Developments in Bay development
There is an important discussion taking place in the Bay Village Planning Commission about the character of our city. Bay's attached residence housing code (Chapter 1158) was passed in 1974 and, despite numerous proposals and untold hours of debate, it has not been amended for 40 years. The Planning Commission is now considering changes to 1158 that open the possibility of new development.
What are attached residences? Housing units that share a wall and have separate private entrances. Townhouses for sure, condos maybe, perhaps certain apartments.
Why attached residences? Historically, Bay has been a community of primarily single-family houses on quiet streets lined by mature trees. The 1999 Master Plan included a resident survey showing strong support for new housing that would allow seniors and empty nesters who wanted less space and less yard work to stay in Bay.
Attached residences might also attract young professionals who would bring much-needed income tax revenue to the city. Finally, any development that replaces existing houses with higher-value housing means higher property tax receipts for the school system and the city.
Why should you care? Imagine a new development in your neck of Bay's woods. You support it because of the benefits noted above. But what kind of visual and noise buffers would you want to have? How many units per acre should be allowed? How many garage and parking spaces should be required per unit? How tall a building, how long a shadow, should be permitted? Should a pool or clubhouse be permitted? What is in keeping with the character of your neighborhood? These and similar concerns are at the heart of the Planning Commission's discussion.
If you can, attend a Planning Commission meeting – the next one is Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in city hall. If you can't be there, talk to a Planning Commission or City Council member. Democracy only works if the demos, the people, are part of it.
Planning Commission membership, the zone map and ordinances are available through the city's website. The 1999 Master Plan is available at planning.co.cuyahoga.oh.us/documents.
Two areas are currently zoned for attached residences: Cashelmara, for which a special 1158A ordinance was passed in 1980, and Bay Commons condos, along with the vacant land between Bay Commons and Bradley Bay Health Center. (Cahoon Ledges is a cluster development, and the Knickerbocker Apartment building is in a commercial business district.) As of 2010, attached residences are a "permitted use" within a retail or commercial zone. This was designed to open up for development the old Shell station across Wolf Road from Bayway Cabin.
Right now, any other attached residence development would require five acres and a zoning change. Bay has very little vacant land. The options are for Chapter 1158 to allow development on a smaller parcel, and for a developer to acquire adjoining parcels and raze the existing structures. Either route still requires a zoning change, which must receive a majority vote both citywide and in the affected precinct. (In November 2013, the proposed rezoning of five parcels at Cahoon and Wolf passed in the city but failed in precinct 2C.)