North Royalton residents fight back against sprawling senior living development

Residents living near the proposed site are against the plans. (Source: WOIO)
Residents living near the proposed site are against the plans. (Source: WOIO)

NORTH ROYALTON, OHIO (WOIO) - A North Royalton neighborhood is fighting back against development plans that would bring a senior living center to their own backyard.

In just four days, North Royalton residents will vote on whether to develop 26 acres of land off of West Sprague Road.

The city says the plans could be a big boost to economic development.

But some residents are dead set against Issue 13.

The $25 million project needs to be rezoned from residential to a senior citizen district to move forward.

But people who live nearby say the project could destroy the peace in their neighborhood.

They feel like they're voices aren't being heard by the city.

Paul Blair has lived on Ridgedale Drive in North Royalton for 17 years.

"It's beautiful, it's like the Metroparks. It's really picturesque," he said.

But his neighborhood could change soon.

On the land behind it, plans are underway for 162 living units, with villas and three 3-story buildings for a senior living center.

Paul's neighbors worry it will damage the environment and lead to more flooding on their street.

"So our thought is when they develop that, it's going to redirect water, it's going to cause a lot of issues for us," he said.

They also worry about the value of their homes dropping and more traffic.

So now these signs, line the street on every lawn.

Residents are fed up. They say every time they open their mailbox, they're getting mailers urging them to vote yes on Issue 13. And on top of that, they're getting non-stop robocalls.

Thomas Jordan is the community development director of North Royalton.

He says right now about 4,000 residents over 70 need senior housing.

Jordan says the project will generate over half a million dollars in property taxes, and would be one of the largest employers in North Royalton.

"For the most part I think there's been some misunderstandings about it. Some concerns the site will be overdeveloped and create storm water issues. Under the current concept plan, 80 percent of the property will still remain green space," Jordan said.

Jordan says storm water regulation is part of the planning and flooding shouldn't be an issue.

Paul wonders if the plans could change over time.

"What happens three years from now, four years from now, five years from now when that property is no longer used, no longer successful? Does it turn into a halfway house?" Blair said.

Residents will vote on Issue 13, the rezoning proposal, this coming Tuesday.

If it passes, the site plan still needs to be approved and there will be several public hearings first.

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