Although they don't plan on putting a zoning issue on the ballot until November, officials want to keep moving forward on discussions with developer Lance Osborne about the Shoppes at Brainard Crossing.
The proposal calls for 25,000 square feet of retail space utilizing part of the former Catalano's grocery store at Brainard and Wilson Mills roads. A 5,500-square-foot GetGo convenience store and gas station is also planned.
"The next phase is that everyone is going to submit some of their concerns or criteria that they would like to see met to the law director," City Council President Cathy Murphy said.
The intent is to work with Osborne and a development agreement that spells out details of the proposal and will become part of the ballot issue.
A few obvious hurdles remain, including whether Osborne will still have control of the property, owned by Giant Eagle, as of the November election.
We're working on it," Osborne said about a contract extension. "We're still trying to get it done."
Another roadblock is the zoning change needed to allow for a gas station on property zoning local business. Osborne wants a general issue that would change the local business zoning code rather than a rezoning issue specifically for the project.
The issue sought by Osborne would cover the entire city and be subject only to a citywide vote, while council members have stated they want to ensure that Ward 4 residents have a separate vote.
Highland Heights has a ward clause stating that rezoning issues must not only pass citywide, but also in the ward where the property is located. Murphy said Osborne, who circulated petitions last summer to get the issue on the ballot, does not want an issue that must receive approval in the ward.
"He indicated he's not supportive of that and Giant Eagle isn't either," Murphy said.
She added that there have been many rumors circulating about the former Catalano's site and she'd like to get to the facts and have a coordinated, collaborative effect to get something done.
"We'd like to see something workable on that corner," Murphy said.