October 16, 2011by Mike Lesko | Associate Editor
Stow -- Plans for an 80-bed nursing home and rehabilitation facility on Sowul Boulevard were temporarily put on hold as city officials sift through complaints from residents who believe there would be too much additional traffic and lighting.
A proposal by Altercare Nursing Home, which sought a conditional zoning certificate and site plan approval, will remain in the city's planning committee, where the issue was discussed Oct. 10.
In addition, a 24-foot-wide curb cut entrance for emergency vehicles -- particularly a 48-foot-tall fire aerial apparatus -- would be built on Sowul Boulevard near the Sandy Hook intersection.
More than a dozen residents, some from the Rockport Colony development, attended the meeting.
"We don't want additional traffic dumped onto Sowul Boulevard," said Michael Nolte of Sandy Hook, adding that there is a possibility of vehicular head lights shining onto homes in the Sandy Hook area at night.
"It's going to shine right into my living room window," said Alice Jackson of Sandy Hook. "I don't like that. It's a problem for us."
Tom McGregor of Sandy Hook agreed, saying he was "concerned about the lighting. We're going to see the [vehicular] lights shining through our windows."
"I am concerned about the increased traffic," McGregor added. "An 80-bed facility will still generate a lot of visitors. It's a 24/7 facility. There is a lot of fast, loud traffic coming down Sowul as it is."
Ronald Gajock, an architect representing Altercare, believes traffic from the nursing home will not be a problem.
"During off-hours [when employee shifts are not changing], traffic is non-existent unless there is an emergency," Gajock said.
"The nursing home would not provide as much traffic as a retail development," said Rob Kurtz, Stow assistant planning director.
"This will increase the traffic, noise and lights," said Stephanie McConnell of Bar Harbor Lane. "Noise from the construction is likely going to be a problem for us. Do we have enough retirement homes in the city already?"
City officials said this would be the seventh nursing home in Stow.
"No more curb cuts [are necessary] on Sowul Boulevard," Nolte said.
Stow Fire Division Chief Lou Ann Metz said the proposed concrete curb cut on Sowul is necessary.
"If we do not have that, we'd risk rolling over that aerial apparatus," Metz said. "[The curb cut] is a big safety issue for us."
Even though the proposed nursing home would be a single-story facility, Metz said the National Fire Protection Association indicated that the standard fire response must include an aerial apparatus.
Stow Fire Station No. 3 on Fishcreek Road would be the primary response facility, Metz said.
"We're anticipating at least 100 more EMS calls there a year [if the facility is approved]," she said.
The nursing home was proposed on a 5.8-acre site in between the Giant Eagle on Norton Road and the Summit County Metro Parks Bike and Hike Trail, Kurtz said. It would be on the west side of Sowul Boulevard.
Gajock said he hoped to begin construction in late spring/early summer of 2012 with the facility opening 13 months later.
There would be 60 parking spaces at the facility, which would be about 51,000 square feet. The property is owned by Altercare, Kurtz said.
He said company officials indicated there would be 68 employees and an estimated monthly payroll of $549,000.
Kurtz said recently retired city engineer Bill Drew previously approved the facility's storm water qualifications.
The nursing home proposal was previously recommended by the city's planning commission.
The proposal is scheduled to be discussed again at Council's Nov. 14 planning committee meeting at Stow City Hall. Committee meetings begin at 5:30 p.m.
Yes, I was at this City Council Meeting, because having just moved here, the first of this year, I still have much to learn about Stow and Rockport Colony Condominium community. This counil meeting did not help. Maybe it was me, but I was hoping that I would hear more concern about what is for the good of the community as a whole, not but my house is here, what about me-me-me. After all, the economic state of Summit County and the entire State of Ohio and of the entire United States and of most of the entire world is in a slump, one of the worst Recessions ever, especially when it comes to jobs that were loss. This promises to create jobs and take care of people who need taking care of in the process. In addition to that, either the facility will have a dining area and create dining service jobs or it will generate customers for the restaurant in the area, either way, it will be good for the whole community. I hope to be able to make it to this up coming meeting, but if I can not because I have just gotten hired at a new job and will find out my hours today, then I hope that someone reads my blog and remembers the Vulcan saying from 'Star Trek'--"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one." , which is especially true if the United States and the rest of the world of which the U.S. is only a small part of, in order for this Global Recession to end. After all, the world is too small for us not to be our brother's and/or sister's keepers, in other words those who can give help-give help so all those who need it (each and every one) can receive it until they too can give it.
Ya-Hoo! I will be at the council meeting, after all. Now all I have to do is not turn coward and loose my nerve, to actually speak my mind in public.