Avon Growth News, 1-1-06 to 1-31-06

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1-4-06 Master Plan review discussions

1-11-06: Ohio Supreme Court upholds 2-acre minimum lot size

1-3-06 New council committees announced

1-12-06 Letter from the Avon Citizens Committee 2006

1-19-06 The Avon School Board is wasting our money

1-29-06 First-time Home Owners

The bus garage hearing has been moved to 2-27-06.

A public meeting on the proposed I90 interchange will be held on 1-19-06 from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Avon Senior Center, 36786 Detroit Road. Written comments will be accepted at the meeting and by email until 2-3-06.

MESSAGE to www.loraincounty.com , 11-9-05, By urbanflight

``I'm one of the residents of Bentley Park who fought hard against the Rt 83 development and the bus depot for obvious reasons. I moved to Avon for the sense of community as well as an investment. Before purchasing my house I went to city hall to review the zoning and felt confident that my property was protected.

I was so wrong. The new council will allow the school board to build the depot and will rubberstamp the rezoning in my backyard [bus garage special use permit].

Commercial development will spread down Detroit, down 83. Say hello to Lowe's, BP and god knows what else. This city will end up being another North Royalton and Strongsville --- strip malls and traffic.

Come Spring I will be looking to sell my house. I was mistaken --- there is no community here; and I will lose money on my house, unless Lowe's needs to expand parking; and I can get them to buy it. I'm confident they won't have any issues getting it rezoned.''

Written by: urbanflight on November 9, 2005

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MESSAGE to www.loraincounty.com , 11-11-05, By Oldtimer

``Urbanflight should not give up. There are good grounds for a class action taxpayers suit against the Avon Board of Education for squandering and proposing to squander our tax dollars: eyes wide open writes that [11-7-05] the Avon BOE has squandered

"-$290,000 -$158,000 -$608,000 -$953,000" = -$2,009,000 from 2001 through 2004,

and proposes to squander

"-$853,000 -$556,000 -$1,122,000" = -$2,531,000 from 2005 through 2008, a total of $4,540,000 in the red.

Eyes wide open writes: "the forecast that was filed with the state ... Here is the website for everyone:

http://fyf.oecn.k12.oh.us/fyforecast/ViewForecast/ViewByDistrict.asp?District=avon

... Avon is the only district to spend more than it received for 4 years straight and the only one to drain the general fund like the board did. The reason that the district has not been put in the deficit YET is that the Board started out with over $3 million ..."

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From the SBS Transit, Inc. web site:

"SBS Transit, Inc. is an Ohio Corporation with offices in Sheffield, Ohio. We provide student transportation for public school districts and special needs school bus transportation for Boards of MRDD.

SBS Transit, Inc. was founded in 1966 by Robert and Janice Van Wagnen to provide safe transportation for clients of the Lorain County Board of Mental Retardation and developmental Disabilities. A service we continue to provide today.

In Ohio, almost 40% of school districts contract out a portion or all of their non-instructional services.

School districts outsource transportation to realize significant cost savings.

Enhanced Service -- SBS Transit provides vehicles, staff, CDL training, drug/alcohol testing, physicals (T8), in house student discipline program, fleet maintenance, dispatch/radio staff, routing and extra curricular and athletic trips. Essentially, SBS Transit provides a complete 'turn key' professional transportation department.

Special Needs Transportation -- A very expensive facet of school transportation. SBS Transit has extensive experience providing special needs transportation since 1966.

Quality Enhancement -- Our training of drivers, monitors, mechanics and staff is unparalleled in the State.

District lacks Personnel and Equipment -- Forget your daily staffing problems. We are proud of our BlueBird, state-of-the-art fleet with an annual Ohio State Highway Patrol inspection pass rate of 100%.

Local Control -- We are so confident in our service package that we include a generous buy-back clause in the contract.

SBS Transit employees are union members of OAPSE Local #790.

We would be happy to provide a simple cost presentation for your analysis.

Learn more about School Transportation Contract Services.

SBS Transit Inc.

3747 Colorado Avenue

Sheffield Village Ohio 44054

440-949-8121

800-548-5304

fax 440-949-2979"

The location of the bus garage is a critical issue for Avon. The school board should not be allowed to blunder forward with its wasteful trashing of Detroit Rd., with no consideration for the health of our children or the inability to expand the bus parking area at Heritage North school.

The vacant land at Heritage North should be used for school expansion, not for a bus garage. Remember, Avon's build-out population could easily be 74,000 [as stated in the Master Plan of 1992]. We have about 15,000 now.

Locating the school bus garage at Heritage North will force more busses through the SR83 - Detroit intersection, increasing the risk for Avon children, [in addition to running at least 20 busses, with more to come, on Bentley Park to reach SR83 and Jaycox] This alone is reason enough to eliminate Heritage North school as as site for the proposed bus garage.

Why has the Avon Board of Education not considered the alternative of contracting school bus service with SBS Transit, 3747 Colorado Ave. (SR 611) in Sheffield Village? Other cities use SBS. Avon might save a lot of money.

This would solve the contentious bus garage problem. The busses would be stored in Sheffield with all the other busses. The BOE would not have to build a fancy garage at Heritage North (probably costing $400,000 more than an adequate pole barn structure); and the BOE would avoid the enormous financial risk of Heritage North School being shut down in a few years because of accumulated tiny particle diesel pollution.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-4-05, By Julie A. Short

``Master Plan review discussions set to take place

AVON -- One good thing has come out of the rezoning requests made by two well-known areas developers: Steps are in motion to review the city's Master Plan which was adopted in 1992 and has not been reviewed since.

During Planning Commission's Dec. 21 meeting, an item was on the agenda to discuss a moratorium on rezoning in the city. From there, the members decided to include discussing the city's now-defunct cluster zoning ordinance, and ultimately a review of the entire Master Plan.

"This is something we've wanted to do for six years," Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said. "We also need to look at the thoroughfares to see how they are developing to make sure we have proper circulation within the city's sub divisions to provide proper access to our collector streets. One of the tools we are lacking is to reduce the number of curb cuts on the collector streets. A cluster ordinance is the tool that in many cases we can eliminate additional curb cuts."

Piazza doesn't anticipate major changes to the Master Plan with regards to rezoning issues, but he does stress that it needs to be tweaked. "This could be an opportunity to recommend different land use," he said. "For example, there may be land in town that, in the future, we don't anticipate to be residential. We could put those recommendations in the Master Plan. We need to be proactive."

Mark Majewski, a professional planner hired by the city to offer consultation during the City Center project (Greg Romes, Lake Pointe Construction) will assist Planning Commission during the review process. In Majewski's rezoning analysis of the Romes site, the planner recommended that the city update the land use plan and zoning for the area as soon as possible. He also recommended establishing a time-limited moratorium on rezoning applications in the area of SR 83 and Detroit Road.

"This is not something that should be taken lightly," Majewski said. "This is a very public process and everyone should be involved. The standards for a moratorium should include a reasonable duration, a responsible means and responsible end."

Piazza noted that if a moratorium were imposed, it would not affect previous rezoning requests, i.e. Steve Schafer's project on Detroit Road, which is currently in litigation, or Romes'. (To date, Romes has not yet decided if he will pursue litigation after city council voted on Dec. 12 [2005] not to grant his rezoning request along Detroit Road and SR 83.) [On 1-3-06, Romes filed a suit against Avon in Cuyahoga County.]

The first meeting for open discussions regarding the city's Master Plan will take place on Jan. 25 [2006, 7 pm?] at city hall. Meetings will continue monthly on the fourth Wednesday of the month until a recommendation is finalized for council's approval.

"Again, we cannot stress enough how important it is for the public to be involved in this process," Piazza said. "This is the future of Avon and we should all have say in what it's going to look like."''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-11-06, By Julie A. Short

``New council ... committees announced

AVON -- The new year meant a new look for Avon City Council as five new members were sworn in, along with two veterans and Mayor Jim Smith, on Jan. 3 [2006]. Magistrate Dan Stringer administered the oaths of office and after a short reception for family and friends, the seven-member council got down to business with a work session and an organizational meeting.

"First I'd like to express my gratitude to the previous council members," Council President Clinton Pelfrey said. "The past several months have been difficult and trying, but we look forward with a greater view of optimism. We will work diligently in a professional and honest manner. We have a lot of challenging work ahead of us."

During the work session, several members of the Bentley Park subdivision, as well as neighboring subdivisions, were on hand to question the new council with regards to the a proposed moratorium on all rezoning from residential property to commercial property south of I-90, as well as review of the city's Master Plan ...

Perrin would like to know what the city can do to make the Master Plan legally binding.

Law Director John Gasior commented that he didn't believe that could be done, to which Perrin countered with the suggestion of a charter amendment, which would allow the residents of Avon to decide for themselves.

Former council president Larry Hoekstra was in attendance, seated among the residents, and also spoke to the new council members stating that a charter amendment is the best way to make the Master Plan binding. He also suggested a review of the Master Plan on a regular basis, which the council president agreed.

During council's first meeting of the year, the group was busy approving several city employee appointments and reappointments:

Ellen Young will continue to serve as clerk of council for two more years.

Barbara Kraus continues as the city's treasurer.

Bob Hamilton stays on as the city's chief financial officer.

John Gasior will remain law director.

Gerald Plas was reappointed to service director; and

Gerald Galant continues as parks director.

Longtime Avon resident, Bill Fitch, was reappointed to a six-year term on the city's planning commission.

Richard Schneider continues on the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for five more years.

Bruce Klingshirn will fulfill the unexpired term of Kevin Flanigan on the ZBA.

Flanigan is now a council-at-large representative.

William Landers was appointment by the mayor to the parks and recreations commission.

Council-at-Large representative Craig Witherspoon was nominated and elected by his colleagues on council to serve as council pro tem for 2006-07.

Pelfrey announced the chairmen and committees of council for the years of 2006-2007 (see box).

City of Avon Committees of Council

Finance committee - Dennis McBride (Chairman), Tim Nickum, Clinton Pelfrey

Legal committee - Daniel Urban (Chairman), McBride, Craig Witherspoon

Service committee - Nickum (Chairman), Urban, Witherspoon

Economic development committee - Kevin Flanigan (Chairman), McBride, Pelfrey

Safety committee - Witherspoon (Chairman), Bryan Jensen, Flanigan

Parks committee - Jensen (Chairman), Urban, Flanigan

Council's representative to planning commission - Nickum

Council's representative to the parks and recreation commission - Flanigan

Council's representative to the French Creek Development Association - Witherspoon

Council's representative to the Lorain County Office on Aging - Jensen

Council's representative to Senior Citizen's Advisory Commission - Nickum

Council's representative to Lorain County Community Alliance - Urban

Council's representative to ADA Review Board - McBride

Fire Fighter's Dependents Fund Board Members - Jensen, Witherspoon''

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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 School Board's request for a special use permit for approximately 40 parking spaces to park the Board's bus fleet and to allow the construction of a school bus service garage in front of and adjacent to the Heritage North Elementary School on Detroit Road [See messages by urbanflight and others at the top of this page];

  • Mr. Schaffer's request to rezone land on Detroit Road [Heritage Village]

  • Lake Pointe Construction's request to rezone approximately 22 acres on the southeast corner of Detroit Road and State Route 83 from residential to commercial allowing a "big box" shopping center.

    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 [2005] 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 Mayor Smith's full-page newspaper ad and 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, [2006] 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, Mr. Schaffer's 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:

  • The new City Council would jeopardize one of City's primary legal defenses to litigation instituted by commercial developers, adherence to the Master Plan. The City successfully asserted this defense to help defeat BP's rezoning request in 2001 at the same corner.

  • This action would set a clear precedent that a developer could achieve any rezoning request by initiating a lawsuit even if the rezoning request(s) were in violation of this or any future Master Plan. No part of the City would be exempt!

  • This strategy "sells out" the residents of Avon who will have to live with the consequences of this decision for years to come. These residents are depending on the new City Council to protect them from irresponsible commercial development.

    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:

  • Secure the necessary signatures to take these matters to referendum

  • Intervene in the pending lawsuits as required

  • Seek a charter amendment that would put rezoning requests of this nature on the ballot for voter approval as other Ohio cities have done

    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.

    In order to carry on this endeavor, we need continuing financial support and more volunteers. Please make checks payable to Avon Citizens Committee 2006 and mail them to the address listed below. We are willing to meet with anyone and consider varying views and opinions, including the views of the commercial developers. We appreciate any help or support offered.

    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

    Paid for by the Avon Citizens Committee 2006, P.O. Box 401 Avon, Ohio 44011, Tim Bresnahan, Treasurer

    For more information please call (440) 937-9418 or email rcpboat@worldnet.att.net

    Or email accinfo@acc2006.org

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    MEMORANDUM to the Avon City Council, 1-17-06, from the Avon Citizens Committee 2006

    Subject: Pending Zoning Litigation

    compromise Romes site map
    Avon Citizens Committee 2006, Proposed Romes Compromise Site Plan

    The Avon Citizens Committee 2006 asks the Avon Council to place on the ballot a charter amendment to require the Council, the Mayor, all City employees, and all Avon boards and commissions to adhere to a Master Plan adopted by a vote of the people. In return, the Committee has attached hereto a site map outlining ACC's reasonable compromise in the event that Council intends to settle the pending lawsuit:

  • The area bounded by red is to be zoned C2

  • A site plan showing the size and location of each building is to be approved before permits are issued and construction begins.

  • One driveway cut to SR 83 is permitted

  • Appropriate setbacks and landscaping are required between the C2 area and all residential areas including St Mary of the Woods.

  • A landscape drawing is to be submitted and approved before permits are issued and construction begins.

  • Line of Demarcation: The area bounded by green is to be zoned R2

  • All property south of the line of demarcation shall remain residentially zoned as specified in the Master Plan. This property is surrounded on three sides by residential property and shall serve as transitional.

    Please click here for a larger view of the site plan.

  • Gentlemen:

    We have been advised that City Council is currently evaluating whether to settle the three pending lawsuits arising out of the following:

  • The School Board's request for a special use permit for approximately 40 parking spaces to park the Board's bus fleet and to allow the construction of a school bus service garage in front of and adjacent to the Heritage Elementary School on Detroit Road;

  • Mr. Schaffer's request to rezone land on Detroit Road;

  • Lake Pointe Construction's request to rezone approximately 22 acres on the southeast corner of Detroit Road and State Route 83 from residential to commercial allowing a "big box" shopping center.

    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:

    Charter Amendment(s):

    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.

    Schafer Development:

    In the event Council settles the pending related lawsuit, based on discussions with concerned residents, Avon Citizens Committee 2006 believes that the settlement must include the following minimum conditions:

  • Preservation of the Piazza/Pickering century home;

  • Appropriate setbacks and a continuation of the Avon Common's type landscaping/hardscaping;

  • Establish a means for traffic to move to and from Mr. Schafer's development (Heritage Village) to Avon Commons without entering Detroit road. If cars must enter and leave Heritage Village only at the entrance on Detroit Road, which also serves the Heritage North School, cars that want to visit Heritage Village and Avon Commons will have to come back out on Detroit Road in order to get to Avon Commons. This will greatly increase traffic congestion on Detroit Road.

    As we all know, the intersection at Detroit Road and Rt. 83 is dangerously congested, particularly during holiday periods. While requiring this type of access will not solve this problem, it will assist in minimizing the impact of the resulting additional traffic.

    Avon Citizens Committee 2006 intends to evaluate any settlement carefully and meet with residents to discuss the proposed settlement.

    School Bus Garage:

    Again, Avon Citizens Committee 2006 has discussed this issue with several residents. While many residents simply want the litigation to end, other residents are adamantly opposed to storing the buses at Heritage North for some very compelling reasons.

  • For instance, many residents point out that the buses pose serious environmental concerns. Other residents point out that the bus parking area cannot be expanded and the vacant land at Heritage North should be used for the eventual school expansion required by Avon's rapidly growing population, not for a bus garage. Since other less expansive land is available for the buses, the School Board should choose an alternative site.

  • Locating the school bus garage at Heritage North will also force about 20 busses through Bentley Park and more busses through the SR 83 and Detroit intersection, increasing the overall traffic congestion in these areas.

  • Many point out that storing school busses at Heritage North School will detract from the appearance of Detroit Road and thus degrade the quality of life in Avon.

  • Lastly, 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.

  • Avon Citizens Committee 2006 finds these viewpoints and issues compelling. Any settlement should take into consideration the above mentioned concerns and address them head-on. ACC believes that prior to any settlement, Council and the School Board should hold a joint public meeting to hear residents concerns and proceed only after careful consideration of the same. The public deserves a complete and detailed explanation of the issues and their resolution.

    Lake Pointe Construction's Proposed Development:

    Avon Citizens Committee 2006 has attached hereto a site map outlining what ACC believes is a reasonable compromise. This proposal has been reviewed by a number of attorneys, including Mr. Pinney. ACC believes that this proposal helps insulate the City from legal exposure and permits reasonable commercial development by Lake Pointe Construction. ACC's proposed Charter amendment and "Line of Demarcation" (see attached site plan) would prevent "commercial creep" further south on Rt. 83.

    R. Clark Perrin

    Avon Citizens Committee 2006 35983 Falcon Crest Avenue, Avon, OH 44011

    For more information please call (440) 937-9418 or email rcpboat@worldnet.att.net

    Or email accinfo@acc2006.org

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    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 [2006] 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 (Steve Schafer) and Lake Pointe Construction (Greg Romes) projects were rejected by council and are now in litigation.

    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.

    "During the last campaign three of the current councilmen signed a letter criticizing me for implying that they would vote in favor of the rezoning issu es," Perrin said. "They said, and I quote, 'None of us have ever said we are for the rezoning of any property in the city.' [Issuing a special use permit to the School Board for a bus garage is in effect a rezoning.] We are willing to give you the benefit of the doubt tonight. Please do not let us down."

    The PAC recently sent a letter to all registered voters in Avon introducing themselves and explaining its mission. "A few years ago, when the Avon Commons development was going to referendum, our city's leaders promised that no further commercial developments would occur south of Detroit Road," the letter states. "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."

    The letter goes on to thank several former councilpersons for their "courage and willingness to stand up for the residents of Avon." "Since the election, we have been concerned that the newly-elected city council will settle the above noted lawsuits, permit the developers to go forward as proposed, and overhaul the Master Plan to accommodate for further commercial development," per the letter.

    The letter states, "In our opinion, if the new city council irresponsibly settles the above lawsuits, the following will occur:

  • The new city council would jeopardize one of the city's primary legal defenses to litigation instituted by commercial developers -- adherence to the Master Plan. The city successfully asserted this defense to help defeat BP's rezoning request in 2001 at the same corner [southwest corner of Detroit Road a nd SR 83].

  • This action would set a clear precedent that a developer could achieve any rezoning request by initiating a lawsuit even if the rezoning request(s) were in violation of this or any future Master Plan. No part of the city could be exempt!

  • This strategy "sells out" the residents of Avon who will have to live with the consequences of this decision for years to come. These residents are depending on the new city council to protect them from irresponsible commercial development."

    The PAC said it's prepared to secure the necessary signatures to take these matters to referendum, intervene in the pending lawsuits as required and seek a charter amendment that would put rezoning requests of this nature on the ballot for voter approval as other Ohio cities have done ...

    Committee members are also seeking financial support and volunteers to get the message out. According to Perrin, the PAC is made up not just of surrounding residents of the properties in question, but several residents from all over Avon, stretching as far away as the Camelot subdivision off Case Road.

    The letter was signed by Perrin, Jon J. Pinney (Bentley Park), Tim Bresnahan (Eagle Creek), Tom Berges (Bentley Park) and Brian Parsons (Eagle Creek).

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    LETTER to the Editor of The Press, 1-18-06, by Taylor J. Smith

    ``On 5-2-06 the Avon Board of Education will ask the voters to approve 4.8 mills of real estate tax for operating and capital money. I have never in my life voted against an Avon school tax; but, in 2006, I will make an exception.

    The BOE has demonstrated its disregard for Avon taxpayers by not discussing school bus service with SBS Transit of Sheffield. If SBS ran the busses, the BOE would save substantial operating money. It would also save almost $1 millon capital dollars by not having to build a bus garage.

    Building a bus garage at Heritage North on Detroit Rd. wastes valuable land which will be required to provide more schools for Avon's rapidly growing population.

    It is rumored that the BOE will buy Long Rd. land where, because of a previous use, a local sewage treatment facility can not be built. So the residents will be forced to pay expensive frontage assessments for a sewer line. Is the purpose of the sewer line to open up Long Rd. for massive housing developments?

    It is bad enough that the quality of life in Avon is deteriorating. To be asked to pay more taxes to aid this down-slide is outrageous.''

    Taylor J. Smith, Avon

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 1-12-06, By MARY DAVIES, Staff Writer

    ``AVON -- ... the schools will ask voters in May [5-2-06] to provide funding by preventing its bond millage collection rate from dropping next year.

    Board members decided Tuesday night [1-10-06] to seek the bond issue following a planning firm's report which confirmed anticipated rapid student population growth through at least 2012 and recommended facility expansions to help accommodate it.

    If approved, property owners' bond debt collection tax bills would continue at the current amount. A drop from 5 mills to 3.1 mills [a drop of 1.9 mills] will happen ... unless voters agree on May 2 to maintain collection of a 1996 bond issue at 5 mills ...

    Voters also will be asked to approve a 2.9-mill operating levy on May 2 to generate $9 million in five years to avoid an estimated $822,000 general fund deficit in 2008 ... ''

    [1.9 mills + 2.9 mills = 4.8 mills of school tax burden which Avon voters should defeat on 5-2-06.

    MESSAGE to www.loraincounty.com , 11-11-05, By Oldtimer

    ``Eyes wide open, in a post dated 11-7-05, wrote how the Avon Board of Education has been squandering and proposing to squander our tax dollars: The BOE has squandered

    "-$290,000 -$158,000 -$608,000 -$953,000" = -$2,009,000

    from 2001 through 2004,

    and proposes to squander

    "-$853,000 -$556,000 -$1,122,000" = -$2,531,000

    from 2005 through 2008, a total of $4,540,000 in the red.

    Eyes wide open writes: "the forecast that was filed with the state ... Here is the website for everyone:

    http://fyf.oecn.k12.oh.us/fyforecast/ViewForecast/ViewByDistrict.asp?District=avon

    ... Avon is the only district to spend more than it received for 4 years straight and the only one to drain the general fund like the board did. The reason that the district has not been put in deficit YET is that the Board started out with over $3 million ..."'']

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 2-1-06, by Rhonna Smith

    ``The Avon Board of Education is asking for a 2.9 mill new operating levy and a 1.9 mill bond issue renewal in May [2006]. Operating dollars could be saved by contracting for school bus service. The 1.9 mill bond issue could be avoided in part by saving about one million dollars intended to build a bus garage at Heritage North School on Detroit Road by choosing other available options. The BOE is wasting our tax money by failing to negotiate with, for example, SBS Transit for school bus service.

    I worked with Avon Superintendent Jim Reitenbach when he was Athletic Director for Elyria City Schools. He was well aware that Elyria contracted for school bus service. Why hasn't he recommended this to the Avon BOE? Does Mr. Reitenbach remember what happened when Elyria West was closed? Many voters were turned against school money issues by that action; and some of us moved out of Elyria, seeking a community which had some concern for the citizens and the way their tax dollars are spent.

    Avon voters will have a constant ugly reminder of the waste of their tax dollars every time they drive by the yellow busses stacked up at Heritage North. Mr. Reitenbach, you are asking us for more tax money. Do you live in Avon, and will you be paying these taxes? You may be creating permanent opposition to Avon school issues.

    Do we need a Taj Mahal bus garage? What's wrong with a pole barn on one-dollar-a-year land offered by the Avon City Council, on Schneider Court or on SR 611, to the Avon BOE? The "newest fleet of busses in Lorain County?" Hmmm, is this necessary? If Avon has the "newest fleet of busses in Lorain County," sell the busses, out-source the bussing, and use the money to build classrooms. Re-allocate the million dollars of bus garage construction money to classroom construction.

    2.9 mills plus 1.9 mills equals 4.8 mills which is an unnecessary burden for Avon taxpayers, who are being taxed to death. I'm voting against the levy and the bond renewal in May. I urge others to vote against these unnecessary and wasteful taxes.''

    Sincerely yours, Rhonna Smith, Avon

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    FEATURE ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 1-29-06, by Zachary Lewis, Special to The Plain Dealer

    ``First-time owners learn to pace their projects

    Working a full-time job, making car payments, handling a credit card: These are chronic symptoms of adulthood, signals that one is sloughing off childhood and embracing independence. Significant as each of these steps is, though, none of them rivals buying a home.

    Homeownership, as many people in their early 30s in Northeast Ohio are learning, represents much higher degrees of responsibility and financial commitment and calls upon an entirely different set of skills. It also holds the potential for greater surprises.

    It's not all work, of course. Along with owning a home for the first time comes joy and pride that don't come with renting.

    Jon and Amanda Pinney married in July 2004 and shortly after moved into their first house, a large, newly built property in Avon. They returned from their honeymoon eager to begin nesting, ready for a few interior-decorating projects that would transform their two-story house into their home.

    What they weren't prepared for was the tab. "There were all these additional expenses and all this work you don't think about with a new home," Amanda Pinney says. "A new home comes with amenities but not with character. We had to customize it. Let's just say it was a monetary shock."

    Even so, Pinney says it's worth it for the "expansive feeling" of living where they do, and now that they've adjusted their lives to include maintenance projects, owning a home is no longer a burden timewise ...

    For Evan and Amanda Barlow, owning a home meant finally having the space to throw the kinds of parties they enjoyed. They purchased their 1920 Cleveland Heights colonial in June 2004 and didn't waste many warm days before breaking out the grill on their sizable rear patio.

    They bought the home knowing they couldn't spend every free moment at leisure - that maintaining the house would consume some of their time - and they were thrilled when their initial renovation projects came off better than expected.

    But homeownership threw them a few curveballs. As summer wore on, they spent more and more time working in their yard and garden. Then came property-tax bills and a Cleveland winter cold enough to freeze shut their mailbox ...

    Not having to bother with the grass and planting is one reason Brad Hauber and his wife, Julie Goulis, bought their new townhouse in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood in October 2004. They were attracted to the idea of a homeowners association that oversees snow and leaf removal, steps in for major external repairs and executes landscaping projects ...

    But that same homeowners association didn't always prove to be as responsive as he'd like when repairs were needed, and he can't say he's 100 percent satisfied with the builder ...''

    Lewis is a free-lance writer in Cleveland.
    To reach Zachary Lewis: homes@plaind.com

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