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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 7-24-02, By Paul Burik
The June 26, 2002, issue of The Press reported on the Master Thoroughfare Plan prepared for the City of Avon by URS Consulting Engineers.
Per the article, far-reaching proposals were made: a new I-90 interchange [near Nagel Road] and widening of Detroit and Chester roads to five lanes among them.
As an architect of 20 some years, I have learned that consultants naturally rely on their field of expertise in solving a problem. A structural engineer will design a larger beam; a traffic engineer will call for a wider road. It is not cost effective to explore other options.
I was a Planning Commission member when this study was first commissioned, and I argued for including an urban planner as a part of the team. That did not happen. Thus, the recommendations are rather predictable: build wider roads.
Such a conclusion no doubt follows mathematical projections and computer modeling [and questionable assumptions?] But where is the human input? Where is the community input? What does this do to the character of the community?
For example, a five-lane road, as proposed for Detroit Road, becomes a barrier to any pedestrian trying to cross it. Much as I-90 did, a five-lane road will sever Avon in half.
Do we want to build Avon for cars passing through, or for people living here?
An up-to-date traffic study is certainly necessary for a thoroughfare plan, but other input needs to be part of the process. The Visioning Process recently conducted in Avon [Fall, 2001], and sponsored by the City, should be part of the picture. Creation of a new network of roads should be considered.
Adoption of a Thoroughfare Master Plan is a huge, huge step in formulating this community's future. Let us learn from others. Let us think this through.
Paul Burik, Avon
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 6-16-02, By Brad Dicken
[URS presents a traffic plan]
``AVON -- A traffic consultant has proposed major changes for the city's roads, including the addition of an interchange to Interstate 90 east of Lear-Nagel Road.
URS Corp.'s proposed Avon Master Thoroughfare Plan also calls for widening Detroit and Chester roads to five lanes, extending Chester Road into Westlake and adding several new roads throughout the city ...
Representatives of URS, the Akron-based consultant that prepared the plan, presented it to the Planning Commission at a special meeting Wednesday [6-12-02].
Mayor Jim Smith said there were several parts of the plan that he liked, but others that might not be feasible, such as widening Detroit Road throughout the city.
"Five lanes for Detroit Road is way too much. Three lanes might be better," he said. "I want people to move in and out of Avon on I-90."
But the proposed interchange east of Lear-Nagel is something that will probably happen, he said. Westlake developer Richard Jacobs has pushed for an interchange in that area for a shopping project his company had planned to build ...
Avon Historical Society President Taylor J. Smith, who attended the Planning Commission meeting to participate in a discussion on preserving Avon's historical buildings, said much of the plan would spell disaster for the city.
"It's ironic that on one hand they're talking about preserving Avon's sense of place and on the other they're talking about destroying it," he said.
Taylor Smith said expanding Detroit Road to five lanes would bring the road precariously close to homes and businesses along it, taking away from the unique look of the area ...
[Some creative thinking is needed so that we don't become a cookie-cutter version of North Olmsted with Detroit Rd. turning into a Lorain Street.]
COMMENTS by Taylor J. Smith at the Avon Planning Commission meeting on 8-14-02:
Quoting from a NEWS ARTICLE in THE PRESS, 8-9-00, By Mike Ferrari
"Representatives from the Jacob's Group gave an elaborate presentation to Avon Council Monday night [8-7-00] ...
Councilman] Kilroy ... talked in detail about several of the questions he has pertaining to the traffic study ...
``A year ago (URS) did a review that said the traffic was going to be fine. There are a lot of questions as to whether we were misled by the Avon Commons traffic study, ... and why is the same firm saying two different things?'' ..."
Quoting from a NEWS ARTICLE in The PRESS, 8-8-01, By Julie Short
... "I'm in favor of a master thoroughfare study. When finished, I hope the information is unbiased and complete, and that the conclusions drawn are credible. Considering URS' past performance in the City, I question the choice ...," Councilwoman ... JoAnne Easterday said.
Easterday went on to explain. "When working for the City of Avon with money supplied by First Interstate ..., one conclusion was drawn ... that things would operate pretty smoothly ...
When working with the Jacobs Group regarding the same intersections, an entirely different scenario was portrayed ... these intersections were doomed to failure ...
I do not think it wise to reward a company with further work when the company can apparently so easily contradict itself" ...
Council is in agreement that the funds to conduct the proposed $40,000 analysis will come from the Jacobs Group ... ''
DETROIT ROAD IS STILL IN DANGER.
The Planning Commission did not recommend the URS proposal to "widen Detroit Road to five lanes, east of Colorado to Crocker Road." Nor did the Planning Commission recommend that Detroit Rd. should NOT be widened to five lanes. The Planning Commission was silent on this critical issue.
Instead of the URS Plan, Planning Commission should recommend to Council an ordinance changing Detroit Rd. from an arterial to a new road classification, perhaps called a "heritage highway." A heritage highway would have no more than three lanes, and be no wider than 36 feet of pavement, except at intersections. It would have the same right-of-way as an arterial.
Statement at a meeting of the Avon Planning Commission on 1-8-03 by Taylor J. Smith:
We are discussing matters which will profoundly affect the quality of life in Avon. All questions and studies considered important by the Avon Council should be answered and completed BEFORE a new I-90 interchange near Nagel Road, recommended by the URS traffic engineer, is by ordinance made part of Avon's Master Thoroughfare Plan.
Quoting from the URS Plan, URS proposes to "widen Detroit Road to five lanes, east of Colorado to Crocker Road ... these improvements will have a cumulative effect ..." In other words, the URS Plan will not work unless Detroit Road has five lanes of pavement from Colorado Road to the Westlake line, or unless some approach is adopted which will move the traffic burden off Detroit Road.
The following transcript from the tape of the meeting of the Avon Planning Commission on June 12, 2002, makes clear that a new I-90 interchange near Nagel Road will require five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road, or some equivalent approach:
Council President Tom Wearsch: "Is the purpose of the Detroit Road improvement basically because of funnelling residential traffic to the north to get to the interchange?"
URS traffic engineer Eric Smith: "Yes. As that huge green blob on the south-eastern part of the City continues to develop, there's going to be more and more pressure ... Those people need to get to their jobs ... You will find ... we need to get ... 10 million dollars from NOACA to widen Detroit Road. Westlake is looking at it right now ..."
As soon as the Nagel Road interchange becomes part of Avon's Master Thoroughfare Plan, five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road also becomes part of Avon's Master Thoroughfare Plan because of the URS statement of necessity. Currently, Detroit Road is designated an arterial which permits four lanes of pavement. Either five lanes or four lanes are unacceptable to many citizens of Avon.
The URS Plan would turn Detroit Road from Colorado to the Westlake line into something like Lorain St. in North Olmsted. It would be difficult to resist rezoning Detroit Road commercial from SR-83 to the Westlake line if five lanes on Detroit becones Avon's official plan. Before a square foot of pavement in added, a landowner could argue in court that five lanes makes single family residential use impossible.
Next there would be pressure to make Detroit Road five lanes west of Colorado Road to the Sheffield line and zone that commercial also ...
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-28-03, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer
[Council diapproves of Nagel Road interchange blank check]
``AVON -- A new interchange on Interstate 90 won't be added to the city's master road plan because City Council wasn't given a more exact location.
Council voted 4-3 last night against an ordinance that would have changed the master thoroughfare plan to allow an interchange somewhere between Nagel Road and the Cuyahoga County line.
Voting against the ordinance were Jack Kilroy, at large; Mark Julius, Ward 1; Carol Hartwig, Ward 2; and Gerald Gentz, Ward 4.
In favor of the interchange were Council President Thomas Wearsch; JoAnne Easterday, at-large; and Tim Nickum, Ward 3 ...
''My biggest concern is that it will have to be Nagel Road,'' he said.
Many residents said they are against the new interchange because they are concerned that it could bring an increased amount of traffic, forcing the city to widen Detroit Road to four or five lanes ...
Two years ago, the Jacobs Group requested council's support in adding an interstate interchange at Nagel Road to complement its 1999 purchase of about 225 acres of land, where it planned to build a 500-acre complex of single-family homes, offices and restaurants.
Council eventually rejected the new interchange ...''
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 2-22-03, by Taylor J. Smith
The Avon Charter Review Commission has voted to recommend to Council to place on the ballot the following Detroit Road Preservation charter amendment:
"Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road (also known as State Route 254 or North Ridge Road) in the City of Avon to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes, or to use funds under the control of the City for such a widening or division, except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector public streets."
Here are some reasons for this recommendation:
Ten years ago, during the creation of Avon's latest master plan, the highest priority of the citizens was to preserve Avon's small town atmosphere.
The appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere; and it should be protected in the most fundamental way possible, in Avon's Charter.
Detroit Road should not be at the mercy of an overnight "emergency" Council vote. At this important time in our history, many Avon citizens have stepped forward to preserve our town. We believe that the future of Detroit Road should be decided by a vote of the people, not in some back room.
Preserving Detroit Road is part of a larger struggle to decide if our future will be progress or decay. Progress is the continual increase in the richness and variety of that which informs our lives. Some of this information is made visible by our surroundings -- the homes, churches, and schools which embody our history ...
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-21-03, By Andrea Might
AVON -- ... The charter panel's first three meetings have been devoted almost solely to discussion about whether Detroit Road should be widened, according to Jean Fischer, a member of both the charter commission and the historical society.
Fischer said most commission members are in favor of limiting Detroit Road to three lanes ...
If the commission votes for the limit, it will be sent to City Council, and subsequently the voters. The proposed changes would appear on the ballot next November .
"They're about ready to pass that. We agreed to a turn lane, so it would be three lanes," Fischer said. "The charter issues are so we can get it on the ballot for the people to vote. Council can pass an ordinance, but that can be changed without a vote." ...
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 2-25-03, by Taylor J. Smith
In your editorial of 2-24-03 you wrote:
"We don't have a problem with trying to preserve Avon's rich heritage and its small town atmosphere. But the purpose of a city charter is to define a city's basic rules of government ..."
Everyone is entitlted to their opinion of the purpose of a city charter. We believe that the appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere; and it should be protected in the most fundamental way possible, in Avon's Charter. We also believe that the voters should make this decision.
The words of the recommended Detroit Road Preservation Charter Amendment were carefully chosen to avoid any possible conflict with the State:
"Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road ... to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes, or to use funds under the control of the City for such a widening or division ..."
There is no restriction on the State using Ohio tax dollars to put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road. But we should make it difficult to do such a thing to ourselves. Detroit Road should not be at the mercy of an overnight "emergency" Council vote.
Westlake and Sheffield may decide to have five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road in their towns. Everyone is entitled to pursue their own quality of life goals. Let the voters of Avon decide the future of Detroit Road in Avon.
The writer is Chairman of the Avon Charter Review Commission and President of the Avon Historical Society
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-5-03, By Julie A. Short
``Charter Review Commission sets agenda
AVON -- Since being appointed in January, the new members of the Avon's Charter Review Commission have been busy discussing possible additions/changes to the city's charter ...
Chairman Taylor "Jack" Smith ... [said] "The charter deals with quality of life issues," he said. "These are quality of life issues. I think everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Put it to a vote of the people and let them decide."
Smith cited the city of Oberlin in his quality of life defense.
"Other communities address quality of life issues," he said. "When Oberlin was setting the creation and operation of a new hospital, they put it to a vote of the people. That's the way we feel about preserving Detroit Road. " ...
The members of the Charter Review Commission are: Jean Fischer, Stan Hawryluk, Larry Hoekstra, Charles Huene, Laurence Kroeger, Russell McLaughlin, Jill Renuart, Matthew Smith and Taylor Jack Smith. Alternates include John Morog and Jim Muzzy.''
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 3-5-03, By Debi Loebich
``Avon ... has gone through tremendous efforts to preserve its small town character ... They have beautifully combined and embodied the past and present with respect and dignity, insuring the vital benefits each has to offer ...
The widening of Detroit Road through Avon will disrupt this ... It is my hope that the past will be respected at this present crossroad.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 3-11-03, By Brad Dicken
``AVON -- Jack Smith, the commission's chairman and president of the historical society, said Renuart and the other members who resigned oppose preservation amendments that have been proposed ...
Council appointed nine members and three alternates in January and had expected the completion of the charter review 150 days after Jan. 30. John Eldred, who was also named an alternate, resigned before he attended any meetings.
Law Director John Gasior said that among the options are dissolving the commission, appointing more members to fill the vacancies or simply allowing the commission to proceed with six members.
"I m not going to make any snap decision on what I think should be done here," he said.
"The charter is silent on what constitutes a quorum," Gasior said, "but since a majority of the commission remains, it may be able to continue functioning."
Smith believes that as long as there is a majority of the nine members required under the charter, that should be enough to keep it active ...
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-18-03, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer
``AVON -- City Law Director John Gasior yesterday said the Avon Charter Review Commission can continue ...
''I believe the only conclusion you can reach from the language in the charter is that as long as the commission has a quorum, it can continue to conduct its business,'' Gasior said.
Gasior said council did what it was supposed to do per charter when it appointed nine members to review the charter ...
When the members were seated by Jan. 31  and began meeting in February, council's responsibilities were met, he said.
The charter commission's chairman, Jack Smith ... said he was pleased with Gasior's decision.
''I think the law director came to the only possible conclusion,'' he said. ''I'm very pleased because the charter review commission has important work to do in trying to preserve Avon.'' ... ''
Avon, November 4, 2003, General Election Unofficial Results
#18: Avon City (Ord. No. 119-03 - Charter - Art. XIII, Sec. 9, Detroit Road Preservation)
Yes 2,074 No 1,604
PRESENTATION at the Avon Candidates Night, 10-22-03, By Taylor J. Smith
The 2003 Avon Charter Amendments ...
A Master Thoroughfare Plan was presented by a URS traffic engineer to the Planning Commission on June 12, 2002. URS recommended that Avon put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road and five lanes of pavement on Colorado Road to carry cars to a proposed I-90 interchange near Nagel Road. The Avon Planning Commission did not reject this recommendation.
Issue 18, Detroit Road Preservation ...
``"Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road ... to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes ... except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector public streets."
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-4-04, By Julie A. Short
``Preservation Commission members selected, yet to meet
#19: Avon City (Ord. No. 120-03 - Charter - Art. XIV, Creating a Landmarks Preservation Commission
Yes 2,193 No 874
AVON -- Voters approved a charter amendment for the creation of a Landmarks Preservation Commission in November . Since then, members have been appointed, but a formal meeting has yet to take place.
The commission consists of four members representing various organizations throughout the city, as well as a mayor's appointee. Members include: Robert Gates Jr. (Avon Historical Society), Carol Hartwig (French Creek Development Association), Cheryl Huene (Avon Garden Club) and Tom Wearsch (mayor's appointee).
According to the city's charter, the Landmarks Preservation Commission shall cause to be conducted a survey to establish a register of Avon's landmarks to raise community awareness of Avon's history and historic resources ...
The 2006 "Preservation" Charter Amendment
LETTER from the Avon Citizens Committee 2006, 1-9-06
Dear Fellow Avon Resident:
A few years ago, when the Avon Commons development was going to referendum, our City's leaders promised that no further commercial development would occur south of Detroit Road. That promise is reflected in the City's "Master Plan," which is the official zoning policy of the City. During the past two years, the former City Council courageously upheld that promise and defended the City's "Master Plan" in an effort to control commercial development and overall growth.
While their decisions were not always popular, the former City Council recognized that deviating from the Master Plan would set a dangerous precedent and jeopardize the City's ability to uphold the Master Plan in the future.
With approximately fifty percent of Avon currently undeveloped, defense of the Master Plan is essential to preserving the City's character and appeal. Defending the Master Plan protects residential property owners in all parts of the City from developers acquiring adjacent or adjoining residential property for commercial use.
Over the course of the last year, three separate zoning related requests, all involving land at or near the already dangerously congested intersection of State Route 83 and Detroit Road, came before the former City Council. Generally, these requests were:
The former City Council courageously upheld the City's Master Plan and voted down each of these rezoning requests. The most recent vote occurred at the December 12, 2005 meeting where the former City Council voted down (4 to 1) Lake Pointe's "big box" rezoning request. The December 12th  meeting was attended by a record crowd of over 250 residents from all over the City who responded to the vote with a standing ovation.
As many of you know, this vote came after months of intense and difficult proceedings that often lasted late into the night. As its basis for denying Lake Pointe's rezoning request, the former City Council pointed out that the Master Plan provides adequate land for large commercial developments on the north side of the I-90 corridor.
Furthermore, the potential for increased traffic congestion, negative economic impact on surrounding residential developments, and the risk of uncontrollable "commercial creep" were also cited (among several other things) as factors for their vote.
We want to thank the residents who attended the December 12th meeting. We also want to thank, once again, Councilpersons Hoekstra, Julius, Gentz, and Easterday for their courage and willingness to stand up for the residents of Avon. Surely, had Councilpersons Nickum and Kroeger been able to attend, they would have voted against the rezoning as they had previously stated.
As often occurs, the former City Council's decisions resulted in litigation that remains pending. Most recently, on January 3, 2006, Lake Pointe filed suit against the City in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.
As a result of the recent election, Councilpersons Hoekstra, Julius, and Easterday lost their seats. Councilman Gentz chose not to run for re-election. Many attribute the results of the election to ... the public's general misunderstanding about the dispute over the school bus garage and its potential impact on the City's ability to defend the Master Plan.
A newly composed City Council will decide whether to continue to uphold the City's Master Plan or move to settle the pending lawsuits, which brings us to the point of this letter. Since the election, we have been concerned that the newly elected City Council will settle the above noted lawsuits, permit the developments to go forward as proposed, and overhaul the Master Plan to accommodate further commercial development.
At the most recent council meeting on January 9th,  as one of its first orders of business, the new City Council passed an ordinance to start potential revisions to the Master Plan. As part of that ordinance, the Council passed a 6-month rezoning moratorium applicable during the review of the Master Plan. However, the new City Council specifically exempted Lake Pointe's "big box" development, [the Heritage Village] project, and the School Board's bus garage from the moratorium.
In our opinion, if the new City Council irresponsibly settles the above lawsuits, the following will occur:
We attended the January 9th meeting and implored the new City Council to take a stand now and not subject the residents to the disastrous consequences of abandoning the Master Plan. We advised the new City Council that the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 was prepared to:
With that said, we advised City Council that we are NOT "anti-development" and are committed to working with the new City Council in order to reach reasonable resolutions that are in the best interests of the City and its residents.
We are distributing this letter citywide at our own expense in order to introduce ourselves and keep residents informed. The undersigned individuals are in the process of establishing a Political Action Committee (PAC).
This Committee is dedicated to protecting the City and its residents from irresponsible commercial development. Our PAC will not endorse any political candidate or any other political issues unrelated to our focus. Well-planned commercial or industrial development in Avon will find us to be their friends ...
Avon Citizens Committee 2006
R. Clark Perrin, Arbor Acres; Jon J. Pinney, Bentley Park; Tim Bresnahan, Eagle Creek; Tom Berges, Bentley Park; Brian Parsons, Eagle Creek
MEMORANDUM to the Avon City Council, 1-17-06, from the Avon Citizens Committee 2006
Subject: Pending Zoning Litigation
We have been advised that City Council is currently evaluating whether to settle the three pending lawsuits ...
During the last Council meeting, the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 implored Council to fight the pending lawsuits and defend the Master Plan.
ACC also pointed out that it was committed to working with the Council in order to reach reasonable resolutions in the best interests of the City and its residents. ACC desires to outline clearly for Council ACC's specific views:
In the event that the Council settles any of the foregoing matters, Avon Citizens Committee 2006 requests that the Council put to ballot a Charter amendment that requires a citywide vote on any residential to commercial rezoning request. ACC is currently evaluating other potential necessary amendments.
The proposed Charter amendment is necessary to protect residential property owners from "commercial creep" and the consequences of Council's decision(s) to deviate from and alter the Master Plan. In the unfortunate event that Council is unwilling to vote in favor of such amendment, Avon Citizens Committee 2006 will be forced to seek and secure the necessary signatures and put to public vote these critical issues. ACC requests Council's cooperation in this regard ...
The Ohio Supreme Court has made it clear in recent decisions that nearby land use is relevant to a court's analysis of a city's zoning laws. Thus, the School Board should be mindful of the situation the City currently faces with respect to the two other pending zoning-related lawsuits ...
R. Clark Perrin
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-18-06, By Julie A. Short
Residents form PAC [Political Action Committee] to protect against 'irresponsible development'
``AVON -- Proving that if you want to make a difference, you've got to get involved, several Avon residents have formed the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 PAC. "This committee is committed to work for the Avon residents to protect the city and its residents from irresponsible commercial development," R. Clark Perrin, of the Arbor Acres subdivision, said during city council's Jan. 9  meeting ...
Even before the PAC was formed, attendance at city council meetings has grown over the last year with residents concerned about a number of rezoning requests that have come before the city. The Heritage Village ... and Lake Pointe Construction (Greg Romes) projects were rejected by council and are now in litigation.
[The previous] City Council also voted not to grant the Avon Local School District a special use permit to build a bus garage on the Heritage North School campus. Some residents believe all three are related and if overturned, could spur "commercial creep" throughout Avon ...
[Issuing a special use permit to the School Board for a bus garage is in effect a rezoning.]
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 2-8-06, by Ralph White
``As a registered voter and Avon resident, who grew up in Avon, I've spent my professional life working on cars and trucks; and I know enough to write about the bus garage issue.
I support the idea of a new bus garage. The one-bay garage on Stoney Ridge is obsolete. I support jobs for Avon bus drivers, lounge facilities, restrooms, and driver safety. I do not support putting the bus garage next to the Heritage North School on Detroit Road. It's important that all of us be informed and not base our opinions on hear-say or newspaper articles alone.
Schools are to be in residential zones; and repair facilities are to be in commercial and industrial zones, for the safety of everybody, and for the esthetics of our neighborhoods. The zoning laws are being ignored by the Avon school board out of pure stubborness; and they have refused to discuss any other options besides Heritage North.
Put the bus garage in a properly zoned area. As Avon grows, more bus parking will be needed which is unavaiable at Heritage North. That land should be saved for classroom expansion. Does it make any sense to park the busses at Heritage North and run them around town to refuel them at the Middle School on Stoney Ridge?
Making the bus garage look like the Avon fire station is a complete waste of tax dollars; and trying to hide it behind mounds of dirt, fences, and trees, trapping diesel fumes, is even more of a waste.
The brick left over from building the Heritage schools should be used for classroom expansion with color matched bricks and not wasted on a bus garage. All that is needed for a bus garage is a building that might resemble, for example, Ray's Auto and Truck Service on 611.
Diesel engines produce more torque, require less maintenance, last longer, and get better milage than gasoline engines. The newer diesels burn cleaner than the old ones, but they still all pollute. There is no Ohio echeck test for diesels, no pollution standards to go by. Engine production standards are not pollution standards. There isn't any technology to change this ...
The City of Avon hired Roger Wabeke of Chemical Risk Management to evaluate parking busses at Heritage North.
See The Chemical Risk Management Report
Anybody who reads his report will see that putting the bus garage at Heritage North is a bad idea. Since the Avon school board is ignoring zoning laws, refusing to consider other options, and is wasting tax dollars, I won't be supporting a tax levy or bond renewal with my vote.''
Ralph White, Avon
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-25-06, By Julie A. Short
[Tweaking the Master Plan]
``AVON -- The honeymoon was over before it began for the new members of Avon City Council. They inherited two lawsuits, plus another [Romes] recently filed on the day the oaths of office were administered (Jan. 3 ).
As reported in last week's edition of The Press [1-18-06], a group of residents have formed the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 (ACC) PAC [email email@example.com] and have sent letters to all Avon registered voters introducing the ACC and its objectives.
Included in the letter are the ACC's concerns that the newly elected council will "settle the above lawsuits, permit developments to go forward as proposed, and overhaul the Master Plan to accommodate further commercial development." ...
On the subject of the City Center project and the rezoning request by Greg Romes (Lake Pointe Construction), Pelfrey believes this to be the most "contentious" of the three lawsuits ...
During council's Jan. 17  work session, several ACC members were in attendance and outlined their specific views to council.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-14-06, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer
[Bus Garage Update]
``AVON -- After almost nine months of debate, hearings, expert reports, a lawsuit and the creation of a political action committee, City Council will allow a school bus facility to be built at Heritage [North school on Detroit Road] ...
Council voted last night to amend the district's special-use permit at the 35575 Detroit Road complex, clearing the way for the bus facility.
The ordinance to amend the permit passed on its first hearing as an emergency measure ... Normally, council would have three public hearings before voting. Last night, Councilman Tim Nickum, Ward 3, asked for this issue to receive that treatment as well.
''Last week, I suggested this go to three readings,'' said Nickum. ''I still do.'' ...
In introducing council's vote to treat the ordinance as an emergency measure, council President Clinton Pelfrey, at-large, reviewed some of the prickly issue's history ... ``In the best interest of the community, we should move forward.''
If Pelfrey expected a vote then, he must have been surprised by the response. A member of the audience asked if she could speak, and more than an hour of audience comment followed ...
The first woman said she was the parent of a child with asthma, and she was concerned for students' health if the facility were built at Heritage schools. When she joined Nickum in asking for three hearings for the issue, she was applauded ...
Addressing concerns about bus exhaust, Mayor Jim Smith [said] ... ``The new facility would be near only two or three lots in Bentley Park ...''
Resident John Small wasn't convinced:
''It's crazy that we're going to put the lives of our kids on the line,'' said Small. ''Some people will say there's a health risk, others won't. I don't want my kids out playing where the busses are parked. This isn't about traffic in my neighborhood, it's about students' health. I want the new facility in an industrial zone.''
Pelfrey finally brought the audience comment period to a close, and was joined by Councilman Dan Urban, Ward 4, and Bryan Jensen, Ward 1, in urging a vote on the matter. Council approved the ordinance 6-1, with Nickum the lone dissenter ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 2-16-06, By Mary Davies, Staff Writer
``AVON -- Time will tell if the addition of a school bus facility off eastern Detroit Road will facilitate retail development on nearby land earmarked for homes.
Even Mayor Jim Smith said he isn't sure whether developers fighting the city in court can bolster their cases with City Council's decision Monday [2-13-06] to grant the schools a special use permit amendment, allowing a new bus headquarters project to go forward ...
"We think this is the first of the dominoes," said Tim Bresnahan, an organizer of Avon Citizens Committee 2006, a political action committee formed recently to address development issues.
Breshnahan said committee supporters are particularly upset that council approved the amendment as an emergency, thus eliminating the possibility for resident-initiated referendum.
"While not everyone sees eye-to-eye on this issue, depriving residents of their right to at least seek referendum was simply inappropriate in our view," ACC leaders said in a statement Tuesday.
"ACC is very concerned that council will settle the other rezoning lawsuits on an emergency basis, which could effectively preclude ACC from attempting to take these matters to referendum if necessary," the statement said.
Concerns about the effect of buses on traffic and air quality fell on deaf ears Monday night as council voted 6-1 to immediately grant the schools' request and almost certainly end its legal dispute with the district.
Dissenting voter Tim Nickum, Ward 3 representative, wanted the public to have more time to discuss the amendment, introduced on Feb. 6. Gaisor described it as a proposed settlement to the 8-month old suit.
Council members were unsympathetic to residents who said they only recently learned of the project and the arguments against it, particularly the potential effects of bus fumes on children at the two Heritage schools ...''
Avon Citizens Committee 2006
School Bus Service Garage: City Council recently granted the School Board a special use permit on an "Emergency Basis" thereby denying the citizens the opportunity to take the matter to referendum.
Currently, the School Board is pursuing a second round of quotes to construct the garage on the Heritage campus. The first round of quotes exceeded the School Board's projected cost and were therefore all rejected. Many residents continue to oppose the construction of the bus garage due to the overall projected cost (approximately $1.0 million dollars). Residents should continue to voice their concerns directly to the School Board ...
I-90 Interchange: The City Council voted to go ahead with the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. Again, City Council voted on an "Emergency Basis" thereby denying the citizens the opportunity to take the matter to referendum.
Heritage Village: "Heritage Village" is a joint venture by Gamiella Construction & Schafer Construction. They plan to construct a shopping center and restaurants on the former Piazza greenhouse property. The Court recently ruled that the current zoning (R-2) is unlawful and ordered the City of Avon to rezone the property to a constitutional zoning classification. The ruling was expected since the City's hired expert testified that the current R-2 zoning was not appropriate.
In fact, the City did not defend the R-2 zoning classification. The Planning Commission met and discussed this issue on Wednesday, March 19th. The Planning Commission determined that the property should be rezoned to C-2 with restrictions. This rezoning was passed and is now in the hands of the City Council. The first public reading occurred Monday, April 10th.
City Centre: City Centre is a proposed "big box" development by Lake Pointe Construction, owned by Mr. Greg Romes. It includes approximately 25 acres on the southeast corner of Detroit Road and State Route 83. "C-2" rezoning was requested on the Detroit Road parcels and the first few Route 83 parcels. "C-3" or "Big Box" rezoning was requested on several remaining southern parcels down Route 83 not far from Bentley Park.
City Council recently voted to rezone specific parcels prior to completing the litigation. This project was sent back to Planning Commission. The Planning Commission met and discussed the issue on Wednesday, March 19th. During discussions, the Planning Commission presented a drawing allowing for C-2 zoning on the Detroit Road parcels and the northern most parcels along Rt. 83.
The southern parcels down Rt. 83 remain zoned residential R-2 (it is on these southern parcels Mr. Romes wanted to put a 125,000 sq. ft. "big box" rumored to be Lowe's or Value City Furniture). The key issue, that remains pending, is what City Council will do with these southern parcels. ACC will continue to strongly oppose the rezoning of these southern parcels.
The Planning Commission indicated that a vote would be taken at the April 19th meeting when Mr. Romes and his attorney plan to present Lake Pointe's revised development plan. It is ESSENTIAL that all residents attend this meeting, as this will be a pivotal point in the future of this project. We must make our views known to Mr. Romes, City Council, and the Planning Commission ...
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 6-8-06, By MARY DAVIES, Staff Writer
[Council Legal Committee to consider charter amendment for rezoning]
``AVON -- City Council's legal committee soon will begin discussing possible support for the Avon Citizens Committee 2006's push for a charter amendment requiring citizen vote for some rezonings [to commercial] ...
A recent ACC survey showed nearly 90 percent of more than 700 respondents citywide will support a charter amendment requiring voter approval of requests to rezone residential property to commercial use. Exactly what a proposed amendment would include has yet to be decided ...
ACC leaders expect to talk with Council Legal Committee members about the possibility of applying charter amendment protection to all residential property south of Interstate 90. [Mayor] Smith proposed residential land south of Detroit Road only ...''
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 10-12-06, by R. Clark Perrin
``Subject: Issue 18 -- Proposed Charter Amendment -- City of Avon
On November 7, 2006 the voters of Avon will have the opportunity to pass or reject issue 18, a proposed amendment to the Avon Charter. The amendment states, "an affirmative vote of the majority of the electors voting thereon before any ordinance passed by City Council authorizing the rezoning of any residential property south of Interstate 90 to a classification other than residential property be deemed effective." There are three defined exceptions.
In short, this amendment requires an affirmative public vote to rezone residential property south of I-90 for commercial purposes.
I have attended nearly every Avon City Council meeting for the last 1 and ½ years. I have listened to arguments on both sides of this issue. I believe:
This amendment does not demonstrate a lack of confidence in our elected officials. It simply adds to the difficulty faced by commercial developers attempting to invade our residential neighborhoods. This amendment will assure the awareness of the public anytime commercial developers are attempting to invade our residential neighborhoods. There will be NO SURPRISES. This amendment transcends the election of future Councils and Administrations providing security for all Avon residents ...
Nearly a year ago I introduced the subject of a Charter Amendment at a City Council meeting. I was seeking action, which could be taken, to protect all Avon residents from experiencing unwanted "commercial creep" into their residential neighborhoods.
I am pleased that the Avon City Council has placed this amendment on the November 7th  ballot, at the Avon City Council Meeting August 14th, 2006 ...
Is this amendment a guarantee? No! Commercial developers have the right to test all zoning ordinances through litigation. This amendment, however, may be as good as it gets.
Avon will not be the first community to adopt such an amendment. Many of our neighboring communities and other Cleveland suburbs have adopted similar legislation for the same reasons.
For your sake, for your neighbor's sake, and for the health of our City please vote yes on issue 18, The Avon Charter Amendment.''
R. Clark Perrin, Avon
The Charter Review Commission is discussing the 2003 Detroit Road Preservation Amendment and the 2006 Commercial Zoning South-of-Detroit Amendment on 5-3-12 at 7:30 pm in Council Chambers at Avon City Hall, 36080 Chester Road.
Please help DEFEND DETROIT ROAD -- join the Avon Historical Society -- snip application below.
Avon Historical Society
Research - Preservation - Education
Membership Application, 2012 - 2013
Mark choice:  Individual $5;  couple $7.50;  family $12.
Cell phone #:
Please send your check to the Avon Historical Society, 2623 Stoney Ridge Rd., Avon, OH 44011.
MINUTES OF THE CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF AVON, OHIO HELD THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2012, AT 7:30 P.M. IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS OF THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING, LOCATED AT 36080 CHESTER ROAD
Chairman, Paul Miklovich, called the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.
PRESENT: Mary Berges; Tom Brenner; Greg Dziak; Michael Elwood; Kristine Guzik; Scott Mitchell; Frank Root, Jr.; Vice Chairman, Lee Belardo; Chairman, Paul Miklovich; Alternate A, Gene Rouse; Alternate B, Marcel Mylen; Law Director, John Gasior; Secretary to the Commission, Ellen Young ...
ARTICLE XIII, SECTION 9, DETROIT ROAD PRESERVATION
Mr. Root stated that ... this subject didn't belong in the City's Charter ...
[Quality of life issues clearly can be addressed in a city charter -- zoning is certainly a quality of life issue -- very few people would be happy with a slaughter house next to their home. So a Planning Commission is created in a city charter.
Parks and recreation is a quality of life issue.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is a quality of life issue.
Oberlin mandated a hospital in its charter.
The appearance of Detroit Rd. is a quality of life issue for Avon. Making Detroit Rd. suitable only for apartment and commercial development would degrade the quality of life in Avon, forever losing our small-town atmosphere and increasing Avon's build-out population.]
Ms. Young added that ... voting for minimum lot size, to restrict commercial zoning south of I-90 and to keep Detroit Road from being widened is a knee-jerk reaction on the part of voters who want to keep the City more rural and who don't want to see Detroit Road become as commercially crowded as it is east and west of the City ...
Mr. Rouse pointed out that ... Mr. Piazza said at the previous meeting that when the residents get tired of not being able to move throughout the City ... Mr. Rouse suggested that we are at that point now; particularly at Christmas time. He doesn't think waiting for this to be a problem is proactive ...
[A Master Thoroughfare Plan was presented by URS to the Planning Commission on June 12, 2002. URS recommended that Avon put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Rd. and five lanes of pavement on Colorado Road. The Planning Commission accepted this recommendation, making it Avon's official policy.
Removing the Detroit Road Preservation Amendment from the Charter would again make five lanes of pavement on Detroit Rd. Avon's official position; but it would not create a five lane road, since this pavement would have to be paid for. The chance of the State of Ohio paying for more pavement on Detroit Rd. is smaller than winning the powerball lottery.
What would the real effect of removing the Detroit Road Preservation Amendment be? An argument could succeed in court, especially since the Mayfield decision by the Ohio Supreme Court, that a proposed five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road make single family residential use impossible now, invalidating the 2006 Commercial Zoning South-of-Detroit Amendment.
It could then be argued that the entire length of Detroit Road should be zoned commercial or for apartments, now, even before another square foot of pavement is put down.
Five proposed lanes on Detroit would make it a traffic generator, not a way to move cars around Avon -- Parma on a two-lane highway -- a cartoon version of Pearl Road. Commercial zoning would creep south on Nagel Rd. and SR-83 to the North Ridgeville line.
If someone wants to spend taxpayer dollars on making a five-lane road across Avon, in addition to I-90, let it be Chester Rd., where there are hundreds of acres zoned commercial and industrial waiting for development.]
A motion was made by Mr. Brenner and seconded by Mr. Elwood to add this issue [Detroit Road Preservation] to the May 3, 2012 agenda ...
Mr. Belardo motioned that the Commission include Article VII, Section 2, (e), [2006 Single-Family Residential Zoning South-of-Detroit] rezoning ... [in] the discussion of the Detroit Road amendment ... Mr. Miklovich asked if there was a motion to add this issue for discussion that it be discussed as a separate issue from the Detroit Road amendment. Mr. Dziak seconded the amendment and the vote was unanimous in favor ...