Avon Growth News, 12-1-05 to 12-31-05

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12-5-05 Detroit Road could become Scenic Byway

1-11-05 Cities team up to make the North Ridge Scenic Byway

12-12-05 Rezoning for the Romes SR83-Detroit project is delayed

12-12-05 Statement by Council President Larry Hoekstra II at the meeting of the Avon Council on 12-12-05

1-11-06 Romes files lawsuit for commercial zoning

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

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, 11-23-05, By Julie A. Short

``Resident wants to add Avon Isle to National Register

Detroit Road could become Scenic Byway

AVON -- Talk is sometimes cheap in Avon when it comes to preserving the city's quaint charm and character. Long-time resident and Avon Historical Society member Ralph White has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure some of the charm is preserved. He is currently putting the finishing touches on an application to the Ohio Department of Highways to establish Detroit Road as a Scenic Byway through town.

"With the help of the society, we've all worked pretty hard on the application," White said. "The Scenic Byway designation is a way to help recognize and preserve what's left of Detroit Road. I grew up here. I've seen the changes ... I'm just getting the ball rolling with the application."

Sheffield Village historian Ed Herdendorf is also lending his expertise on the project, as part of the Byway will also include the Village. According to White, even with the Scenic Byway designation, the road can still be widened. The city is planning to create a center turn lane on Detroit Road in 2006.

"Along Detroit Road there are many historic homes and everything is at risk," White said. "If we don't designate it now, we'll lose it." In addition to his work on the Scenic Byway designation, White is also obtaining information for an application to include Avon Isle on the National Register of Historic Places.

"First I have a desire to put Avon Isle on the Lorain County Historical Landmark list," White said. "The next goal would be to get it on the national list. It's a very extensive process. I've been gathering data and researching the building for the application. I'm looking for any old photographs I could borrow from residents, or first-hand human-interest stories, records of previous owners, etc. I'd like to see the place restored and have the bridge fixed. The building has so much history and character. It would be a wonderful space the city could rent out to people for events."

White met with Mayor Jim Smith this week to discuss his plans for the application, as well as gather input from the mayor as to any plans the city may have to restore the building. As reported in The Press last month, Smith explained that it would cost approximately $300,000-400,000 to bring the building back to its original luster.

"We'd like to fix it right now, but we have other things on the priority list," Smith said in October. "We wanted to make sure our senior center was complete and we need to add more ball diamonds in the city. We had our engineer look at the building and we've cleaned up a number of things to make sure it's still usable. We recently installed new drainage on the side of the building so that water would not run in. The heating units have also been worked on. The city purchased the building eight years ago and we've been working to maintain it but it's going to take time and money."

The building sits on approximately 2.5 acres, along with another 1.5 acres on the other side of French Creek for parking which the city owns ...

Avon Isle is near and dear to the mayor's heart as the location was where his parents first met, as well as where he would participate in amateur boxing matches in the 70s. Parks Director Jerry Galant recently had the building surveyed by the Cleveland Restoration Society to evaluate its viability. The report concluded the building is salvageable.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-11-06, By John Edwards

``Cities team up to make Detroit Road a scenic byway

AVON/SHEFFIELD VILLAGE -- Dr. Charles E. Herdendorf, an Ohio State University Professor Emeritus, life-long Village resident, founder and director of the Sheffield Village Historical Society and Cultural Center, is heading up an effort to convince the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to declare Detroit Road the "North Ridge Scenic Byway" as it runs through Avon and Sheffield.

The nine-mile stretch of SR 254 (six miles through Avon, three miles through Sheffield) runs atop an agriculturally and historically significant ridge of sandy loam soil overlying the northernmost sandstone, pre-ice-age lake beach cliff.

Herdendorf notes that the North Ridge itself has been an important natural transportation route for millennia, used by paleo Indians as well as by members of the First Nations encountered by settlers from New England when they first arrived in the area around 1815. By the time a wave of German immigrants arrived around 1840, the North Ridge was the backbone of the major wagon road to the west.

Herdendorf, Ralph D. White of the Avon Historical Society, and Thomas Hoerrle of the Lorain County Historical Society have collaborated on a thorough proposal featuring color photographs of historic homes, barns, churches and schools, as well as century-old photos showing how much -- and how little -- the historic area has changed over the years.

The corridor even still includes a few working farms, plus three cemeteries (Mound Cemetery in Avon, Pioneer and Sheffield cemeteries in the Village) with graves of many historically noted settlers.

The proposal has been sent to ODOT in Columbus for review and approval. Once that has been accomplished, ODOT would turn the plan over to its regional office in Ashland to come up with a management and long-range development plan. One significant hurdle has already been overcome in that neither Avon nor Sheffield permits billboards, a definite Scenic Byway no-no.

"We've been preparing this 200-page proposal for about six months," Herdendorf said. "The report details 105 historic homes designed in at least 15 architectural styles dating back to about 1820, from SR 57 to the Cuyahoga County line. Sheffield Township is interested, but it's the city of Avon and village of Sheffield that are backing our effort, along with the Lorain County Historical Society and Lorain County MetroParks."

"I'd like to point out that if we turn Detroit Road into the North Ridge Scenic Byway, the state will publicize it, which should lead to an increase in tourism for our area," Avon Historical Society President Taylor 'Jack' Smith said.

"Over the centuries the North Ridge has served as a major natural high way for animals, prehistoric and historic Indian tribes and, eventually, settlers. It was dry compared to the lower land north and south of it; so it was always a trail that was heavily used for thousands of years. There's a lot of history there."

In addition to ODOT, copies of the proposal have been provided to the mayors of Avon and Sheffield, the MetroParks and the Ohio Preservation Society in Columbus. Herdendorf said it is possible that a scaled-down version of the proposal might eventually be produced for sale as a booklet, if Scenic Byway visitors and local residents create a demand for such an item ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 12-15-05, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

[Rezoning for the Romes SR83-Detroit project is delayed]

``AVON -- Developer Greg Romes tasted defeat Monday night when City Council voted down a rezoning [to commercial] he requested last June [2005] for 22 acres east of SR 83 and south of Detroit Road.

The Avon Planning Commission approved the request in June [2005], but council subjected the rezoning to close scrutiny through the summer and fall as residents spoke at hearings on the rezoning. Romes wanted a change from residential to commercial use so he could build a shopping center.

Romes, president of Lake Pointe Construction, said he was undecided how to proceed. "Right now I just plan to get through the holidays before we figure it out," he said. "We have a couple of options. I haven't had time to talk to my attorney, John Slagter .. One option is to try again with the next council." The present term of City Council ends Dec. 31 [2005], and six new members will join the seven-member body on Jan. 1 [2006] ...

One of the no votes was by at-large Councilwoman JoAnne Easterday ... "The Romes rezoning would be a betrayal of the people of Bentley Park, and a betrayal of Avon's master plan," said Easterday ...

Easterday said much land in Avon is already zoned commercial, with more on the way once a new Interstate 90 interchange is built between SR 83 and the county line. "If the next council rezones the Romes proposal, there could be an over abundance of commercial land in Avon," she said.

Easterday said council chambers were filled Monday night [12-12-05], with several residents standing in the back of the room. She estimated between 150 and 200 people attended the meeting, with several speaking out against the rezoning ...

Councilman Dennis McBride, Ward 2, cast the only vote in support of Romes' rezoning ... McBride acknowledged that many people felt traffic was a major problem in Avon ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 12-14-05, By Julie A. Short

[Rezoning request delayed]

``AVON -- The address reads city hall, but it was hard to tell exactly where you were between the large crowd, applause and standing ovations.

After months and months of meetings, hours and hours of discussions, the [Romes] City Center project is a dead issue. Avon city council members voted 4-1 on Dec. 12 not to grant Greg Romes' (Lake Pointe Construction) request to rezone 22 acres south of Detroit Road and east of SR 83 from residential to commercial.

Ward 2 Councilman Dennis McBride was the only member in favor of the request from the beginning. Councilmen Larry Kroeger and Tim Nickum were not in attendance Monday night due to medical reasons.

Before the votes were cast, several residents of the Bentley Park and Eagle Creek subdivisions made last-minute pleas to council members to vote down the request.

"I'm not anti-development, I'm a concerned citizen," Jon Pinney of Bentley Park said. "Traffic is a major concern."

Pinney has attended several council meetings where the rezoning issue as been addressed. During Monday's meeting, he was armed with the traffic study submitted by Romes' for the project. The study highlights several intersections in the area and rates many of them poorly. Pinney raised questions regarding the study, which was conducted during the summer months of 2004. He also questioned a study submitted by Albert Dispenza (city planner hired by Romes).

"I've reviewed Mr. Dispenza's report and to me, it does not render an opinion," Pinney said. "It's an abbreviated report. Further analysis should be done. Planning commission approved this (rezoning request) without the benefit of the traffic report."

Other residents expressed concerns with quality of life issues, decreasing property values, reviewing the city's Master Plan and why Mayor Jim Smith has not spoken publicly regarding the rezoning request ...

Willow Creek resident David Maxwell, who has been outspoken on another hot issue facing the city, the proposed new Interstate 90 interchange, requested the same attendance and enthusiasm from the crowd at the interchange meetings ...

[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.]

After more than an hour of residents' pleas, some of council made last minute comments of their own. Council President Larry Hoekstra read from a lengthy prepared statement and explained it was "necessary to get all this informaton on the record."

"There are several critical factors," Hoekstra said. "The traffic study was never given to the city's planning commission. I give little weight to the planning commission's recommendation ...

"I will not let Mr. Romes' threat of litigation influence my vote," Hoekstra continued. I will uphold the law ..."

When the vote was finally taken after more than an hour and half of discussion, the crowd gave council a standing ovation. Romes and his attorney, John Slagter left council chambers immediately ...

While several of Romes experts provided council members and those in attendance over the course of the last several months with testimony regarding the rezoning, the public never heard from Mark Majewski, a planner hired by the city to review the proposal.

Romes would not comment on whether or not he will pursue litigation.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 12-15-05, By MARY DAVIES, Staff Writer

``Rezoning lawsuit pondered

AVON - Thinking the contents of a master plan and a past legal victory over a gas station [BP property on the southwest corner of Detroit and SR83] will protect the city in court from a certain land rezoning is foolish, said John Slagter, attorney for developer Greg Romes ...

Slagter said on Tuesday Romes had not decided what action he'll take following City Council's refusal Monday to rezone [to commercial] about 23 acres at state Routes 83 and 254.

A chambers packed with residents ... gave Council a standing ovation after its 4-1 vote to reject the rezoning.

Ward 2 representative Dennis McBride supported the rezoning ... City law director John Gasior told council weeks ago that Romes would sue if denied ...''

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STATEMENT by Council President Larry Hoekstra II at the meeting of the Avon Council on 12-12-05

``This evening, I will be voting against the ordinance [to rezone about 22 acres at the southeast corner of Detroit and SR83 from residential to commercial] and want to outline why I intend to do so.

As we all know, Mr. Romes has requested a zoning change on the corner of Rt 83 and Detroit Rd. He has received a recommendation from Planning Commission, and now this Council is charged with making the final determination of whether to amend the City's current zoning classifications and allow the Mr. Romes to proceed with his project as planned.

The City's Planning and Zoning Code states that the City's Master Plan "shall serve as the official policy statement of the City as to its future growth and development." In evaluating whether to deviate from the Master Plan, this Council is required to consider "the public health, safety, convenience, prosperity and general welfare of the City and its citizens." In doing so, this Council must consider certain specific factors, such as:

In addition to evaluating these factors, this Council must consider other relevant City ordinances. For instance, Chapter 650.02 states that the following shall be deemed to constitute a public nuisance:

Erection, continuance, use or maintenance of a building, structure or place for the exercise of trade, employment or business, either upon public or private property, which is injurious to the health, comfort or property of individuals or of the public.

Simply stated, this Council cannot consider the proposed development in a vacuum; the potential impact of the development on the City as a whole must be carefully evaluated. This is precisely why the City Planning and Zoning Code specifically calls for public notice and public hearings.

Over the course of the last several months, I have carefully evaluated this development and concluded that several critical factors weigh heavily against allowing the proposed development to go forward. Please note these factors are listed in no particular order.

Traffic:

I will begin with traffic. Let me first point out that the traffic report was never given to the Planning Commission prior to their vote to recommend the proposed development. In fact, it is my estimation that the Planning Commission minutes do not reflect any meaningful evaluation or discussion of the potential traffic impact prior to their vote. From that standpoint, I give absolutely little weight to the Planning Commission's recommendation.

With that said, I have carefully reviewed the traffic report submitted by Mr. Romes. It is obvious to anyone that lives in Avon that the traffic levels at Route 83 and Route 254 are at a near maximum capacity, particularly during peak hours and holidays.

I firmly believe that an additional two hundred thousand square feet of retail in the immediate proximity to the one million square feet of existing retail will put us at a dangerous level at the State Route 83 and SR 254 intersection. Furthermore, chronic traffic congestion will likely reduce property values and stunt Avon's overall growth and prosperity.

As I noted, I have reviewed the traffic report that Mr. Romes submitted to Council and want to state for the record why I find the report unpersuasive, inconclusive, and at times incomplete:

Traffic Count Data:

Mr Pinney pointed out the traffic counts were done in the summer months of 2004 as noted on page 9 of the report. Since the report was submitted to council almost a year later, I view the underlying data to be unreliable, particularly given Avon's immense growth year after year. Also, the traffic counts were conducted during the summer months with lightest periods of travel and no holidays.

Growth Rate Factor:

I also question the 1.3 percent growth rate factor that the report attributes to what appears to be an informal email from ODOT. Since this is the key underlying variable, I am concerned about the source and its reliability. This issue has been raised in the past but Mr. Romes has not submitted any further information to address Council's concerns regarding the growth rate assumptions used in the report.

No Adjustments for Holiday or Peak Travel Days:

The report notes that no adjustments were made to account for higher traffic counts during holiday or special event periods. In fact, on page 19 of the report, Mr. Romes' expert states: "It is suggested that these periods be reviewed at such time a more defined scope of improvements has been prepared based on this review process." Just so the record is clear, to date, Mr. Romes has not submitted any further traffic information to this Council.

No Adjustment for Additional Nearby Development:

Again, the proposed development cannot be considered in a vacuum. Additional nearby growth must be factored in. The report does not take into account increased traffic as a result of potential nearby commercial developments that may occur as a result of his requested rezoning and intended project.

Levels of Service:

The Level of Service Summary on page 17 reflects that we already have serious traffic congestion problems. While the report concludes that the existing levels of service will not change due to the proposed development, I am confident that if the traffic counts were done during non-summer months and adjusted for peak holiday travel, the level of service would have been at F in several additional categories.

Mr. Romes, I do not believe that adding a second turn lane into Avon Commons is a sufficient solution to a significant problem that is and will plague this City for years to come. I remain steadfast that the City cannot sustain a C-3 development at this intersection and you have not provided this Council sufficient evidence to persuade me otherwise.

Economic Impact on Surrounding Properties:

Another key factor is the potential negative economic impact of a C3 zoning classification in close proximity to multiple residential developments.

In my opinion, a C3, or big box zoning will certainly have a negative impact on surrounding residential developments, particularly Bentley Park and Eagle Creek. Noise pollution, light pollution, sight pollution and countless other factors lead me to reach this conclusion.

To the extent the proposed development causes further traffic congestion, then all of Avon's property values can be negatively impacted. Council, and the public, have made Mr. Romes aware of these concerns. However, let me point out for the record that Mr. Romes has not provided this Council with any conclusive evidence that the proposed development will not have a negative economic impact on the numerous surrounding residential developments.

Mr. Romes did submit to Council an expert report by Albert J. Dispenza, a zoning and planning expert hired by Mr. Romes. However, in that report, Mr. Dispenza does not render an opinion regarding the economic impact of the proposed development on surrounding residential developments. In fact, Mr. Dispenza himself points out on Page 1 of the report, and I quote, "the abbreviated nature of this rezoning analysis precludes a detailed study of mutually related impacts of the general vicinity and subject tracts, design feature of subject tracts, or an analysis of historic, existing, or prospective land-use patterns of Avon, Ohio in general."

Similar to my traffic concern, Mr. Dispenza's report repeatedly discusses traffic and acknowledges that traffic congestion is a critical factor. Mr. Dispenza's conclusions regarding the traffic issue are tentative at best and clearly "abbreviated" as he openly admits. For instance, he concludes at page 3 of his report that the Route 83/254 interchange can handle additional traffic volume quote "for near term development."

However, on page 5 of his report, Mr. Dispenza goes on to recommend that Route 83 be widened in order to accommodate "added traffic." The report then refers to the internal traffic of the proposed development and finds that the proposal's "layout of internal traffic lanes is still on the drawing board."

Finally, and before reaching its conclusion, the report finds that "the primary and focal impact must be traffic access." (Pg. 12). Although the report repeatedly mentions the development's impact on traffic, it stops short of reaching firm conclusions on this issue and also notes that Mr. Dispenza was not provided the traffic report prior to issuing his report.

For these reasons, Mr. Romes has not provided me any evidence or information to convince me that the proposed development will not have a negative impact on surrounding properties and potentially the city as a whole.

Commercial Creep:

Since onset of this proposal, residents and this Council have expressed concern about the likely possibility of what we call "commercial creep" down Route 83. This is a serious concern because the zoning classifications for the West side of Route 83 and property owned by BP will be subject to attack if this Council votes in favor of the amendment and deviates from the Master Plan.

This Council recently learned that Mr. Romes acquired additional properties further south down Route 83 and further East on Detroit Rd. and has since submitted two additional rezoning request to Planning Commission. In other words, "commercial creep" has already begun.

Mr. Romes has suggested to this Council that he will put in a residential development with deed restrictions in order to stop further commercial development South of Route 83. However, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that those deed restrictions remain once a vote is cast on the rezoning request tonight.

Let me also point out that Council does not have any binding plans or drawings from Mr. Romes. In fact, no development plans, other than a 9 page rezoning proposal have been submitted. Mr. Romes will not even advise this Council which "big box" tenant he is currently in discussions with. At this point, I have to conclude that the risk of further commercial creep weighs in favor of voting no.

Lastly I must reiterate that since this plan has come before council Mr. Romes has either submitted a request or stated he would submit a request to rezone property further east on Detroit Rd. and property south on 83.

We have before us an incomplete request. Instead of making promises and making three separate zoning change requests and circumventing an amendment to the zoning plan it would be best to simply fail this ordinance and recommend these rezoning requests would be dealt together.

This council has no guarantee that Mr. Romes will continue with his request for R3 rezoning, let alone a guarantee that the property will be developed.

Summary:

In summary, the following factors have led me to my decision to vote against this request:

Lastly, let me state that I will not let Mr. Romes' threat of litigation influence my vote. While I am certainly mindful of the possibility of the litigation and the potential risks, I am confident that the 9th District Court of Appeals will uphold this Council's decision.

Before I conclude, I want to refer this Council to the BP v. Avon, 142 Ohio App. 3d 38 (9th District Court of Appeals 2002) case, in which case the Lorain Appellate Court upheld Avon City's Council decision to vote against BP's requested zoning amendment. In that case, the court stated:

A zoning ordinance will be struck down if a party challenging the ordinance proves, beyond fair debate, that the ordinance is arbitrary and unreasonable and without substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the community.

The City argued that the zoning code maintained the appearance of the City and minimized traffic congestion. The Court agreed.

Mr. Romes, I am disappointed that you attempted to use a threat of litigation to persuade this Council to vote in your favor. I think it was unprofessional and unnecessary. I truly hope that this matter does not end up in court, and I am confident that all interests can be carefully addressed over time. However, in the unfortunate event that this matter does go to court, I urge our local judges to respect and uphold the decision of this Council.''

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

[Romes files lawsuit for commercial zoning]

``AVON -- The rumors had been circulating for weeks involving the filing of a lawsuit by Lake Pointe Construction (Greg Romes) with regards to the City Center project voted down by Avon City Council last month [12-12-05].

Now it's official. A complaint was filed with the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas on Jan. 3, [2006]. The Press has obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which lists Lake Pointe Construction as the plaintiff and the city of Avon and Avon City Council as defendants.

"We'll have to take a look at the lawsuit and see what he (Romes) is claiming," Law Director John Gasior said. "It will be presented to council and there will be a call for an executive session."

As stated in the lawsuit, action is brought under Rule 57 of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and the Ohio Revised Code, petitioning the Court to declare unconstitutional and unlawful Avon's Zoning Code as it applies to the property ...

The lawsuit was filed in Cuyahoga County because the Lorain Court of Common Pleas was closed on Jan. 3. According to Romes' attorney, John Slagter, the venue will "probably" move to Lorain County ...

The timing of the lawsuit also bars it from falling under the city's moratorium on rezoning of all property south of I-90. Council voted 7-0 on Jan. 9 [2006 for] the six-month moratorium ...

One of the sticking points of the project was Romes' request for C-3 zoning, which would allow for construction of a bigger store [150,000 square feet] ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 1-11-05, by Chris Powell

``Council votes to delay all rezoning proposals

AVON -- Most developers with plans that call for a zoning change will have to wait at least six months before they make any headway after Council voted to place a six-month moratorium on zoning decisions [1-9-06].

But two proposed developments on a property zoned residential won't be impacted by the moratorium, Mayor James Smith said, and that has some residents worried. Steve Schafer of Schafer Development filed a lawsuit in June after Council refused to rezone residential property off Detroit Road south of Interstate 90 near Avon Commons where Schafer wants to build a complex of restaurants.

Smith said a second developer, Greg Romes of Lake Pointe Construction, also filed a lawsuit [1-3-06] recently after Council rejected a zoning change for 22 acres on the southeast corner of state Route 83 and Detroit Road where he wants to build a retail center.

Jon Pinney, a resident and a member of a group that wants Council to uphold the city's Master Plan that calls for residential zoning south of I-90 and commercial and light industrial zoning north of the highway, said the moratorium does nothing to address the already proposed developments.''

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