The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 9, 2013

Council hearing Jan. 22 on golf course house plan

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — City Council will hear comments on a proposed housing development earmarked for the old Conneaut Shores Golf Course property at a Jan. 22 public hearing.

The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall.

At issue is a planned unit development designation for a housing project sought by BuildWorks and James Farmakis, the landowner. Conneaut’s Planning Commission approved the concept at a meeting that followed a public hearing late last year. It’s City Council turn to study the PUD designation, and after that the application returns to the Planning Commission to authorize developers to create detailed blueprints and plans.

The project is still not guaranteed at that point — commission members could order revisions to the project after reviewing plans.

Developers envision a four-phase project that could span years on the 70 acres-plus parcel near the lakefront. Cottage- and bungalow-style houses will be built in the first two phases. Cottage houses will be available along Lake Road, while the bungalows will comprise a “community” to be accessed from Whitney Road.

If all phases are fully developed, more than 100 structures could sprout on the parcel.

The PUD approach marks a big departure from past attempts to put houses on the property. Previously, Farmakis has tried to rezone the land from residential to multi-family dwelling status, a move resisted by officials. Farmakis has filed lawsuits on the matter, but the claims were rejected by courts.

Rezoning for the golf course has been strenuously resisted by neighbors, but they embraced the PUD proposal at the commission’s hearing. A PUD gives local government a lot more say on the project, which residents say provides peace of mind.

Documents related to the PUD request are available for inspection at the offices of the city manager and clerk of council at City Hall and the Conneaut Public Library, 304 Buffalo St.

Written questions regarding the project are welcome and may be sent no later than Jan. 22 to the Office of the Clerk of Council, 294 Main St., Conneaut or via email at HYPERLINK “mailto:councilclerk@conneautoh.org” councilclerk@ conneautoh.org. Comments must be signed and carry an address to be considered.