In January 2000 the Newbury Township Board of Trustees requested the assistance of the Geauga County Planning Commission to complete an examination of existing land uses and related issues within the S.R. 87 (Kinsman Road) corridor. The study area encompassed the stretch of roadway from the intersection of Kinsman Road and Ravenna Road (S.R. 44) to the township boundary west of Sperry Road. S.R. 87 is maintained by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). It is a two-lane road with an asphalt paved surface. Two traffic signals exist along S.R. 87 in Newbury Township. The signals are at the S.R. 44 and Auburn Road intersections. According to information from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), there are no plans to widen S.R. 87 in Newbury Township.
Available aerial orthophotos, county tax records, environmental data, and prevailing township zoning were reviewed in conjunction with this study. Maps and accompanying spreadsheets were prepared for the corridor area (see maps and related data in appendix).
Aesthetics may not be directly linked to township zoning, however, appearance does play a role in the perceptions people have of the township and its character. Aesthetic issues may be related to property values and the tax base. The appearance of the S.R. 87 corridor is critical to Newbury Township for a number of reasons.
- It serves as the gateway to the township: As a major arterial road, many of the township's residents and most of its businesses have direct access to S.R. 87. About 6,000 vehicles per day utilize Kinsman Road. This includes not only local residents, but employees, shoppers, and visitors. In some circumstances, the commercial corridor provides the initial and only exposure people have to Newbury. Consequently, the physical appearance of the area contiguous with the road is crucial in conveying the township's image.
- It portrays the economic vitality of the township: Unattractive or marginal buildings may be difficult to market or reuse, thereby leading to deterioration of the corridor. Visual clutter caused by an overabundance of signage, paved parking lots in front of buildings, a multitude of driveways, outside storage in yard areas, and a lack of landscaping amenities may detract from the economic development of the area. Positive physical features will foster investment in the corridor.
- It is the origin of commercial/light industrial activity in the township: The commercial district along S.R. 87, as depicted on the current zoning map represents a classic case of "strip" zoning. There are about 483 acres zoned commercial, 68 acres zoned professional office, and 538 acres zoned industrial in the township. Together, these zones represent six percent (6%) of the township's total land base (18,219 acres). The commercial strip zoning technique has led to a fragmented, sprawling pattern of development that is highly automobile oriented. Consequently, there is no distinct "town center" that uniquely represents or identifies Newbury.