11-15-06 Century Home Nearly Torched
11-15-06 Area of new I-90 Interchange discussed at Master Plan review meeting
11-22-06 Lowe's to anchor Jacobs Group's new Avon Crossing
12-21-06 Avon High to double in size
12-30-06 Planned Lorain Metro Parks trail to offer views of wildlife, steel mill
1-1-07 Bird flu antiviral shortage
1-2-07 Pickering Hill
1-3-07 Ordiance to help preserve landmarks
1-8-07 Pickering/Piazza and Schneider go down
1-18-07 Traffic problem with Heritage Square, formerly Heritage Village
1-23-07 Westlake to close Avon Road
1-24-07 Auditor blunders
1-25-07 Guest speaker arrested
Renovate, Don't Demolish
See www.coolcleveland.com, 7-4-06.
On preserving historic schools:
``Taxpayers in Cleveland and the State of Ohio should pay close attention to the historic schools feasibility study recently published by the Cleveland Restoration Society. The findings of this study underscore the colossal waste of taxpayers money being spent on new schools when existing historic schools can be renovated for substantially less cost.
In addition to the huge potential costs savings, there are other significant benefits to renovating historic schools: Most existing schools were designed and built during the most prosperous era in American history and were constructed of the best materials available. These buildings frequently contain built-in artwork and fine details that are not affordable today.
Ironically, it is the new schools, often built of lower-quality materials to meet severe current budget constraints, that are now being designed for only a 40-year life cycle. Existing school buildings frequently embody a sense of community history and provide neighborhoods with an important sense of identity. Can new budget-driven school designs accomplish the same?
Rehabilitation of existing schools generates more economic impact than new construction. Data from the US Commerce Department shows that $1 million spent on rehabilitation creates five more construction jobs and three more permanent jobs that the same $1 million spent on new construction. Because rehabilitation involves up to 20% more labor than new construction, many of the new jobs are local, which will exponentially benefit a region's economy. Historic schools can be successfully modernized to provide a contemporary learning environments.
The latest technology can be installed in older buildings, which will meet educational programming needs and foster successful learning. There are great example of this throughout the United States, Ohio and even locally. The recently renovated John Hay High School in Cleveland is an outstanding model we should follow.
Recycling existing buildings teaches the lessons of preserving and conserving resources, enabling students to appreciate the fine workmanship of their construction and connecting them to past generations. Let's not pile up local landfills with the civic investments of our predecessors.''
from Cool Cleveland reader Anthony W. Hiti
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-15-06, By Rebecca Turman
``Developer attempts open burn without permit
AVON -- At the Nov. 13 regular meeting of Avon City Council, Law Director John Gasior asked council to take action against the open-burning of homes in the city. The request was brought on by an open-burning that was to be conducted on the century-old Schneider Home, 35925 Detroit Road, on the Lake Pointe Construction property without a demolition permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission ...
"I'm going to ask council to consider holding an emergency legislation meeting this week," Gasior said. "Impose a moratorium on open burning of buildings at least for six months."
Gasior was hesitant to say that the city has a loophole for the burning of homes, though he said, "We may have a problem in our current legislation."
"We need at least six (members present) to pass the emergency legislation," Gasior said to council members, adding that he would like to hold the meeting on Nov. 16.
Earlier in the week, at the Nov. 8  Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting, Gasior said he explained to one of Lake Pointe Construction owner Greg Romes' representatives (Romes was out of town) that a demolition permit hadn't been requested yet. Only a request to take the home off of the Avon Historical Register was filed by the developer in Oct. 2005.
By the end of the meeting, Gasior said Romes' representative had agreed to call off the open burn on the home that the developer had arranged with the fire academy for Nov. 11. However, Gasior said he received phone calls from several people on Nov. 11 telling him that the burn was being conducted by the Cuyahoga County Community Fire Academy, against his guidance.
According to Fire Chief Frank Root III, the Avon Fire Department has worked in conjunction with the fire academy for years. "They take 100 percent responsibility for the burns," Chief Root said. "If something goes wrong, it all goes back to Tri C."
Chief Root said he believes the incident occurred because of miscommunication, adding that the Associate Commander of the fire academy, Brian Higginbotham, was under the impression that Greg Romes had obtained a demolition permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. "As far as he was concerned, everything was above board," Root said.
No fire was set to the home on Nov. 11. According to Root, it was a prep weekend for the academy, where they board up the house, remove windows and do hose and ladder drills. While the academy was prepping the home, the fire and police departments were contacted.
"The police department was advised to have the fire academy stop," Root said. "We stopped it, plain and simple because you have to go through the process like everyone else," Mayor Jim Smith said. "We're going to make sure the burns come to an end until we get a handle on it." ...
Councilman Tim Nickum originally brought up the subject of open burning during the comments session of the council meeting on Nov. 13 . Nickum said that the burnings should be limited, adding that they make too much pollution. "The last one they burnt down on 254, they evacuated the schools," Nickum added.
Safety Director Bob Allen agreed with Tim Nickum's take on the burns. "I don't think either of those houses (on Romes' property) should be burned," Bob Allen said. "It's a bad area to have a distraction," he said adding how close the homes are to St. Mary of the Woods and Avon Commons.
The demolition request for the century home on the Romes property will be reviewed at the next Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting on Dec. 12  at 7:30 pm at city hall, according to Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairwoman Carol Hartwig.''
[Quoting from the 10-12-05 Landmarks Preservation Commission Minutes, Avon's preservation consultant "Steve McQuillin ... said the house was an example of late 19 century Queen Ann Eastlake style architecture that appears to be well preserved ... [and recommends that] the applicant ... save the house as part of a planned commercial development.
The house can remain on its current site and be adapted into a gift shop or it can be moved, at the owner's expense, to a suitable location on [the Romes] property where it would remain visible from a public right of way similar to its present orientation ..."]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-14-06, By MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer
``Historic Avon house nearly torched
AVON -- City officials want more oversight of burning in the city after a historic home was nearly burned down without a permit, according to Law Director John Gasior.
Gasior proposed a moratorium on burning homes for fire department training and other purposes until the city can study the issue and see if more oversight is necessary. "We may not have as much local oversight of these types of options as we might want to have," Gasior said.
Avon's historic Schneider house at 35925 Detroit Road narrowly missed being burned down after owner Greg Romes tried to have crews burn it down Saturday [11-11-06], despite not having a demolition or burning permit, according to Mayor Jim Smith. When Smith got word that the house was about to be burned, Gasior asked police to stop the burning.
"You just can't go and burn down a house," Smith said. Gasior said police arrived in time to "at least prevent any further damage from being done to the landmark there." Doors and windows had been torn out and then boarded back up after burning was called off, he said.
Gasior said at the meeting the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission earlier that week [11-8-06] did not act on the demolition permit, and Romes' representative at the meeting said they would call off the burn. Romes did not return a call for comment yesterday.
Safety Director Robert Allen said burning the home created safety hazards such as driver distraction and its close proximity to schools, Avon Commons and St. Mary of the Woods retirement home.
Jack Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, said that the Schneider house has been on the city's register of historical places since the register began several years ago. It was built in 1874 and is most notable for its scrolly woodwork, which he said was a rarity in Avon. "We have a limited supply of century homes. When you lose them they're just gone," Smith said.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 11-20-06, by Stephen Szucs
``AVON -- A historic house ... is the cause of conflict between the city and the developer. The Schneider House on Detroit Road in Avon, built in 1874, is today located across from the entrance of the Avon Commons shopping complex, making it a prime piece of real estate.
Greg Romes of Lake Pointe Construction acquired the house in 2005 with hopes of tearing it down to put in a 20-acre retail shopping center but was denied a demolition permit because the home remained on the landmarks preservation list ...
The developer ... eventually donated the structure to the Cuyahoga County Community College Fire Academy for training purposes. But local police and firefighters put a stop to the plan to burn the house down because the demolition permit wasn't approved.
... Mayor Jim Smith said the smoke could have created a mess at the nearby intersection of Detroit Road and state Route 83. "You don't want all that smoke there and people rubbernecking," he said. "I'm not getting between (Romes) and the Landmarks Preservation Commission, but 90 percent of what I'm concerned about is safety."
Avon Historical Society President Jack Smith said the home is architecturally significant to the area ... "You keep chopping away at this [or that] piece of Avon, and you'll slowly destroy the character of the town."
City Council decided Thursday to create a 60-day moratorium on burning ... Romes, who is a distant descendant of the Schneider family that once owned the house, said his company will eventually demolish the house but not until a permit comes. "I'm not doing this with great pleasure," he said ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-22-06, By Rebecca Turman
``Burns are on hold for 60 days
AVON -- At a special meeting of Avon City Council on Nov. 16 members voted to impose a temporary moratorium on the open burning of abandoned buildings.
"The moratorium will last 60 days, until we get a handle on it," Mayor Jim Smith said. "After new legislation is approved, they'll have to get a clearance from the police chief, fire chief, safety director and myself before anything can happen."
Smith said he realizes that the open-burns help fire academy students prepare for saving lives, and this new legislation won't indefinitely prevent the burns. It will simply ensure that all city officials know about the burns, to prevent situations similar to what happened on the Lake Pointe Construction property, the century-old Schneider Home at 35925 Detroit Road. "This way everything comes across everyone's desk," Smith said.
Law Director John Gasior originally recommended the moratorium after preparations for an open-burn began on the home without a demolition permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Gasior initially suggested a six-month moratorium, but changes to legislation can be addressed within a 60-day time period.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-15-06, By Rebecca Turman
``Area of new I-90 Interchange discussed at Master Plan review meeting
AVON -- It's no secret -- Avon is getting a new I-90 Interchange. But with change comes planning, and at the Nov. 8 Master Plan review meeting, Planning Commission and residents of Avon discussed possibilities for the area.
With the popularity of overlay rezoning requests growing near the area of the new interchange, Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said Planning Commission will have to review requests more carefully.
"I think we are down to about four parcels on the frontage of Nagel that have not asked for an overlay," Piazza said, adding that two new requests for overlays are on the Nov. 15 Planning Commission meeting agenda.
"How far do we spread commercial growth in the area because of the interchange," Piazza asked. "What should be the depth of Nagel that we should protect? Do we want to start going across 83 with commercial?" "Impacts won't only go north, they're going to go south," Mark Majewski, Avon's planning consultant, said of the interchange ...
Former Planning Commission member and architect Paul Burik offered up some ideas of what to do with the area. "I think we need to look outside the boundaries of zoning," Paul Burik said. "We should consider a special district with that area, much like the French Creek District. Architectural uniformity is critical."
"It's virgin territory; there is really not that much built there," Burik said. "Be on the cutting edge of technology and let that district be driven by that. Have something that would be more forward-looking." If the buildings were cutting edge and environmentally smart, "it would really be a metaphor for the environment that's there now," Burik said.
Burik's idea was well received by others at the Master Plan review meeting. "I think it's absolutely a great idea," Council President Clinton Pelfrey said. "We don't want to have people doing all their own thing," he added of the property owners.
In order to put a district architectural plan in action, Majewski said that developers would have to be on the same page as the city. "It will give a good impression of the community and add value," Majewski said.
After discussing architectural possibilities, Majewski mentioned that it will be interesting to see how traffic will be redistributed. "Detroit is going to take a lot of heat," Majewski said, regarding traffic. Based on the population, Piazza said, "Statistically, the Detroit road area will have 8 to 10 percent less traffic by the year 2030 [compared to what? 2005?]."
With a rezoning moratorium effective only until April 16, 2007, Majewski, along with Planning Commission, is trying to put the Master Plan review in fast-forward mode. At the meeting, he presented a timeline for finishing the review. "By Jan. 10 , I hope to have preliminary concepts for amendments," Majewski said. "It's a very aggressive schedule," Piazza said of the timeline, adding that it was necessary. [The next master plan meetings are scheduled for 7 pm at City Hall on 11-29-06, on 12-13-06, and on 1-10-07.]
Crucial areas that need addressed on the Master Plan include the Nagel Interchange (north and south of I-90), the sewer extension on Jaycox Road, the SR 83 corridor, Chester Road (east and west of 83) and Detroit Road, according to Majewski. [Marginal east-west roads serving the new interchange are critical.] ''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-22-06, By Rebecca Turman
``Lowe's to anchor Jacobs Group's new Avon Crossing
AVON -- New retail is on the way for Avon.
At the Nov. 15  Avon Planning Commission meeting, Anne McBride, of McBride Dale Clarion, represented the Jacobs Group and presented preliminary plans for a 35.5-acre retail development, Avon Crossing, which will be built on the northeast corner of Chester Road and SR 83.
The main store to be featured in the development will be a 140,000-sq.-ft. Lowe's with an additional 33,000-sq.-ft garden center.
McBride further explained that the development would include a 102,800-sq.-ft. junior anchor, a smaller retail store and three restaurants along Chester Road. Along SR 83, there will be a 19,650-sq.-ft. multi-tenant retail building, another restaurant and a bank. "We tried to create a corridor feel," McBride said.
McBride added that there would be a point of access on Chester, linked with the Wal-Mart traffic light. Access will also be available at the new intersection (Main Street) and off of Schneider Court. "We plan to come back in front of Planning Commission with a formal proposal some time in January," McBride said.
"Lowe's is on an aggressive schedule," Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said. "They want to be open by fall of next year." ... it's inevitable that the new retail development will cause more traffic to flow through the SR 83/Chester Road area.
Though the SR 83 extension may alleviate some of the traffic, Piazza said it would not be the "cure all" to traffic problems in that area. "There's no question that it will be congested," Piazza said. "However, the extension will eliminate serious degradation of Chester and 83."
Piazza explained that the original goal of the extension was to improve traffic on Chester. "It's a temporary improvement for 83, but a permanent improvement to Chester," Piazza said of the extension. "Traffic may be backed up on 83, but not on Chester. It should move smoother on Chester, according to traffic analysis."
Piazza further explained that two lanes going southbound would be ideal to accommodate increased traffic. As far as the extension goes, Piazza said, "Our ultimate goal is to take it all the way to the railroad tracks, parallel to 83."
According to Mayor Jim Smith, the traffic congestion in that area can be attributed to many factors, including traffic from new residents in North Ridgeville and Avon. "It's not just commercial and industrial causing it," Smith said.
Regardless of the source of the high volume traffic, Smith said that the new businesses would make improvements to "absorb the additional traffic." "They (businesses) pay very well for the city, but in turn, you're going to have to put up with a little discomfort in a few areas," Smith added.
In other Planning Commission news, two more properties were granted overlays during the Nov. 15 meeting. Brett Linden was granted the request for an M1 to M-1/C-4 overlay for his property located at 1100 and 1110 Nagel Road. Linden said he didn't have any immediate plans for the combined 7.8-acre property.
"This is just a continuation of the rezoning overlay rush," Piazza said. "This is one of the last four parcels with frontage on Nagel Road. I think there are only three parcels left (that haven't requested overlay)."
Carl Lemke also requested and was granted a rezoning overlay from O2 to M1-C-4 overlay for his 4.5-acre property located on Nagel Road. Lemke said the rezoning would "fit in with the planning of the city." "Based on the interchange configuration, we're not sure how much of this property will be developable at that time," Piazza said of Lemke's property.
Also at the meeting, a first presentation was made to amend the planning and zoning code in regard to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The amendment will require all landmarks to be identified on plans that are submitted to Planning Commission, which will then be passed on to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
"Landmarks figures that if they know from the beginning, they may have a better chance of saving the landmark," Piazza said. The amendment will now say, "developer, you must include and identify landmarks on your first drawing," Piazza said.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-18-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer
``AVON -- One proposed shopping center got a go-ahead from Avon Planning Commission last night, while questions were raised about the development plans for another.
The Planning Commission approved the general development plan for stores and restaurants for the proposed Avon Crossing shopping center at SR 83 and Chester Road. The anchor store will be Lowe's.
Avon Crossing, on 36 acres, is expected to open by the end of 2008, according to Michael Johnson of the Jacobs Group. He said the road improvements should begin in the spring of 2008.
Lowe's is expected to feature a full-size garden center of about 40,000 square feet. Another junior anchor tenant will occupy about 100,000 square feet.
No other tenants for the shopping center have been announced, Johnson said.
The Planning Commission also approved road improvements in the immediate area of Chester Road and SR 83 that will be financed by the developer, the Richard E. Jacobs Group, as long as the developer resolves some engineering and waterline issues before City Council votes on it.
Traffic lights will need to be upgraded at SR 83, Chester Road and Schneider Court entrances to the shopping center, developers said.
The developer will add a left turn lane by Wal-Mart on SR 83, add a left turn lane on Schneider Court to turn south and a left turn lane on SR 83 entering the shopping center, according to Jim Piazza, the city's Planning Coordinator. The Jacobs Group's total cost for road improvements will be $600,000 to $800,000, Piazza said.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-24-07, By Rebecca Turman
``... The Jacobs Group, as promised, submitted its site plans for Avon Crossing, which includes Lowe's, at the meeting, but it turns out they were a little too early.
Planning commission approved [1-17-07] all of the Jacobs Groups requests -- a lot split/consolidation, general development plans, final development plan for phase 1 of the Avon Crossing project to include Lowe's and a special use permit to allow for outdoor storage in a C-4 District, and site plans for the off-site roadway improvements for the Avon Crossing commercial development -- but it wasn't until the last few items were passed that Piazza asked the Jacobs Group when the project would get underway.
The group announced that Lowe's expected to break ground in spring of 2008, and that construction wouldn't be done until the end of 2008. Piazza pointed out that approval from planning commission/council would only be good for one year, which means that the group would have to get plans re-approved all over again next year because approval would expire before construction would begin. "This time, going fast may slow you down," Piazza said about The Jacobs Group's early submission.
During the meeting, Anne McBride, representing Lowe's, said that the store would be 140,000-sq.-ft. with an additional 40,000-sq.-ft. garden center. The Jacobs Group would not name any other possible tenants.
The Jacobs Group also presented off-site improvements to the property. Traffic signals will be added at the Main Street entrance, on Schneider Court at SR 83 and one that will line up with the traffic light by Wal-Mart on Chester Road. Improvements will also be made to the SR 83 and Chester Road intersection. "You're approaching over $1 million in off-site improvements," City Engineer Mike Bramhall pointed out.
In other planning commission news, members suspended the rules to allow Avon Middle School to resurface the track with an all-weather material, renovate the football field with an artificial turf and turn a lawn area into a gravel surface parking lot.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-1-07, by The Morning Journal Staff
``... City officials are working on improving traffic for a proposed retail development on the east side of SR 83 north of Chester Road.
On Jan. 17,  the Planning Commission approved road improvements in the immediate area of Chester Road and SR 83 that will be financed by the developer, the Richard E. Jacobs Group, as long as the developer resolves some engineering and waterline issues before City Council votes on it.
Traffic lights will need to be upgraded at SR 83, Chester Road and Schneider Court entrances to the shopping center, developers said.
The developer will add a left turn lane by Wal-Mart on SR 83, add a left turn lane on Schneider Court to turn south and a left turn lane on SR 83 entering the shopping center, according to Jim Piazza, the city's planning coordinator.
The Jacobs Group's total cost for road improvements will be $600,000 to $800,000, Piazza said. Pelfrey said a traffic study needs to be completed for the new retail center that will be anchored by Lowe's and is projected to open by the end of next year.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 12-21-06, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer
``Officials hope to expand Avon High
AVON -- Avon Local Schools officials plan to nearly double the size of Avon High School, in anticipation of a growing student population.
Treasurer Kent Zeman said yesterday the district plans to add 82,000 square feet to Avon High School, which is now 109,000 square feet. The addition will include new classrooms and science labs and additions to the fine arts area, weight room and wrestling facility.
At an informal presentation before Avon Planning Commission last night, Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said 67,000 square feet of the addition will be academic space, including 38 classrooms and one lecture hall ...
Zeman said the current senior class has about 155 students, and the kindergarten class is almost 300 students. About one hundred additional students are expected to be added to the high school in each of the next two years from the middle school ranks, he said.
The capacity of the school will double from 800 students to up to a maximum of 1,600 students, Zeman said.
The project will be financed through the $19.8 million bond issue passed in May. The high school project will cost about $14 million, and the rest of the funds will go toward improvements at elementary schools, Zeman said.
The district plans to bid the project late next month [1-07], begin construction in April, and finish the project in July 2008, according to Zeman ...
The district will put the remainder of the funds toward the soon-to-be completed connection between Heritage North and Heritage South elementary schools. The district is adding four classrooms and computer labs there, and the construction is set to be completed in mid-February. School officials also plan to renovate 19 classrooms at Avon East Elementary School, according to Zeman.
The school district is also considering adding a new all-weather track at Avon Middle School, and will, if possible, look into adding artificial turf at the athletic complex's football field.
''We're not going to jeopardize academic or instructional classroom additions to put in field turf,'' said Zeman.
Jim Piazza, the city's planning coordinator, said residents in the area had been sent letters informing them that the school's expansion would be up for a public hearing and discussion last night. The public hearing before the meeting drew no comments from the audience.
Piazza noted the only complaints the city had received about the high school was noise from the building's air handlers. Reitenbach responded that the district is aware of those complaints, and said the new air handlers will be enclosed ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 12-28-06, By Mary Davies, Staff Writer
``AVON -- Once winter weather breaks in spring, so will grounds at the high school.
Plans are to build about 67,000 square feet of classroom space, expand the music education area by 9,000 square feet and construct approximately 7,000 square feet of wrestling practice and weight-training facilities.
"We are almost doubling the size of the high school," said Superintendent Jim Reitenbach.
Avon officials, keen at ensuring facilities growth stays ahead of student population growth, began planning several construction projects about a year ago.
According to Ohio Department of Education data, the district is educating 264 kindergartners this year. The current senior class has 165 students.
The high school now houses about 700 students in ninth through 12th grades. The building, 37545 Detroit Road, can accommodate about 800 students.
The proposed expansion would boost capacity to about 1,700 students.
City planning officials estimate a maximum Avon population of about 45,000, but school officials won't know for years whether the high school would run out of space.
After the addition is completed, there will be no more room for expansion at that site, Reitenbach said. "We are at maximum build-out with the high school," he said.
The schools will spend about $14 million to expand the high school and an estimated $1.4 million to renovate an athletic track behind the middle school, according to district treasurer Kent Zeman.
Other projects include connecting Heritage North and South elementary schools and updating 19 East elementary school classrooms. The two projects are expected to cost about $1 million each.
The district will pay for the projects from a 1996 bond issue voters readjusted in May . The issue enabled property owners to generate an additional $19.8 million by keeping collection at 5 mills. Without the May issue, collection would have dropped to 3.1 mills ...''
[Busses are scheduled to be relocated to Heritage North on 3-1-07. For more on school spending see Avon has highest legal cost per student in Lorain County]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 12-30-06, by Carl Matzelle, Plain Dealer Reporter
[Planned Lorain Metro Parks trail to offer views of wildlife, steel mill]
``LORAIN -- A new stretch of hiking trail in Lorain County will open up land the public has never been able to see.
It also will provide vistas that combine two important aspects of Ohio's history. On one side will lie unspoiled forest and the Black River valley; on the other, the giant Lorain steel plant. Natural and industrial heritage will merge in one awe-inspiring view ... "Our patrons told us they wanted more all-purpose hiking trails," Metro Parks Director Dan Martin said ...
The $2.5 million, 2.5-mile asphalt trail will begin at East 31st Street in Lorain near Norfolk Avenue, where it will link with the 3.5-mile Black River Trail. It will wind through Republic Steel Corp. property and end at Ohio 611, northwest of the French Creek Nature Center in Sheffield ...
The trail will include scenic overlooks and three new bridges. A 370-foot pedestrian bridge will span the river about a half-mile north of East 31st Street to a trail that passes underneath a train bridge leading into the steel mill.
Farther north, a 310-foot bridge will cross the fork of the Black River and French Creek to Ohio 611, where a 130-foot bridge will cross the valley. Historical-information stands will be placed along the trail to help people understand industry's role in developing the valley, Martin said ...
Eventually, the trail will be completed into downtown Lorain, Martin said. Another trail and bridge east through the slag pits to the Burrell Homestead is also possible. The brick homestead once belonged to one of Sheffield's founding families.''
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: email@example.com
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 12-17-06, by Matt Leingang, The Associated Press
[Bird flu antiviral shortage]
``COLUMBUS -- Lack of antiviral medication is among the biggest problems that Ohio public health officials are facing as they plan for a flu pandemic. About 3 million of the state's 11 million residents could get sick and up to 67,000 could be hospitalized in such an outbreak, according to the state Health Department.
Ohio spent $3 million in federal money this year to begin stockpiling antivirals, medicine that destroys a virus or interferes with its ability to grow and reproduce. But another $17 million is needed to have enough of the medicine to go around, said Steve Wagner, assistant division chief with the state Health Department ...
Pushed by the federal government, officials in Ohio and other states have been trying to prepare for a potential deadly new form of influenza. Experts believe such an outbreak is inevitable, and they worry the bird flu circulating in Asia could become the agent.
Ohio has 45,500 hospital beds, according to the health department. Another 10,000 could be freed up in an emergency by canceling elective surgeries, discharging non-critical patients and setting up alternate treatment sites in cafeterias or other available spaces ...
Ohio has about 2,000 nurses, doctors and other medical professionals in the state's Medical Reserve Corps -- volunteers who have agreed to help their communities during public health emergencies, Wagner said ...
Wagner said citizens will have to take personal responsibility in helping to control spread of the disease, too -- simple things such as covering their mouths and noses with tissue when coughing and sneezing, washing their hands often, staying home when sick and following orders that may restrict public gatherings.
"When something catastrophic occurs, it is difficult for government to solve all the issues. The public has to take care of itself to some extent," Wagner said. Wagner said people should also think ahead and make their own emergency disaster plans, including stockpiling food and other essential household items. ''
[More on bird flu]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 12-6-06, By Rebecca Turman
``AVON -- According to the March 16, 2005 Avon Planning Commission minutes, Steve Schafer of The Village at Creekside (Schafer Development and Gamellia Construction), stated that the "Pickering/Piazza house will remain a historical site with one curb cut" when he presented the retail plans for Heritage Square, to be located directly south of Costco on Detroit Road and to the west of Middleton Road.
Of course, this Planning Commission meeting was held months before The Village at Creekside filed a lawsuit against the city for not granting the rezoning request of the property.
More than a year later, after The Village at Creekside was given the go-ahead on Feb. 28, 2006 from The Lorain County Court of Common Pleas to rezone the property (15 acres) from its original request from residential (R-2) to commercial (C-2) for Heritage Square, it appears that The Village at Creekside's initial intentions have shifted.
The Village at Creekside requested a demolition permit from the Landmarks Preservations Commission, in Sept. 2006, to remove the historical home at 35676 Detroit Road, which was built between the 1840s and 1850s and is listed on the city's Register of Landmarks.
Dan Urbin of Gamellia Construction represented The Village at Creekside at the Landmark Preservation Society on Nov. 8 in requesting demolition of the Pickering/Piazza House ...
The Landmarks Preservation Commission was established in 2003 after voters passed a charter amendment.
Per the city's charter, "The owner of a property in Avon, which is designated a landmark, may appeal to the Landmark Preservation Commission to have the property removed from the register of landmarks. No person or governmental body owning a registered landmark shall demolish said landmark without a demolition permit issued by the Commission. The Commission shall issue a demolition permit no later than six months after receiving the application for said permit." ...
According to an e-mail from Steve McQuillin, of Steven McQuillen & Associates, who the city hired in 2004 to assist the Landmarks Preservation Commission in compiling a list of historic properties in the city: ... "The high cost of moving the home, like homes restored and included in Olde Avon Village, "does not seem like a realistic option," McQuillin said.
"The house could be rehabilitated on its current site ...," he said. "... the house might be able to be adapted for use as an antique or craft shop. Such commercial uses might justify the high costs of restoration." ...
Regardless of what the possibility of restoring the home might be, at the Dec. 12  Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting at 7:30 pm in the Caucus Room at Avon City Hall, Urbin will once again represent The Village at Creekside in a request for a demolition permit for the property.
Steve Schafer could not be reached for comment before The Press deadline.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 12-13-06. By Rebecca Turman
``Rezoning could lead to expansion for Pickering Hill Farm on Detroit
AVON -- At the Dec. 11  regular meeting of Avon City Council, the Karel Pickering Trust (owners of Pickerng Hill Farm) received approval from council members (7-0) to rezone parcels of land at 35735, 35715 and 35669 Detroit Road from R-2 family district to C-2 French Creek/Central Business District to a depth of 350 feet from the centerline of Detroit Road.
While Jay Pickering originally sought to rezone all three properties, roughly 14 acres, to commercial, ultimately, council decided to go a long with Planning Commission and the city's planning consultant Mark Majewski in limiting the depth of the commercial property to 350 feet, since the rear of the property stretches back into other residential property.
Pickering had the opportunity to speak with Majewski about possibilities for a larger depth, but at the Dec. 11 meeting of council Majewski had not been persuaded to increase the depth.
"My opinion, as far as the rezoning on this property, is the same," Majewski said. "Obviously this is an unusual property, in terms of location. Some types of office buildings might be something considered in the future."
Pickering said that he didn't know what else his property would be suited for, with the Heritage Bus Garage and St. Mary of the Woods alongside it. "It's no longer something that is a desirable residential property," Pickering said. "With all the school buses there, that's where the real issue becomes what can you do with that property,” Pickering said to council members, adding that there was a lack of buffering on both sides of his property.
Though an exact acreage amount for the property to be rezoned at a 350-foot depth has not been determined yet, Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza told councilmembers that before the ordinance goes into full effect in 30 days, Bramhall Engineering will draw up a site plan that will determine the exact number of acres. Ultimately, Piazza said the area to be rezoned is about 1/3 of the original acreage that was requested.
When Pickering originally presented the request for rezoning to Planning Commission at the Sept. 27 meeting, he said the rezoning to commercial would help expand the family business. "We'd like to extend what we're doing now," Pickering said. "We might want to expand into flowers. We're looking to the future."''
[Commercial zoning raises the price the School Board would have to pay if an attempt is made to seize the Pickering farm by eminent domain for additional bus parking.]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-3-07, By Megan King, Morning Journal Writer
``Avon City Council debates law to preserve landmarks
AVON -- City Council is considering a law that could help preserve some of the city's historic landmarks. At a work session last night, Council discussed an ordinance that would require developers to identify historic landmarks on their land when they submit development plans to the Planning Commission, according to Jim Piazza, the city planning coordinator. The law is scheduled for a public hearing at the Jan. 8 Council meeting.
"The Landmarks Preservation Commission asked us to try to bring (the notification) out sooner in the process ... ," Piazza said. The planning process will not slow down as a result of the new law, but it will "recognize the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the planning process." Piazza said.
Jack Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, praised the proposed changes, saying it might help to save a few historic landmarks. "I think it's very important to make sure Planning Commission knows that a landmark is on property that is about to be developed," Smith said. "Unless that information is up front, sometimes it just gets overlooked."
Smith cited an historic home at the southeast corner of Case and Detroit roads that was torn down when Alrington Estates was developed, and said he did not think the Planning Commission was aware of its historic significance.
"We're hoping to save as many buildings as we can," Smith said. Smith said it is crucial for Avon to maintain its small-town atmosphere. He cited a 1992 survey of Avon residents when the master plan was reviewed that showed Avon's "look" as a reason people move there.
"The major reason people came to Avon was they like the way the place looks," Smith said. "It wasn't because of the schools, it was because it looks like a nice place to live. I think to maintain everybody's property values we need to make sure it looks like a nice place to live."
In other business, Council is considering updating its laws regarding development land that affects wetlands. Council discussed repealing the current law, which consulting enginee Mike Bramhall said mandated developers have approval from the Army Corps of Engineers before submitting development plans to Planning Commission, and replacing it with a new ordinance.
THe new law would "address the division of responsibility between the state and federal government" with regards to wetlands. It most likely would say developers must get approval before submitting plans, Bramhall said after the meeting. The repeal of the wetlands ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing Feb. 12 .
City Council also discussed a contribution of about $11,000 that the city would make to the Lorain County Office on Aging to support Meals on Wheels and other programs. The funds for the program were part of the budget that was already approved last month, Finance Director Robert Hamilton told Council members. Mayor Jim Smith told Council that the program serves 38 households in Avon with daily meals. He praised the program for providing both meals and company to residents who are served by the program. "This is the only time a lot of (seniors) get to see somebody," Mayor Smith said.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 12-20-06, By Rebecca Turman
[Pickering/Piazza and Schneider go down]
``AVON -- Dan Urbin represented The Village at Creekside (Gamellia Construction and Schafer Development) and gave a second presentation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Dec. 12. Urbin, of Gamellia Construction) was asking permission to demolish the Pickering/Piazza home at 35676 Detroit Road. The house built between the 1840s and 1850s, is on Avon's list of registered landmarks.
According to Urbin, when Steve Schafer originally purchased the home, he didn't have the opportunity to view the inside of it because a tenant was living there. Currently, according to Urbin, the home has "many problems," including "serious mold, structural problems and house shifting." "The house will be too expensive to restore," Urbin said ...
Law Director John Gasior [said] that the development plans for Heritage Square, to be reviewed by Planning Commission in January , do not include the house. He also said that the plans include a driveway that will separate where the house currently lies from the Heritage Square development ...
Commission members voted 2 (Bob Gates and Lois Shinko)- 1 (Carol Hartwig), to deny the demolition request, Tom Wearsch was not present. Though they didn't approve the demolition, this will only delay the inevitable demolition six months from the date that the demolition was initially requested. Since the request was filed in September, The Village at Creekside may demolish the home any time after March 2007.
In other Landmarks Preservation news, members voted to approve the demolition of the Schneider home at 35925 Detroit Road, located on the Lake Pointe Construction property owned by Greg Romes.
On Nov. 11 , the home was prepped for an open burn by the Cuyahoga County Community Fire Academy, which was under the impression that Romes had received an approval for demolition. That was not the case, however. As a result of the attempted open-burn, city council issued a 60-day moratorium on open burns at the Nov. 16  meeting.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-18-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer
[Traffic problem with Heritage Square, formerly Heritage Village]
... Jeff Keefe, a representative of Heritage Square, being developed by Texas-based Brewer Development at Detroit Road and Middleton Drive, received many questions from Commission members, mainly concerns over where the entrances and exits to the shopping center are to be located.
Keefe said Heritage Square would include a retail center and restaurants.
Councilman Timothy Nickum, the council representative to the Commission, questioned why there were two ways to access the center planned on Detroit Road and none on Middleton Drive, both for safety reasons and for easy access to the center.
Nickum suggested the city ''put a little heat on'' First Interstate, the owner of the Middleton Drive property, to get an entrance there.
''Detroit Road is going to become even more busy, to the point of stagnation sometimes, and that's not good for your development,'' Nickum said.
Nickum said the city would not want to see two entrances on Detroit Road, but rather one on Detroit Road and one on Middleton Drive.
Keefe said his proposal met the Commission's requirements, and his client could not put an entrance to the center on land he did not own.
''We don't have control of that parcel,'' Keefe said. ''We expected it, but it didn't end up becoming a reality.''
The Commission sent the proposal to second reading at the suggestion of Law Director John Gasior so city officials would have time to discuss their options if the administration wants to try to obtain the land.
''The city's going to have to make a decision on what it's going to have to do to get that access,'' Gasior said.
In other business, the Planning Commission approved a special use permit for Avon Middle School so the school can add a gravel parking area at the back of the middle school near the football stadium, an all-weather track and artificial turf at the stadium.
The artificial turf is still in the bidding process, but Piazza said the permit would comply with any of the bids they chose to install the artificial turf.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-24-07, By Rebecca Turman
``Heritage Square plans put on hold ...
AVON -- Heritage Square, the commercial development to be built at Middleton Drive and Detroit Road, hit a few rough patches at the Jan. 17  Avon Planning Commission meeting.
Jeff Keefe represented Heritage Square and Brewer Development LLC, out of Texas, for the first presentation. Keefe said that a restaurant and retail would be part of the commercial development. Keefe pointed out that the updated plan has two entrances off of Detroit, but none off of Middleton Drive. The two entrances on Detroit Road surprised planning commission members, since the original plan had one entrance on Middleton Drive and one at Detroit Road. "It's my understanding that they didn't want to sell that parcel (on Middleton)," Keefe said of the First Interstate property.
"Is there a way the city could force the landowner (to sell it)," City Engineer Mike Bramhall asked. "Yes, we probably could, but there are issues," Law Director John Gasior said. "Arguably, it would be for health, safety and welfare, but it's the administration's call." "I think we should explore that item," Councilman Tim Nickum said.
"We would have to lower the entire site to get access to Middleton," Keefe said, explaining that the elevation plan was shifted when access to Middleton was denied. "This is a general site development," Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said. "He could revise this."
"What are repercussions of having two access points on Detroit Road when we are trying to prevent curb cuts," Planning Chair Carolyn Witherspoon asked. "I don't have access to Middleton Road," Keefe replied. "Once we design it, we are stuck with those elevations," he reiterated. "We'll fight with you to get the entrance of Middleton," Nickum said. "The way you have it designed there, I wouldn't shop there."
Members said they would contact First Interstate to see if they'd be willing to give the property over to the city. The commission did not approve the plans, but decided to hold the request over until the February meeting, once they see where First Interstate stands on the issue.
"It was the hope that they would work this out between themselves," Gasior said. "I guess we'll have to find out why things didn't work out."
"I don't want to see, five years from now, five buildings empty because no one is shopping there. I want the project to be successful," Nickum said ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-23-07, by Stephen Szucs
[Westlake to close Avon Road]
``AVON -- The road less traveled in Westlake could become the road with no outlet for Avon residents, and Avon officials aren't happy about it.
Avon Road, connecting Bradley Road in Westlake to Nagel Road in Avon, will remain open along the Avon border, but the mile stretch that crosses into Westlake could be closed should Westlake officials approve a proposal that effectively would transfer ownership to a developer.
Avon City Council approved a resolution Monday expressing dissatisfaction with Westlake's intentions, and Avon Mayor Jim Smith cited safety as his biggest concern since safety crews frequently use the road as a short cut.
Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough said the city is simply considering whether to recommend vacating the two-lane asphalt road that appears to have been forgotten a long time ago. "There's no water line, sanitary sewers, regulated city water, storm sewers or residents," Clough said. "The city of Westlake no longer sees any purpose to maintain the road."
The responsibility of the property would go to developer Harry Gerent, who purchased the Westlake parcels from its four remaining residents. He plans to build a private subdivision adjacent to the Avon Oaks Country Club, according to Westlake officials. Gerent couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
With one fewer direction to travel for both cities, Avon fire Chief Frank Root III said eliminating the road could affect important emergency routes. More than 160 nearby homes are in the Willow Creek subdivision, which sits on Avon's side of the road.
Root said the road closing wouldn't slow response times to the scene itself, but the 'backtracking' would mean it would take longer to transfer trauma victims to nearby hospitals -- St. John WestShore and Fairview Hospital. In addition to the delay, a mutual aid request from Westlake's fire department would also be slowed, meaning that a big fire along the road could be problematic.
Westlake Council President Michael Killeen said a planning and zoning legislative committee will meet Jan. 29 to discuss the road that's considered a "nuisance" on his side of town. "The road isn't used a lot, and creates a dangerous intersection at Bradley Road," Killeen said.
Smith said he wrote a letter on behalf of Avon to Westlake offering to take over maintenance of the road rather than to have it closed, but he said he never heard back from anyone. "We can't do anything about it, it's not our property," Smith said. "But it's not in the best interest safetywise for either community."
Contact Stephen Szucs at firstname.lastname@example.org.''
EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 1-25-07,
``Keep Avon Road open in Westlake to maintain safety, ease traffic jams
Once again, Westlake's mayor is talking about closing the short stretch of Avon Road that runs through his city, and once again, Avon Mayor Jim Smith is hoping to keep it open. We're with Avon on this one, and we urge Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough to rethink the matter.
Avon Road runs parallel to Interstate-90 between Nagel Road in Avon and Bradley Road in Westlake. From Bradley, eastbound motorists can then take Clemens Road to the I-90 entrance ramps on Crocker-Bassett Road, or reach the Crocker Park shopping area.
From Clough's stated point of view, Westlake's short stretch of Avon Road is narrow, in disrepair, lacks sanitary sewers, has few residents and requires tax money to maintain.
But Avon's Mayor Smith emphasized that Avon Road provides ambulances and safety forces increased access between Avon and Westlake for mutual aid or for reaching St. John Westshore Hospital in Westlake.
Avon Road also is a potential pressure relief valve for traffic that now creates long backups on Detroit Road in eastern Avon.
New home development in the Avon Road areas of Westlake and Avon makes the safety and traffic considerations all the more important.
There's more too. Motorists going to and from Avon Lake also find Avon Road a convenient route to I-90, and that pleases Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland because that traffic would otherwise pour through Bay Village. What is really needed is another I-90 interchange in eastern Avon. That's in the works, but we won't see it anytime soon.
In an effort to keep Avon Road open, Mayor Smith said Avon might even take care of road maintenance for Westlake's part of Avon Road. Westlake's mayor should take that deal.
Whichever city takes care of Avon Road, it should definitely remain open all the way for greater safety, for easing traffic congestion and for providing a convenience for the people of Westlake, Avon and Bay Village.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-24-07, By Rebecca Turman
``Westlake may block off Avon Road
AVON -- At the Jan. 16  work session of Avon's City Council, members announced that Westlake had sent the city a letter inviting them to attend a meeting on Jan. 29 to discuss Westlake's decision to vacate Avon Road.
According to Avon Mayor Jim Smith, the letter from Westlake wasn't a surprise at all. Westlake has been talking about closing the road for more than three years now, he said. "They didn't own it to begin with," Smith said of the road. "They took possession of it from the county."
As to why Westlake wants to close the road off, Smith said the city hasn't given Avon a specific explanation. "They're just not giving us a real reason," Smith said. "It's not a cost issue. Any time you have the ability to go east and west, you have to maintain it. I've offered to maintain it. It makes no sense. You want to have your east and west roads -- as many as you possibly can."
If Avon Road was blocked off from Westlake, Smith said he was concerned that should an emergency arise, it would take longer to transport residents to St. John West Shore. "If there is a big accident on Detroit, there is no way to get west instead of 90." Smith added, "You should always try to keep routes open."
Throughout the meeting, city officials and council members offered up reasons why they thought Westlake would want to abandon the road. "They only have one home on it today," Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said was Westlake's reasoning for abandoning it. "I've been told that they want to funnel all their traffic east and west (onto Detroit)."
Other rumors surrounding the vacating of Avon Road surfaced at the meeting as well. "I have heard that if Westlake does that (close Avon Road), then Bay Village will cut off Krebs Road," Piazza said.
"Can't we all just get along," Councilman Craig Witherspoon said to lighten the mood. "I'm also hearing rumors that there will still be access for emergency vehicles (even if vacated)," Councilman Dennis McBride said. "When the interchange comes, they'll be regretting it (vacating.)"
Since a traffic analysis was conducted, calculating in the traffic from Avon Road, for the new Interchange to be built on Nagel Road, Piazza said he had notified TranSystems of Westlake possibly closing the road. "I told them to do studies with Avon Road being closed," Piazza said.
When it comes to feedback from residents, Willow Creek, a subdivision in Avon that is connected to Avon Road, residents have been involved in the issue. There have been equal amounts of calls from residents in Willow Creek -- wanting to close the road and not wanting to close it -- according to Piazza.
Westlake's Mayor Dennis Clough did not return The Press' calls before deadline. The public meeting to discuss the vacating of Avon Road will be held Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in Westlake City Hall Council Chambers at 7 p.m. at Westlake's Planning/Zoning Legislative Committee Meeting.
At the Jan. 22  regular meeting of the Avon City Council, members unanimously adopted a resolution to oppose the vacation and closing of Avon Road by the City of Westlake.''
[Is it possible that Westlake is trying to impede commerce between Avon and Westlake? for example, in regard to the construction of a Clevelnd Clinic facility at the north-east corner of Chester (Just Imagine) and Nagel?
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-17-07, by Joe Medici
``Would you pay $5,400,000 for this half-acre property in Avon?
* If John Aunspaw's property really was worth $5.4 million, it would be one of the most expensive homes in Lorain County.
* A quick look on Realtor.com reveals that there are several homes for sale throughout the county in the $1 million range, but none exceeds $4 million. The closest -- if a million or so difference is close -- would be a seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom lakefront home on West Lake Road in Vermilion that stretches across 3 acres. The asking price -- A mere $3.9 million.
AVON -- John Aunspaw already has the for sale ad written in his head. Two-story house on Detroit Road in historic Avon featuring two bedrooms and one bath on a half-acre, all for the bargain-basement price of $5.4 million. Come again?
Last week, the county auditor's office sent out the new tax bills -- bills that for the most part saw a jump in property values because all were reappraised by the auditor's staff. But probably no one saw a larger increase than Aunspaw. "Last year, my property was appraised at $66,000, so I was a bit surprised when I opened up my mail and found that my little parcel was valued at $5.4 million," Aunspaw said. "If I could sell that property for a quarter of that, I would do it in a second."
The severe increase would mean that instead of the $1,000 or so Aunspaw normally would pay in February, he would have to dig deeper to come up with the roughly $51,000 due by Feb. 9. Aunspaw said he purchased the white house on the corner of Detroit and French Creek roads more than 20 years ago and turned it into a commercial shop where a tenant runs a cabinet store.
Thankfully for Aunspaw, he won't have to scrape up that extra $50,000 because the appraisal and tax bill were the result of a typographical error in the county auditor's system ...
The incident left county Auditor Mark Stewart scratching his head. "It sounds like a clerical error, just taking a quick look at it," Stewart said. "Maybe somebody accidentally added another zero in there or something." Two zeroes to be exact, raising the intended value of $4 per square foot of useable property to $400. The correct value for the home is much closer to $90,000, and the office will remedy the mistake by sending out a new tax bill ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-20-07, by Brad Dicken
[Guest speaker arrested]
``AVON -- On Dec. 19 , Abdul Bari, an imam at a local mosque, spoke to Avon Middle School students about his faith. A day later, he was fleeing police after allegedly robbing a 49-year-old woman and her 23-year-old son at knifepoint outside a Westlake dental office. The chase led from Westlake to Elyria, where Bari and another man, Bobby Joe Baker, were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. Bari, 40, has been in the Westlake City Jail since then.
But the incident has prompted Avon school officials to take a hard look at their policy about who is allowed inside their schools to talk to students. Avon Middle School Principal Craig Koehler said Bari, who was an acting imam at Masjid al-Madinah mosque in Lorain, came highly recommended by respected members of the community who believed he could help students studying the rise of Islam.
"Little did we know this guy had a rap sheet a mile long," Koehler said. Bari, who converted to Islam and changed his name from Charles Opfer while serving prison time, has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions ranging from armed robbery to drug and weapons charges that date to the 1980s. He was released from a Michigan prison Sept. 6  after serving three years on armed robbery, firearms and assault charges.
Koehler said the district never did a background check on Bari, trusting in the recommendation that brought Bari to the school, as it did with other speakers ...''
The Latest News