HINCKLEY, Ohio — At a time when real estate prices are soaring, and land is being gobbled up for development, Hinckley is taking a stand to try to preserve its country setting and way of life.
In Hinckley, one man has become the public face of a movement to keep the town rural.
Hinckley has long been known for its tranquility and idyllic setting.
And now, if you drive around town, you’ll also notice a lot of “Keep Hinckley Township Rural” yard signs.
The brainchild of resident Matt Riley.
“The goal of what I started with the yard signs was to kind of space out the development and keep that rural atmosphere," said Hinckley resident Matt Riley.
Weary of life in suburbia, Riley moved to Hinckley in 2018 and started a family.
He says the slower, simpler way of life has been a welcome change of pace.
“Very blessed to be living out here. It’s very peaceful, it’s very quiet.” Riley said. "There’s a lot of opportunities to experience nature."
So, hoping to keep it that way, Riley, who works in IT by day, in his spare time started a GoFundMe page and website.
Demand for yard signs is steady and Riley says support from the community is strong.
“Yeah, there’s quite a few signs around,” Riley said.
The basis of the movement is all about lot sizes in Hinckley.
"Keeping Hinckley Township Rural" hopes to increase the now two-acre residential lot size requirement to five acres.
Something that hasn’t been adjusted by the township since the 1970s.
“It’s not an original idea. I kind of just wanted to get it out there to show support in the community that people do want to have larger lot sizes out here,” Riley said.
Just down the road, the once very rural city of Medina is a little less rural thanks to aggressive development in the early 2000s.
A quid pro quo for keeping the cities income tax rate low.
“To do that you have to have commercial growth, retail growth, restaurants, businesses as well as industry,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.
But Hanwell admits neighboring Hinckley will most likely never go down the road his city did.
“Getting people to visualize what you’re visualizing at the onset is a challenge,” said Hanwell.
And it’s not just Hinckley. Neighboring Medina Township has a “Preserve Medina Township" campaign resisting a proposed gas station.
As for Riley, he’s set to speak at a Hinckley Township trustees meeting later this month.
Trying to make his case, urging trustees to pass an acreage increase.
“The general premise of why we would do this is for the peace, the quiet and the enjoyment of your own private property,” Riley said.
As of right now, there doesn’t seem to be support for Hinkley Township trustees to change the acreage code.
And there are questions if a change would even be legally enforceable.
But Trustees have expressed support for other ways to keep the town rural for generations to come.
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