By Beau Dusz
WADSWORTH: The Board of Zoning Appeals approved 20 variance requests at its meeting Monday.
Of those 20 requests, 18 were made by the city for setback and sign variances needed for the more than $15 million improvement of High Street.
The city plans to widen High Street in the Great Oaks Business District between West Street and Smokerise Drive, starting in 2015. In order to do that, the city has to acquire land along that corridor, which means the setbacks by some businesses in that area will not comply with the city's regulations.
The properties on High Street which require variances include: First Merit Bank, Radiant Life Church, Arby's, Discount Drug Mart and a residence.
The Gen Fed Credit Union on Great Oaks Trail also requires a variance because the access to Goodyear and Panera, east of Gen Fed, is now privately held. After the construction, it will become a public access to those businesses as well as other businesses.
Fifteen businesses, including four on Great Oaks Trail will have its signs relocated. The city plans to reimburse the property owners for relocating the signs.
According to the city's application for the variances, the purpose of the plan is reduce vehicle crashes in the corridor by reducing the number of curb cuts to individual properties and relocating access points to where they can be shared by multiple users.
The planning process for the improvement of this corridor began when the Ohio Department of Transportation found the crash data for this area ranked high statewide in the number of reported crashes.
In addition to the widening of High Street, the city plans to purchase some access drives, which are now private, and improve them so they can become access for a number of businesses.
Those drives now include the one east of Gen Fed, another is the access from High Street to the property where Tractor Supply is located, which will have a traffic signal. A third access is north of Discount Drug.
More information on the plan can be accessed at the Engineering Department pages on the city's website.