About 45 residents attended a public hearing and Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, February 22. Most residents attended to be heard and to learn more about three proposed group homes that were on the Planning Commission agenda.
Three agenda items sought a conditional use approval and site plan approval for three proposed group homes, to be located on York Road, Sprague Road and Delsy Drive. Michael R. Cloud, of North Coast Design Build, on behalf of Cloud-Sprenger Properties, LLC, sought the approvals in order to construct three, 2,200 square foot, five bedroom Family Homes (Group Homes) for the Mentor Network, along with Vitosante Ragone for the Sprague and York Road properties and Trisha Glaros on the Delsy Drive property.
Before the public discussion portion of the public hearing, North Royalton Law Director, Tom Kelly, instructed the attendees about the 1988 Fair Housing Act, which protects people with disabilities. He noted that questions regarding who will potentially reside in the houses is prohibited. He also noted that a Group Home is not viewed as a business, according to Congress. Cloud then gave a presentation, including artist renderings and blueprints of the proposed homes. He noted that the homes would “house people with disabilities of physical and/or cognitive impairment.” He said that most of the residents would be coming from facilities like assisted living, “upgrading the quality of life from institutional to residential.”
Joe Kowalski, representative from the MENTOR Network, who will operate the homes, said that with the new, smaller living facility, “they are going to get the quality of life that these people deserve.” According to the MENTOR Network website, it is “a national network of local health and human services providers in 35 states offering an array of quality, community-based services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain and spinal cord injuries and other catastrophic injuries and illnesses; to youth with emotional, behavioral and medically complex challenges, as well as their families; and to elders in need of support.”
According to Cloud, the homes will be a ranch style with brick and vinyl siding with a privacy fence and professional landscaping. “The home will be indistinguishable on the street.” Parking will be available off the street and will be screened.
Two family members of the potential residents addressed the group, talking of the benefits their family members will receive by living in the group home setting. One stating that “the residents are the kindest, gentlest people you ever want to meet.”
Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw noted that the group home in a residential area is nothing new in North Royalton. He noted that his biggest concern was buffering and fencing. Ward 1 Councilman John Nickel, where Delsy Drive is located, said that he has received many calls on the potential group home in that area. “This is a poorly designed street from the 50’s.” He noted that the older, asphalt road, coupled with the increased traffic that will take place with the installation of a group home could be problematic. In addition, he said that there were concerns with flooding. “This street has poor drainage.” He said that “it doesn’t have anything to do with who is in the home,” and went on to say “we’re asking you to find another lot. There are a lot of issues on the Delsy Drive lot. The house doesn’t fit there.”
North Royalton Patrolman Jason Kimmel said that there are currently seven facilities in North Royalton. He then listed them and listed the safety service calls, including police, fire and EMS runs for each location for the past two years, some of which were 25, 34 and 40.
Joshua Martino, who lives next to the proposed property, said that the addition of a group home would “change the character of the neighborhood.” He said that the parking was inadequate and the road too narrow. He then asked what would happen if the house was sold or the corporation changes. He said that a real estate agent said that his property value would decrease. “We’ve heard of the rights of these individuals. Who’s protecting my rights?”
Both the York Road and Sprague Road approvals were granted by the Planning Commission in a 4-0 vote. The Delsy Drive was tabled, according to the wishes of Cloud.

Contributing Writer