Council members expressed concern about allowing “cut-rate” hotels along Chagrin Boulevard if a proposed change to the zoning code passes.
“To me this is a big deal,” said Councilman Saul Eisen during last night’s meeting. “It certainly changes the character of what Chagrin Boulevard is now.”
Planning and Zoning Commission is reviewing a proposal to allow stand-alone restaurants and hotels to operate along Chagrin Boulevard in Beachwood.
The ordinance, which was read at Monday night’s meeting and sent to the Planning and Zoning Commission for review, would amend the city code that restricts businesses on much of Chagrin Boulevard between Richmond and Green roads, as well as a few other spots in Beachwood. As it stands, it does not allow stand-alone restaurants or any hotels in these zones, but restaurants inside office buildings – like Giovanni’s – are allowed.
“It’s not a major change,” said City Planner George Smerigan. “It’s just trying to provide more opportunities for businesses.”
These zones now host mostly commercial and medical offices.
After the meeting Eisen expressed concern that he had not been given more information about the proposal before he was asked to vote to send it to the Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration.
“Someone is asking for a change along the way, I believe,” said Eisen. “That sort of bothers me because there’s a good chance that somebody already knows what it is they’re making an accommodation for.”
Other council members asked Smerigan during the meeting who the potential developers were.
Smerigan confirmed that developers had approached him about building along Chagrin Boulevard. “If there’s an opportunity for that for the city, we want to at least present this to the planning commission, have them discuss it and review it and make a determination. There is interest in this regard.”
Smerigan added that the city had lost potential developers before because it was too slow to react to their requests for accommodations, such as zoning changes.
He did not say who the developers were, but told council that it would not be “cut-rate” hotels – and that the zoning code could control for that.
Smerigan added that, with the addition of Eaton and the Ahuja Medical Center to that area, there would be a demand for more hotel accommodations.
The move is part of a larger push, he added. “We’re looking at trying to update the regulations, given the fact that the economy has been changing, and circumstances have been changing in the region.”
Smerigan said that he expects more zoning amendments in the same vein to cross Council’s desks soon.