The powers and jurisdiction the Commission may exercise is described in Article VIII in Section 1.5 of the City Charter and further refined in the City’s Zoning Code and Subdivision Regulations. In general, the power of the Commission is limited to:
- Reviewing & recommending to City Council on legislation changes regarding the City Subdivision Regulations, Zoning Code and Map.
- Approval/Disapproval of site plans pursuant to the Zoning Code.
- Approval/Disapproval of Conditionally Permitted Uses.
- The subdivision of land.
- The vacation/dedication of streets and alleys, changes in the official City setback map and other functions as may be assigned
In addition to changes in the zoning code and map, the Commission may hold public hearings and report to the Council as follows:
SITE PLAN REVIEW - In certain zoning districts where the uses permitted are of a nature because of their size, scale or effect on surrounding property, a review of specific plans by the planning commission is deemed necessary to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the community.
In its review, the Commission may consider the location of buildings, parking areas and other features with respect to the topography of the lot and existing natural features such as streams and large trees; the efficiency, adequacy, and safety of the proposed layout of internal streets and driveways; the location of the green area provided, the adequacy of the landscaping and screening of the parking lots; and such other matters as the commission may find to have a material bearing upon the plan.
The Commission must act on a site plan within sixty (60) days. An approved plan is valid for a period of twenty-four (24) months from the date of its approval. All site plan approvals are submitted to City Council for final approval.
CONDITIONALLY PERMITTED USES - It is recognized in the Zoning Code that certain kinds of uses because of their size or unique character need to be reasonably controlled by specific requirements that provide practical latitude for the investor, but at the same time, maintain adequate provision for the protection of the health, safety, convenience, comfort, prosperity or general welfare of the community’s inhabitants. Land uses designated as Conditionally Permitted are permitted through the issuance of a Conditional Zoning Certificate with conditions and safeguards attached as may be deemed necessary for the protection of the public welfare.
Examples of Conditionally Permitted Uses include the following:
- A church or school in a Single Family Residential Zoning District
- An institution for medical care, such as a hospital in an apartment zoning district.
- A retail shopping complex in excess of 10,000 square feet in a General Commercial Zoning District.
- A gasoline service station in a Highway Service Commercial Zoning District.
- A cellular communications tower in an Industrial District.
It is the Commission’s responsibility to insure the intended use is safe and in harmony with surrounding uses and to propose conditions to insure the compatibility and safety of the intended use.
SUBDIVISION OF LAND - The subdivision of land is regulated by the Subdivision Regulations Chapters 1111 through 1119 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Cuyahoga Falls.
TYPES OF SUBDIVISION - The subdivision of land is classified as either a MINOR or MAJOR subdivision. A minor subdivision may be approved by the City Planning Director, whereas a Major Subdivision must be approved by the Planning Commission and City Council.
MINOR SUBDIVISIONS - To qualify as a minor subdivision the following criteria must be met:
- The division is along an existing street and does not involve the opening, widening or extensions of any street.
- City water and sewer or an approved alternative are available.
- Both the created and residual parcel meet Zoning Code Requirements.
- No more than two lots are involved .
Upon a determination by the City Planning Director that the minor subdivision criteria are met and submission of the required documents as specified in C.O. 1145.03, the Planning Director may approve the minor subdivision and stamp the conveyance APPROVED by the City of Cuyahoga Falls Planning Commission.
MAJOR SUBDIVISIONS - A major subdivision is defined as any subdivision not meeting the requirements of a minor subdivision.
A major subdivision is approved in two stages, Preliminary Plat and Final Plat, both by the Planning Commission and City Council.
Preliminary Plat - The Preliminary Plat stage requires the subdivider to present all information needed to enable the Planning Commission to determine that the proposed layout is satisfactory and shall serve the public interest. This stage also ensures that the subdivider will not be required to expend extensive monies without some assurance that his plat shall be finally approved.
Final Plat - The final plat stage requires the subdivider to present all data needed to enable the Planning Commission to determine that the subdivision fully complies with these Regulations and conforms to the approved preliminary plat. After acceptance of all streets, highways, or other public ways or open space by Council, the plat may be recorded.
For a more detailed explanation of the Major Subdivision process, one should review the City of Cuyahoga Falls Subdivision Regulations Chapters 1111 through 1119.
Street Dedication, Vacations, Etc. - The Planning Commission also acts in an advisory role to City Council when streets are proposed for dedication of extensions or vacations, or when the official street setback is requested to be changed.
Meeting Times & Dates - Regular meetings are scheduled on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The Planning Commission does not meet if there are no items scheduled to be heard