July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Lafayette Twp. JEDD borders decided

Lafayette Township trustees and members of the township Zoning Commission agreed Tuesday on the boundaries of a proposed joint economic development district.

In addition to University Center Innovation Park, the proposed JEDD also would include property set aside for the Chippewa Landing project.

The $37.3 million hotel, resort and spa project has been planned for the site of the former Chippewa Lake Amusement Park. Chippewa Landing’s plans call for a 193-room Hilton hotel, an Akron General Health and Wellness Center, and a luxury spa.

“This meeting is going to change how the township looks in the next 10 years,” Trustee Bryon Macron said. “Not just this one, but the meetings that will happen because of this meeting.”

Medina County commissioners have urged creation of the district to lure businesses to University Center Innovation Park, which is located along Technology Boulevard, north of state Route 162.

The park, owned by the Medina County Port Authority, is part of a Community Reinvestment Area county commissioners established in 2012.

While the approximately 70-acre park offers tax abatements to lure companies, so far its only occupant is the University of Akron’s Medina County University Center.

The proposed JEDD would offer additional incentives: infrastructure improvements like landscaping or sidewalk improvements for which potential businesses otherwise would have to pay.

The money for the improvements would come from Medina city’s 1.25 percent income tax collected from employees of businesses in the JEDD.

Up to 20 percent of tax revenue would go into a maintenance fund to pay for infrastructure improvements. The rest would be split evenly between the city and township.

At the meeting, county Commissioner Adam Friedrick and representatives from the Medina County Port Authority also discussed changing the township’s zoning codes to allow light industries to operate in Innovation Park.

The township has been leaning toward communications businesses like call centers, but officials in the township and county say they don’t want to exclude manufacturing businesses.

“We want to be able to include light industrial business while excluding noise, and pollution and truck traffic,” Friedrick said. “The things we don’t want that are already spelled out in the zoning.”

Macron said county and township officials realize the zoning has been too strict and they don’t want to limit potential business opportunities.

“There’s manufacturing companies out there that if you’re outside the building you wouldn’t know what they’re doing in there because you can’t see it, or hear it or smell it, and that’s what we’d welcome,” he said.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.