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Chapter 4: Regional Development Issues

To reduce the tax burden on the community’s residents, the City of Mayfield Heights has pursued commercial and economic development—as significant amounts of land in the City have been developed for retail, office and related tax generating uses. With its significant economic base, Mayfield Heights has evolved to become a major regional economic center for the Cleveland region’s eastern suburbs. However, commercial development has had its negative impacts on the City in the form of traffic congestion, a lack of green space and public use areas, and a concern that the residential areas are negatively affected by increased commercial expansion.


As the City weighs its economic development options for the future, it must be strategic about choosing how existing land is reused—deciding whether the best use of land is in fact an economic use, a residential use or a public use. This section provides a general overview of the impacts of various development options and provides background on existing conditions and development to guide City officials as they address land development and zoning issues. A summary of the development impacts of various land uses is provided in Table 16, with a more detailed, custom analysis provided in Appendix A, Table 21, as a tool for evaluating future development options for the City.

 

Development Impacts

In terms of economic benefits, of all of the non-residential uses, office development generates more real estate tax revenue per acre than retail or industrial development. This is because offices generally have more floor area per acre than either industrial or retail uses. Industrial development typically generates the second highest amount of real estate and municipal income tax revenue per acre while retail development generates lower local income and property taxes on a per acre basis. Residential development generates the lowest real estate and local income tax revenue per acre.

In terms of negative impacts, retail, office and industrial land uses generate more traffic, create more pollution, and have a higher proportion of impervious surface coverage--which contributes to increased storm water run-off--than residential developments. Retail uses generates the highest level of traffic activity on a per acre basis when compared to office and industrial uses, but spreads this activity over the course of the day (while industrial and office uses have peak periods of traffic activity generally in the morning and late afternoons).

 

Table 16
Impacts of Different Types of Land Use: General Comparison

Impacts

Retail

Light Industrial

Office

Residential

Land Coverage per Acre

*

*

*

--

Jobs Generated

*

*

*

 

Annual Wage Income

*

*

*

--

Annual Municipal Income Revs.

*

*

*

--

Annual Municipal Property Tax Revenue

*

*

*

 

Annual State Sales Tax Revenue

*

--

--

--

Annual Revenue from State Local Govt. Fund

*

--

*

--

Traffic Impacts

*

*

*

--

Parking Needs

*

*

*

--

* = Most significant impacts
* = Moderate impacts
* = Lesser impacts
-- = Insignificant impacts

Source: Table prepared by D.B. Hartt, Inc. using information from the NOACA Northeastern Ohio Retail Analysis, 2000 produced by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission.

 
Competitiveness of the Retail Sector

Table 17

Characteristics of a Mixed-Use Center
With 13 percent of its land in retail land use, the City has a high concentration of its economic activity in the retail sector. Much of the City’s retail land was developed during the 1960s and 1970s with a shifting over the years to a high concentration of retail around the I-271/Mayfield Rd. intersection. The evolution of competing regional retail centers in nearby communities, i.e., Beachwood Place and the recently-opened Legacy Village, and the trendiness of the retail sector, requires that the City remain aggressive in positioning its retail assets to achieve the type and quality of retail product desired or, alternatively, consider shifting some of those land assets to other uses. Recent research on Cleveland area retail market conditions is summarized in Appendix A.

Mixed Use:
A mix of land uses (retail, office, government building, residential) in a concentration that is sufficient to encourage pedestrian activity and interaction between the uses.

Quality Design:
Integrated, functional and attractive environment usually achieved through the adoption of Design Guidelines; typically the guidelines require continuity and compatibility of signage, landscaping, building design and circulation;

Linkage of Uses:
Usually oriented around a design feature or “central place” such as a plaza or open space—that serves as a community focal point.

 

A recent analysis of the Cleveland region’s retail base, its impacts, and the expectations for future retail, completed by the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission in 1999, provides comprehensive research and recommendations for communities such as Mayfield Heights as they consider planning, zoning and economic development issues related to retail uses. In essence, the report documents a trend of continued outward movement of retail investments (following the outward migration of residents) and reports that the Cleveland region is generally overserved by retail developments (with the exception of areas in the central city of Cleveland).

In the eastern suburbs, the 605,000 square foot Legacy Village complex (the region’s first “lifestyle center”) joins the 1.2 million square foot Beachwood Place Mall to provide a considerable retail lure just minutes away from the Mayfield Heights retail area. Of most concern, businesses in the City’s office parks are situated closer to the Lyndhurst/Beachwood retail and restaurant areas than they are to Mayfield Heights’ retail areas, and significant revenues could be drained away from the City.


Older communities that are characterized by outdated strip shopping centers will need to continue to reposition those properties to remain competitive or risk the continued vacancy and loss of tax base that is already happening in many of the region’s inner ring suburbs. Among the report’s many recommendations, there is a clear direction to the region’s older communities to consider designating certain out-of-date, retail areas as mixed-use centers where zoning will permit a mix of retail, office and, even residential uses, so as to create economic activity centers in a community where retail may no longer be able to compete. See Table 17 for the key features of a mixed-use City Center.

While the Golden Gate Shopping Center has had its exterior updated and added considerable new retail space, the two other major retail properties in the City, Eastgate Shopping Center and the Mayland Center, have experienced substantial vacancies during the recent economic recession. At the Eastgate Center, Target opened a new store in 2000, and the Center’s owners are currently working with major national retailers and the City to re-open the vacant portion of the center with new, large-scale, retail tenants. This continues the trend of locating large, bigger-box retailers to the Mayfield/I-271 Corridor. The City has recently added Costco and the Best Buy stores on Mayfield Rd., just north of Golden Gate, and had a new 135,000 square foot Wal-Mart (at the southeast corner of the Mayfield/I-271 intersection) open in early 2004.


Finally, another key area of retail that needs to be addressed by the City is the Mayfield Road frontage—its condition and future prospects. Considerable portions of the Mayfield Road retail frontage has seen new investment in recent years, and the City continues to work with retailers to improve the frontage on this street and make it more competitive. At minimum, the City needs to make this area less of a traffic problem by implementing access management strategies that reduce ingress and egress onto Mayfield Rd. Yet, over the long run, the City may need to consider converting some of the Mayfield Rd. retail properties to other, less active land uses.

 
Competitiveness of the Office Sector

The development of the two major corporate office parks in the City’s southwest quadrant, Landerhaven and Landerbrook, provide the City with premier office parks that house major corporate tenants and other key employers. These centers combined with the other office uses adjacent to the Hillcrest Hospital facility represent a significant proportion of the City’s commercial tax base and its income tax revenues. During the recent economic recession, office vacancies in the eastern submarket have held steady or declined while regional vacancy rates have remained high or increased. Recent research on Cleveland area office market conditions is provided in Appendix A.

Yet, the City will continue to face competition from outlying areas and other nearby locations for the businesses and employers that are currently located in the City. Given the continued development of new office space in outlying areas, and the new availability of land in the Chagrin Highlands Corporate Park (expected to have 3.5 million new square feet of office space when it is fully built out in forty years), the City must continue to work with businesses, landowners and tenants to address issues such as traffic congestion, the desire for amenities, public investments, and similar economic development strategies to keep businesses in the community.

 
Regional Planning Initiatives
Regional Transportation Plan

The Northeastern Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for transportation in the Cleveland/Lorain region. Federal law requires that the MPO in each region approve projects for transportation program funding before federal funds can be secured for local road, transit, pedestrian and bike improvement projects. The agency and its governing board play a key role in deciding the region’s transportation priorities and how the considerable federal transportation funds that flow to the Cleveland/Lorain region are to be spent.

The agency oversees long- and short-range transportation planning and programming for Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina Counties. Specifically, every few years, NOACA updates the region’s long-range transportation plan, currently referred to as Framework for Action 2025, and annually prioritizes projects for funding through the adoption of a four-year Transportation Improvement Program.

 
Regional Water Quality Management Initiatives
NOACA also has primary responsibility for plan for the region’s air and water quality, as designated by federal law. The original water quality plan, approved by NOACA in 1979, focused primarily on public wastewater treatment facilities and other point sources of water pollution, and led to significant improvements in water quality throughout the region. Consistent with section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) updated its regional water quality plan in 2000.


NOACA’s more recent plan, Clean Water 2000: 208 Water Quality Management Plan for Northeast Ohio, or the “Clean Water 2000” Plan, shifts much of the focus of water quality preservation activities to reducing the sources of water pollution, specifically “non-point” sources. Clean Water 2000 identifies as its primary areas of focus:
 
• planned sewer expansion in suburban counties;
• better management of home sewage treatment systems;
• more vigorous attention to the control of non-point source pollution; and
• protection of the region’s critical water resources.
 
With most of its land located within the Chagrin River watershed, the City of Mayfield Heights has become a member of the Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Inc. (CRWP) to assist it with managing stormwater and related issues. The CRWP provides a source of technical assistance and a coordinating mechanism for the counties, cities, villages and townships that are working to preserve the water quality of the Chagrin River. The CRWP provided significant data sources to this master planning effort, including the preparation of a base map that was used extensively in the planning effort. The City is also a member of the Euclid Creek Watershed Council and is working with the communities to the northeast on stormwater issues for property located in that watershed.
 
Several of the key strategies for managing stormwater that are promoted by the CRWP focus on design and siting of buildings in newly-developing areas of the Chagrin River watershed. Recognizing that Mayfield Heights is nearly completely built-out, only the recommendations of the CRWP that are relevant to a built-out community have been incorporated into Chapter 5, the Plan Recommendations Section.
 
Regional Greenspace Plan
Because so little vacant land remains in the County, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission has adopted the Greenspace Plan to promote a broad and comprehensive vision for the protection and restoration of natural areas within Cuyahoga County. The Plan adopts goals for open space designed to improve the County’s image and its competitiveness while enhancing the local quality of life and green infrastructure.

The Cuyahoga County Greenspace Plan identifies and prioritizes open space areas in the County for future preservation, designates a countywide trail system that connects existing and future parks/greenspace, and promotes public education and individual strategies for environmental protection. The “Greenprint” map recommendations that affect Mayfield Heights have been incorporated into the planning effort and addressed in the recommended pedestrian/bicycle network improvements described in Chapter 5, Plan Recommendations Section.