completion under the Agreement.” Mr. Farmer asked, is there a definitive legal definition for adverse economic conditions? Does something need to be added to that? Otherwise, you get in a contest where the Developer could say this is an adverse condition and it could be something we say, you’ve got to be kidding me. Then it could hold thigs up.

Ms. Weber replied, that comes to the “unreasonably withheld from the Village”. It’s important in an Agreement we don’t want to make something too narrow as to lose the intent of that. But since this is something that’s going to be in the future and working together, we wanted to make sure that we check with all parties involved. We don’t know what a market decrease is going to be or some type of financial event in the future. In terms of adverse economic conditions, that contemplates a host of things that could happen. That would really mean that it’s just economically unfeasible for the Developer to move forward with this project.

Mr. Farmer said, that’s the kind of language I’m thinking. Does something more need to be put in? If you start arguing over adverse economic conditions-

Mr. Kless said, he can’t extend it for more than 12 months.

Chris Skoda 6317 Kenarden Rd, Highland Hts, introduced himself. When we were talking through this, the only reason I asked for that language to be put in there was because, first of all, none of this would even probably start until fall of next year. The way the economy is going today, everything is strong, but who knows, if I get into a situation next fall where it’s not conducive to build houses, it might sit for a little bit. Yet, by the time we get to next fall, I’ll have a couple million dollars involved in this already, so it doesn’t pay for me to not do this or to stop for any reason. That wasn’t in the first draft of the Agreement I received which raised a red flag for me on the development side because if the houses aren’t selling next fall, I’ll need a little relief for some time, to wait for the economy to turn around.

Mr. Marrelli said, this is kind of like the same thing that happened on the SOM Ct, Judge Krenzler’s development. It was a hot market, Krenzler & Company went ahead and started the project, put the street and utilities in and two houses. Then everything started to slow down and then it died, there were no houses being sold, but all the improvements were in. Then the market picked back up and they went 100 miles an hour and finished it. You never know what the timing’s going to be for completion. It’s really dictated by the market.

Mr. Farmer said, I’m not having any problem with the concept, I didn’t know if it needed to be defined more. It seems pretty broad the way it is now, that’s all. They’ll say one thing and we say another.

Ed Parker, with MELD Architects introduced himself. I’m actually an Architect on the Mayfield Village Architectural Review Board so I’m recusing myself on this project from serving for the Village. I’m serving as MELD Architects and with Skoda Construction. That seems to be the start of construction, commencement. That is protecting him saying if he can’t start construction off the bat, he would get an extension. That’s talking about the initiation of construction and not the completion of construction.

Ms. Weber said, a big part of this Agreement is that part of what the Village is agreeing in this Agreement is to transfer the Village owned parcel to the Developer in order to create this. If for some reason there would be a default under this Agreement, the Village does not have to move forward in transferring that property. The Village can retain that property for whatever they plan for the future. In terms of defining adverse economic conditions, we could look into defining it more specifically. I think that the way it’s drafted and was contemplated with the parties is that it’s meant to be the economy as a whole of the housing market and not his personal finances.

Mr. Marrelli said, the Agreement says then the parties will meet, discuss it and talk about an extension and try to work this out.

Chris Skoda said, it’s detrimental to me not to start, because all that money is just sitting there, I’m paying interest on it.

  • Village Services & Homeowner’s Association

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris states, I’d like to get this on the record. What the proposal here is for, the Developer owns 6 parcels necessary for the project. The Village would enter into an Agreement. Step one would be to hammer out the Development Agreement to satisfy Mayfield Village’s questions in order to place this on the ballot because of the rezoning part of this, on the ballot by May 2019. If the rezoning passes, the next phase would be the Village selling their property to the Developer and also the Developer entering into Agreements that he previously had with the property owners listed on this map. Then those would pass and construction would begin.

Mr. Marrelli states, then he would be coming here with preliminary plans to consolidate all the lots. If you read the back pages on Section 1159, it tells you the prescription on all the things that have to come to the Planning Commission.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris said, when this is done, this will be a dedicated Village street. Lot owners own their lots and pay their taxes, just like they normally would, correct?

Chris Skoda replied, right.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, the Village is responsible for what type of services?

Mr. Marrelli replied, snowplowing, salting and trash pickup because they’re regular streets.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, then the Developer retains no ownership? Who would own these facilities?

Chris Skoda replied, there will be an Association set up for this.

Mr. Farmer said, eventually the Developer hands over the Association to the homeowners.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, with that being said, what is the Planning & Zoning Commission asked to do?

  • Timeline

Ms. Weber replied, one of the main reasons that you have a Development Agreement is because Village owned property is going to become a part of this project. The D.A. is in order to kind of govern that transaction and to work together and make sure the Village has input on how their property is going to be used in this and has control over it. On a parallel track, in order to effectuate what this development and this agreement, these properties need to be rezoned to the Planned Unit Development District. The way the Charter works, an Ordinance goes to Council and has 3 reads. The Charter requires that when a rezoning is presented, that has to be referred to Planning & Zoning for their input and recommendation to Council. Here at the workshop we’re going to discuss and have the presentation to learn about it and at the next P & Z meeting you’ll know on whether or not to recommend your recommendation on to Council. There’s going to be also be a Public Hearing added because this is a rezoning measure, that’ll be the 3rd Reading. Then Council will vote on it and then it’ll be placed on the ballot for a vote. Once it’s rezoned, he’ll come back with more formal plans of all the nitty gritty details of it, then the P & Z Commission will then follow the procedures outlined in Chapter 1159 in order to approve the plans.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, has there been a 1st Reading on this?

Ms. Weber replied, yes. The Ordinance that is saying these parcels are going to be rezoned to the PRDD has already been presented to Council and it began a Reading and they’ve now brought it to the Planning & Zoning Commission for their input per the Charter requirements.

Mr. Farmer said, something in the Development Agreement pg 5 (f) that I’ve never seen before is where it talks about; “Residents of single-family dwellings with frontage on Highland Road shall be allowed access to the Amenities”.

Mr. Marrelli replied, those are the existing residents on Highland Rd, they can use the PRDD’s pool and other amenities but they won’t be part of the Homeowner’s Association.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, in the event of a default, the Village has the option to buy back the Village property for the purchase price?

Mr. Marrelli replied, yes. It everything falls apart, we can buy it back.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, does anybody have any other questions?

Mr. Farmer asked, did our Engineer go over all these legal descriptions of the property?

Mr. Marrelli replied, I think the Law Department did.

Presentation by Developer Chris Skoda, Skoda Construction, Inc

Chris Skoda introduces proposal. As you know, we were here a year ago with 26 homes. The reason it’s jumped now to something larger is because after talking to the residents on Highland Road, they were upset with that plan and this is what they wanted. They wanted something bigger developed. They didn’t see a reason to put one street in and not develop that block. After the meeting with them, we approached the homeowners of these properties and they agreed to sell. So here we are with a larger development. We tried to work with the Village on this Development Agreement. I would say that 90% of it is outlined with what they wanted and is fine with us. We don’t see any problems with the language in there. We’re opened to changing if there’s a reason to.

Chris said, referring to the development site plan, we own this section here and that little ¾ acre lot that you see on your map, we’re buying that at the end of the month. This is the balance of the 3 properties we want, Village having one, Monaco and Piecuch having one. We’re not saying this is a definite final plan. It’s a concept of what could go there in terms of spacing and amount of houses. In our Agreement we’re limited to 60 units. We could go more but we opted to put in these amenities so it takes up space we can’t use. We’ve also in some of these areas widened some of the greenspace so we don’t have everything crammed together. We might be able to fit a unit or two more in there but we’re not asking for that. The singles we tried to keep all the same and keep ranches all on Highland Rd to kind of go with the rest of the area. We have some singles intermixed here, a couple down here as well. This is a big bioswale up here. We have something planned for here, although we have some wetland issues, this is all wetland in here.

Ed Parker said, we may also have active bioswales that are pushing to those bigger pond areas. In the Development Agreement it says to work with the Village Engineer on what they’ve already been working on. But it is also code that the size of the property has to have Storm Water Management Plans anyway.

Mr. Marrelli said, it was brought up at another meeting that there’s a water problem across the street.

Ed Parker said, I know that was one of the concerns of people on Highland Rd but it actually is going to be a better situation because it’s actually going to be dealt with, there’s going to be more hard surface, but it will actually be controlled.

Mr. Farmer asked, are those retention ponds going to hold water?

Ed Parker replied, they’re dry most of the time and when they fill, they may fill for a few hours.

Chris Skoda said, another thing we’re going to attempt to do is connect this neighborhood with the Trail. We’re going to talk to the fellow that owned Euclid Industries because he sold us this property. If we could get an easement we could probably do it all on his land and in this corner here. The Village has said they might step in if we can’t get anybody to give us an easement for the Trail. We thought that would be a great asset to this neighborhood to be able to access the Village Center or pool. So, this lays out very nicely, we also made the setback an average of what’s on Highland Rd, I think a little more than 60 feet.

Councilman Meyers, 6493 Highland Rd. in the audience noted that his setback is at 100’.

Chris Skoda said, plantings in here over time. You probably won’t see a lot of those houses by the time the trees grow in.

Ed Parker said, to address the massing, right now we’re just showing type model units but there will be more than one duplex, more than one ranch, as far as the different shapes of them. 

Mr. Marrelli asked, what are you doing for guest parking?

Chris Skoda replied, if we’re able to do this curvilinear, we have to check with the Fire Dept to see if that would be a legal turnaround.

Ed Parker said, for every unit, we’ll have 2 guest spots, 2 covered spots. Owner of the properties, Skoda Properties has an idea to develop, he comes to us and without trying to invest too much money, we try to come up with a plan. This is a quick massing plan. This whole thing is going to completely just continue to get massaged until it works for everyone. This curvature layout option is kind of the concept of Highland Woods where you have the median. We took a look at not having another entry, what this does I think helps control traffic to be more internal and softens up the roads also.

Chris Skoda said, in talking with people who wanted this, they thought it could look like SOM Court where you have a drastic curve. We can’t really do that. We’d have to push all of this towards Highland Rd to make that happen. This doesn’t have to happen, it’s totally up to Council and zoning and if this is what everybody wants, we’ll try to find a way to make it work. Most other neighborhoods in the Village have straight streets.

Mr. Marrelli said, the tradeoff is moving the houses closer to Highland Rd.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, would there be consideration when you’re coming over that bridge from the west to the east, you come over a rise and pick up some speed. I like the idea of that eastern drive as well but not too close to that bridge. 

Chris Skoda said, there’s different ways we can do it. Some of this layout will be dictated to with where our wetlands are.

Mr. Farmer said, where you have the road right now, when somebody comes over that interstate on top of that hill and people pulling out, you’ll be surprised that some people go over the speed limit-

Ed Parker said, with what you’re saying is, you almost may want to do one way in and one way out.

Mr. Farmer said, that driveway’s going to come really quick after you come over that interstate.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, what’s the criteria for a sound wall? Does that end at Ridgebury going on the east side of the freeway? Where does the wall end?

Mr. Marrelli points out the wall, there’s just a piece of it. Mayfield Hts has the whole thing.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, in terms of these drawings, are there three different basic floor plans?

Ed Parker replied, basically maybe 2 or 3 different ranches on Highland, then these could either be ranches or two-stories and then that’s the same with all the duplexes. They are all the size to be able to hold a first floor Master.

Chris Skoda said, part of the Development Agreement says all the houses on Highland Rd. are to be ranches.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, how many residents are we anticipating here with 60 units?

Mr. Marrelli replied, the SOM Court PRDD are basically 2.5 per unit. Maybe we’d be looking at 200 max for this development.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris states, that should be noted for people who are concerned we’re going to double our population.

Ed Parker said, a couple other amenities that are listed; tennis, pickle ball, a clubhouse by the pool.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris said, as far as the timeframe, I know certain things have to be filed before this.  

Mr. Marrelli said, there’s a whole timeline from here out. On Mon, Dec 3rd P & Z will vote at 6:30 pm, then Council Caucus meeting and a Public Hearing will follow on the same night.

Ms. Weber said, on the 3rd, you’ll specifically be recommending to Council that these parcels be rezoned to the Planned Residential Development District.

Chairman Pro Tem Fikaris asked, does anybody have any further questions or comments?

Mr. Marquart asked, just briefly Mr. Chairman, the Village would like to definitely stay engaged with your discussions from your development with respect to that Trail connection just to make sure we don’t negatively impact the tenants in that area. 

Chris Skoda replied, sure. It could be Euclid Industries or the Church, there are a couple options to do that.

There being no further business, Mr. Kless, seconded by Mr. Farmer made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.