City planners opened a public hearing last week on a proposed new zoning classification to accommodate individuals with special needs. The commission tabled the matter and will continue the public hearing at its next meeting, and a vote is expected to be taken at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15.

The issue is planned to be before city voters in March of 2020.

Solon resident Ara Bagdasarian, who presented to city officials in May details of a proposal to build a $3 million nonprofit project for people with disabilities to live called Solon Community Living, said the adoption of this new classification could be considered “groundbreaking” for the city.

“Our goal is to have this special needs zoning language approved on the March 17, 2020, ballot, and to answer questions and get feedback,” Mr. Bagdasarian said.

About 30 residents gathered for the public hearing, including families and adult children with special needs.

“This community has embraced people with special needs, and this is the right place for this project,” Mr. Bagdasarian said.

“I fully support everything you’ve done and really appreciate it,” said Solon resident Stephen Fine, who has an adult son with special needs. The R-3-C Multi-Family Special Needs zoning is specifically designed to permit developments that accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities, explained Planning Director Robert S. Frankland, who drafted the zoning language.

The Bagdasarians said their desire is for a community for their children and others to live in after they have passed away, a community that is accessible by walking to many city amenities, including the Solon Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, the Community Park and the Solon Community Center. It will also give families peace of mind, they said.

Currently, there is no zoning in place for young adults with disabilities under 50 to live. This concept differs from traditional group homes, a handful of which are already located in Solon. Solon Community Living plans to enter into an agreement with Welcome House, an experienced provider for Professional Property Management and Service Coordination.

The zone change would need a majority vote both in Ward 6 and citywide to pass.

Read the full article here.


SOURCE: Sue Reid, Solon Times