Canfield residents want zoning changes

Residents of the development want future developers to follow stricter guidelines.
CANFIELD -- Leonard N. Ganchar said he and other Newton Square Condo residents just don't want anyone else to go through what they're experiencing.
Ganchar, who serves as president of the Newton Square Condo Association, said members will address city council to request zoning changes when it comes to private developments. Council meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Residents of the development, located directly behind the post office, say they have suffered with problems of a deteriorating roadway for years. Because the road is considered a private driveway, there is little the city can do to force the developer to repair the situation.
What they want
The condo residents, however, want zoning changes to ensure future developers meet city requirements -- even though the streets do not always fall under the city's jurisdiction.
"The way it happens with these [planned unit developments] is, developers submit the drawing to the city, and when they are approved the developers build the site and the roads," Ganchar said. "But the city considers the roads a driveway, and they have no jurisdiction over them."
In the case of Newton Square, Ganchar said, the road was never built to the plans' specifications. His data indicates that an independent consulting company took samples of the road and tested for standards such as base thickness, finished surface thickness and subsurface thickness. Of 18 tests conducted, 15 samples failed.
Members of the condo association are involved in a lawsuit with Newton Square Co., the developers, but want city council to take steps toward zoning changes so problems won't happen again.
"We want to prevent someone else from having this same problem," Ganchar said.
Scott Owens, owner of Newton Square Co., was traveling Friday and unavailable for comment.
Ganchar said he does not expect company officials to attend the council meeting.
Already some changes
City Manager Charles H. Tieche said that since the approval of plans for Newton Square Condo in 1995, officials have already made some amendments to the zoning ordinance in relation to planned subdivisions.
"We have already modified the procedure some, conducting more inspections and making sure that plans and construction meets city standards," Tieche said.
Previously inspectors only checked on storm and sanitary sewer systems and waterlines that connected with the public systems already in existence, he said.
The Newton Square Condo Association is asking that zoning changes be made to include requiring the city engineer to verify the project elevations on the final drawings, considering the new roads city as opposed to private streets if they exceed a specific length, and making sure developers understand they must pay the engineer's cost of inspection for all improvements.
While zoning changes take several weeks to draft, implement and take effect, Tieche said he believes council members -- many of whom are aware of the situation at Newton Square -- are willing to consider the requests.
"They could amend the code to include any and all of the changes if they choose," Tieche said.

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