Which development is best for Avon?

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of THE PRESS, 5-26-99, By Matt Nakon

"I am a resident of Avon and one of several attorneys representing First Interstate Development Company with respect to the multitude of meritless lawsuits and appeals filed by Gerald Phillips seeking to prevent development of the land proposed for Avon Commons.

While my representation of First Interstate may cause some people to think I am biased, the views set forth below are solely my own.

The fact is that the 85-acre parcel proposed for Avon Commons will be developed in the next 12 months. It will be developed with either Avon Commons, or the Avon Business Park/Park Square Shopping Center project.

Nothing that Gerry Phillips has done, or will do, will change that fact because no zoning variance is necessary for the Avon Business Park/Park Square Shopping Center Project to be constructed. Thus, the ultimate question is which development is best for Avon -- not whether development can be prevented.

On June 1, the electors of Avon will be given the choice as to which project they prefer. I am one Avonite for whom the choice is obvious -- say "Yes" to Avon Commons.

I will put three children through the Avon City Schools. Avon Commons will result in over a million dollars annually for our city schools. With the explosion of new homes in this city, our school system needs these dollars now.

If former school superintendent Bob Barnhart's campaign for the Avon Commons Project hasn't convinced residents of this fact, then they are simply choosing to put their heads in the sand.

I also travel Avon roads on a daily basis and would prefer to spend my retail dollars within the city. The road improvements which will accompany the Avon Commons Project are also critically needed.

Anyone attempting to exit I-90, onto State Route 83, to travel south, is well aware of the dangers and frustrations with such an endeavor. A vote for Avon Commons will provide needed relief, as well as nearly 2 million dollars in other road improvements. A "No" vote on Avon Commons (or a "Yes" vote for Avon Business Park), on the other hand, will not, and will likely exacerbate the problem.

Finally, there is the issue of city planning. For this, look to what your city officials are saying. Avon Commons is a well conceived plan (consistent with the Master Plan), and brings a community gazebo, an amphitheatre, restaurants, and a well-landscaped setting in which the community will gather. Avon Business Park brings none of these things.

Every community needs a portion of retail development. The question is how much. Having previously lived in North Olmsted, another Great Northern Mall is not what I have in mind. I have no desire to again live in a community with a mega-mall.

However, Avon Commons is not such a project. In size, it is certainly much more comparable to the Promenade of Westlake. Moreover, it will bring the same type of quality stores that Promenade shoppers have enjoyed. In location, it is far more attractive than the Promenade, as it will be tucked in, off Detroit Road, backing to I-90, and none of the buildings will front or even be visible from Detroit Road.

Avon's building and planning officials have required a first-class retail community to be planned. Mitch Schneider and First Interstate have offered improvements to the City far beyond that which could reasonably have been expected.

On June 1, Avon's electors will make a significant step towards planning our city's future. I urge you to compare these two projects. When you do, a "Yes" vote is simply a "no brainer"."

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