Two River Bend property owners continue their fight against plans for a 12-space parking lot to serve as on the Cuyahoga River.
Jim and Diana Sumner filed appeals Tuesday in Portage County Common Pleas Court asking the court to overturn variances granted to the Kent Parks and Recreation Department that pave the way for construction of the parking lot and pathway down to the river on park land.
The , then the Kent Board of Building Appeals. The Kent Planning Commission then to permit the project.
The variances pertained to building the 12-space parking lot within 100 feet of the right-of-way for River Bend Boulevard and establishing the park within the flood plain of the Cuyahoga River.
The Sumners live across the river from the park's six acres, but the property lines — which run down the middle of the river — abut each other.
The Sumners' attorney, Joseph Spoonster, argued that the planning commission could not approve the project because it is a boat launch and not a park. Spoonster said boat launches are not permitted uses in residential districts.
The evolution of the plans for the 6-acre site throughout the years would seem to support Spoonster's argument. The parks department has repeatedly scaled down plans — in response to residents' concerns — to eliminate restroom and picnic facilities, remove a dock, reduce the number of parking spaces and lower the lighting.
Kent Parks and Recreation Director John Idone said previously all those reductions were made to lessen the impact of the park on the neighborhood while still serving primarily as an access point for canoe and kayak launching on the Cuyahoga River.
The Sumners are apppealing the decisions of all three boards; the planning commission, zoning board and building board. The appeals were first filed with the court last week. No hearings have yet been scheduled.