Development hell: Collapse of plan for Beech Brook site in Pepper Pike in face of opposition may not bode well for sale

CLEVELAND, Ohio — One of the most contentious political debates in Northeast Ohio this year is not about the presidential election, control of the Senate or even the Ohio Statehouse corruption scandal.

It’s about zoning in Pepper Pike.

Hundreds of yard signs bearing the phrase “No to Mixed-Use” are scattered throughout the small, well-to-do far-eastern suburb. They line the sidewalk-less residential streets as part of an effort that opposition organizer Manny Naft said aims to keep the city’s “bucolic” nature.

The signs refer to a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot to change the zoning for a 68-acre tract of land owned by behavioral health services nonprofit Beech Brook, along with two smaller adjoining lots. The issue has divided the community.

The division resulted in online bickering, contentious town hall meetings, threats of defamation lawsuits and even unused condoms left at Axiom Development Principal Bryan Stone’s home.

Stone, who lives

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