Liberty Ford property in Solon

Solon hopes a rezoning issue would allow for redevelopment of the former Liberty Ford property on Aurora Road. 

Voters will decide on Nov. 5 if the former Liberty Ford and Solon Motel sites will be rezoned to allow for mixed-use development.

The land, located between Solon and Aurora roads, is currently a motorist site zoned for gas stations, automotive repair centers and car dealerships.

Solon residents will also have the opportunity to vote for its representatives in Wards 1, 3, 5 and 7, a proposed charter amendment and school board members in the Nov. 5 election.

A town hall meeting was held at the 21.76 acre former Liberty Ford site on Sept. 25. During the two-hour session, Solon residents were given an opportunity to inquire about the rezoning during a question-and-answer session with city leaders.

Peter Shanes, a newcomer seeking election in Ward 5 against incumbent Nancy E. Meany, plans to discuss the rezoning issue with his constituents to encourage a ‘no’ vote.

“It would have a big impact on the schools and that affects the city of course, because Solon has the number one rated schools in the state,” Shanes told the Cleveland Jewish News on Sept. 12. “Well, I can not personally resolve the rezoning issue by myself because it’s on the ballot ... I’ve read through the actual language that will be on the ballot and I don’t like the way it’s written in terms of the discretion it gives the city and I’m just not in favor of it.”

John T. Scott, a former city councilman seeking election in Ward 3 against incumbent Jeremy Zelwin, has concerns about the traffic that would result from a big block of land being developed.

“I plan on scrutinizing that planned-unit development to be able to give a recommendation to residents,” he told the CJN on Sept. 12. “It could be a great boon to our community because it’s an older area that could really get a facelift, but we have to make sure it’s the right thing for the city.”

When asked his stance on the rezoning in an interview with the CJN on Sept. 26, Kraus said, “I think it would revitalize these old areas into something vibrant.”

“It’s what the residents want,” he added. “We’ve talked about it for a long time.”

The community is home to 820 businesses, and according to Kraus, if the rezoning is passed, no current businesses would be negatively impacted.

“They have a lot of people that come in from out of town, people that come in from all over the world, so there’s really a market for high-end apartments, for hotels, for nice restaurants” Kraus said. “We’ve never done that before in our community.”

Solon-headquartered Industrial Commercial Properties LLC already has a purchase agreement to develop the land. If the rezoning is not passed, Kraus said the agreement will still be honored.

“They just wouldn’t develop it the same way if it didn’t pass,” Kraus added. “It would probably just be more of a modest type of development, like you wouldn’t be able to put nice apartments there ... without the mixed-use part of it.”

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