Avon Growth News, 1-31-07 to 3-14-07

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1-31-07 Elyria Mayor says Jacobs group plan to build a ''mega-mall'' in Avon could erode Midway Mall

2-6-07 Avon loses Chemtron

2-6-07 SR83 extension opens today

2-9-07 Chipping Away at Avon

2-10-07 Charter Challenge to Detroit Road Preservation

2-28-07 Eagle Dialogues

FEATURE ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 10-15-06, by Joseph L. Wagner and Patrick O'Donnell, Plain Dealer Reporters

``Northeast Ohio school districts have paid about $41 million for lawyers over the past three years, despite a state law that says they can have the work done for free.

The money spent each year is enough to buy 175,000 textbooks or pay the salaries and benefits of 275 entry-level teachers.

A mostly ignored state law that has been on the books for decades requires either the city law director or county prosecutor -- depending on the community -- to be the lawyer for most school boards, without compensation ...

Because unusual cases can cause a one-year spike in legal costs, which could distort a district's spending habits, The Plain Dealer studied three fiscal years ...''

To reach these Plain Dealer reporters: jwagner@plaind.com, paodonnell@plaind.com

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EDITORIAL from The Plain Dealer, 10-17-06

``Luxury lawyers

When school districts perennially cry poor to taxpayers, news that they spend millions of dollars on outside law firms sharply threatens their credibility ...

Districts have an obligation to ensure that public dollars are spent efficiently. Sunday's article shows that many in Northeast Ohio need to review carefully their use of outside counsel and report back to voters regarding what they will do to trim any unnecessary costs.

The voters can't force smart spending, but they'll certainly limit available money whenever they find schools wasting their dollars.''

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3-year school legal costs
Plain Dealer, 10-15-06

School District Enrollment Legal costs Per student
Amherst 4,127 190,740 $46
Avon 2,892 $557,153 $193
Avon Lake 3,401 $316,066 $93
North Ridgeville 3,514 $229,450 $65
Sheffield - SL 1,868 $111,484 $60

Avon has highest legal cost per student in Lorain County

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Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

``School lawyers

... the Board! Maybe THEY are lawsuit happy if they run up the highest per pupil legal costs in the entire county! How about the attempt at Eminent Domain takeover of the farm next to Heritage North? ... The BOARD incurred that expense. ... That's o.k., they'll ask us to support another levy. Let's add this up:

$1,000,000+ for the BUS PALACE

+$500,000+ unnecessary Legal Costs

= $1,500,000 blown! PRICELESS!!!

Yeah, ask me to vote "yes" on another levy! I have voted "yes" on every previous levy but I will be voting "NO!" until we have a total regime change with the schools ...

Written by: Avon Eagle on October 19, 2006 9:49 AM

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-2-06, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon legal fees higher than most districts

AVON -- Construction projects, ... and other factors have caused Avon Local Schools to spend nearly $500,000 on outside legal counsel in the past three school years, according to district Treasurer Kent Zeman.

The high legal fees are part of the school district's growth, according to Avon Local Schools Superintendent Jim Reitenbach ...

The district has spent $183.44 per student in the last three years based on the average student enrollment during the past three school years. Similarly-sized districts in the area, such as Avon Lake and Vermilion, have spent less than $100 per student on legal fees in the past three years, according to figures provided by the districts' treasurers.

From July 2003 through June 2006, Avon schools spent $422,203.17 on contract negotiations, including contracts with architects for projects and employee contracts. This category also includes legal defense, such as due process hearings involving special education students, according to Zeman.

A total of $30,171.50 was spent in the same time period for property valuation work, and $33,733.51 on language for ballots including levies and bond issues, Zeman said.

Zeman said the district spent about $41,000 litigating against Avon City Council about constructing a bus garage at the Heritage schools complex [out of a total legal expense during the past three years of $557,153]. City Council and the school district battled for almost nine months in 2005 ...

Based on an average student enrollment of 2,650 for the last three school years, the district spent $183.44 per student in outside counsel fees ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-31-07, by ALEX M. PARKER, Morning Journal Writer

``Elyria mayor says Midway Mall is dying

ELYRIA -- Clogged with holiday shoppers and with new restaurants popping up throughout its parking lot, Midway Mall looked about as bustling this past holiday as it did when it was created nearly 40 years ago.

But, according to Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, the county's central shopping zone has seen better days.

Grace said the mall was being squeezed by regional competitors such a the Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted and local shopping centers such as Avon Commons.

Proposals from the Jacobs group to build a ''mega-mall'' in Avon could further erode Midway Mall's support, said Grace ...

Grace said there was ... cause for worry. ''The mall businesses are experiencing less revenue than they have in years past ...

Midway Mall was bought by Centro Properties Group in May of 2006, as part of a $550 million deal with the Westfield Group.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-31-07, by Joe Medici

``Grace eyes revitalized mall

ELYRIA -- While the development of a new high school remains the No. 1 priority for the city and the Elyria 2015 plan, Mayor Bill Grace focused on another tough topic during his State of the City address: Midway Mall.

... during his address Tuesday [1-30-07] at Wesleyan Village, Grace told the crowd that he and the 2015 committees have been working with consultants from Kent State University to come up with a plan that could revamp the mall ...

Whereas the mall once drew customers from throughout the region, Grace said new competition is forcing Midway's tenants to look locally for their customers. That might mean the city and the owners of properties near the mall will have to look at swapping out some of the existing retail to make room for expanded residential and professional space to create a more centralized local group of potential customers.

The mall was purchased six months ago by Centro Watt, an Australian-based company, after a short stint under the ownership of the Westfield Group. The Westfield Group bought the mall from its longtime owner and builder, the Richard E. Jacobs Group, in 2002.

And while the 1.1-million-square-foot enclosed shopping center still boasts four anchors -- Dillard's Macy's, JCPenney and Sears -- it has seen many of its specialty merchants depart. Centro Watt's Web site says there are 37 empty storefronts totaling more than 175,000 square feet of unused space.

Centro Watt's officials have said it is too soon to say what it plans for the property, for which it paid $98.5 million ...''

Contact Joe Medici at jmedici@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE frolm The Morning Journal, 2-6-07, by the Morning Journal Staff

[Avon loses Chemtron]

``AVON LAKE -- Chemtron, an Avon-based environmental services company, plans to build a new facility on its Pin Oak Parkway property in Avon Lake, according to Mike Stanek, chairman of City Council's Finance Committee.

The company plans to construct a 56,000-square-foot facility on Pin Oak Parkway near its current building. The facility will bring in 15 jobs and relocate 80 jobs from the company's Avon building.

The company's abatement for the new building, 100 percent for 10 years, is currently before Avon Lake City Council and is expected to be on the agenda for a first reading on Monday [2-12-07]. If approved by the city, the abatement would also have to be approved by Avon Lake Board of Education.

Construction on the new building is set to begin in April [2007] and is scheduled for completion in June 2008, Stanek said. Company officials did not return calls for comment yesterday.''

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From www.LorainCounty.com

Re: Losing Chemtron/Danco

``Live by the sword! Die by the sword! As much as Avon tries to lure businesses here; other communities are doing the same. Check out the posts on the A.L. conversations forum. They are very happy to get Chemtron from Avon as well as Danco from Westlake. Communities have a disadvantage in that they can not offer tax abatement to existing companies in the community; only to companies relocating. So basically, Avon Lake was able to offer Chemtron something that we could never match.

I think it would be more interesting to find out WHY Danco chose Avon Lake over Avon. I remember our Mayor being quoted in the paper as to what a great addition Danco would be for Avon! It seemed VERY much to be a done deal! What happened at our city hall that Danco did a 180 all of a sudden?''

Written by: Avon Eagle on February 8, 2007

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-1-07, by The Morning Journal Staff

``Goodbye, traffic headache

AVON -- The extension of SR 83 at Chester Road, which should alleviate commuter traffic moving toward Interstate 90 from Avon Lake, is set to open Tuesday [2-6-07] morning, Mayor Jim Smith said yesterday.

The road was extended 1,100 feet to the north and 400 feet to the east, and improvements were made to the Park and Ride lot there, according to Jim Piazza, the Avon's planning coordinator. City officials have been planning the extension for years and bought the right of way from the Ohio Department of Transportation four years ago, Smith said.

City Council is expected to approve the improvements Monday night, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Tuesday [2-6-07]. The road will be open and the traffic signal turned on at the conclusion of the ceremony, Smith said.

The improvements were necessary because of increased westbound traffic from businesses such as Wal-Mart and the nearby industrial area, according to Piazza ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-6-07, by Stephen Szucs

``Avon's SR83 extension opens today

AVON -- Drivers in Avon and Avon Lake officially can move a little faster. The more than 1,000-foot-long State Route 83 extension got the green light to open at 10 a.m. today, and Mayor Jim Smith expected the transition to make a lot of travelers happy.

"The project is good for a lot of people," Smith said. "It'll allow residents from Avon Lake and (Avon's) industrial traffic to converge a little easier." The $2 million project, in the works since early 2000, bypasses the jig-sawed industrial traffic trap of Chester Road by extending Route 83 1,100 feet north, allowing drivers to link up with the rest of Route 83.

The extension will give drivers a way to steer clear of the traffic generated near Best Buy and Wal-Mart and the soon-to-be-built Lowe's and Petitti Garden Center.

Property for the extension was purchased through an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation, which required the city to maintain the county's 'Park and Ride' bus stop at the site. More than 25 parking spaces were added and a shrubbery buffer planted for residents living west of the extension ...''

Contact Stephen Szucs at sszucs@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-7-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer

``Extension of SR 83 opens to motorists

AVON -- City officials hope the separation of SR 83 and Chester Road by a new SR 83 road extension project will help alleviate traffic congestion in the area. The extension and new traffic light opened to traffic this morning [2-6-07] after a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Mayor Jim Smith said the opening of the extension had an immediate impact on the traffic around Avon City Hall and the Marathon gas station directly across the street. ''There will probably be some adjustments to be made, but right now it seems to be moving pretty good,'' Smith said.

Smith said some adjustments may need to be made on the timing of the traffic signals, and traffic will have to be monitored at rush hour to judge the effect of the extension.

The $2 million project extended SR 83 at Chester Road 1,100 feet to the north and 400 feet east. The project also included improvements to the Park and Ride lot at the intersection.

Traffic moved smoothly through the intersection during the latter half of rush hour last night, with many cars opting to use the new extension and avoid Chester Road ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-9-07, By Megan King, Morning Journal Writer

[Chipping Away at Avon]

``AVON -- Avon Planning Commission on Wednesday [2-7-07] approved a general development plan for [Heritage Square which shows] ... two entrances on Detroit and none on Middleton ...

The Commission also recommended to City Council [a cluster zoning ordinance which does not protect century home curb cuts] ...''

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January 31, 2007

To the Avon Council:

Another cluster zoning ordinance, Ordinance No. 12-07, is under consideration by the Avon Planning Commission. This ordinamce should not be adopted unless the words "amd shall retain exisitng curb cuts" are added to (10) A. III. as follows: ``III. Common open space shall not be platted in a manner which requires the removal or alteration of a historic structure. Historic structures may be preserved within the common open space area [amd shall retain exisitng curb cuts].''

A proposal to use cluster zoning in the vicinity of Saint Joseph's Cemetary to promote the construction of Napa Blvd. shows the need for these six words. Without them, Stone Eagle Farm could be deprived of its driveway on Detroit Road. Preserving Avon's attractive appearance helps maintain property values for all of us.

Sincerely yours, Taylor J. Smith

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-21-07, By Rebecca Turman

``Heritage Square receives site plan approval ...

Unfinished business regarding Heritage Square commercial development to be located at the northwest corner of Detroit Road and Middleton Drive was also addressed at the Feb. 7 [2007] special meeting of Planning Commission.

Jeff Keefe, of KS Associates, represented Brewer Development, of Texas, and The Village at Creekside (Schafer and Gamellia) at the special meeting to, again, request approval for the Heritage Square site plan.

At the Jan. 24 Planning Commission meeting, members refused to grant approval after they found out that the development did not have access on Detroit and Middleton roads as originally presented. The developers had, instead, plotted two entrances on Detroit Road on the site plans.

The Commission decided to hold over the request until it could see where First Interstate, who owns the property where the possible entrance on Middleton would be, stood on the issue. "One of the issues that came up was access to Middleton," Law Director John Gasior said. "I want to clarify that this developer does not have access at this time."

Gasior went on to say that if access to Middleton is deemed necessary in the future by city council, then eminent domain might be an option at that time. However, Keefe said even if access was gained to Middleton before construction began, the site plans would have to be redesigned because the elevation of the development was shifted when access to Middleton was denied.

Gamellia exhausted all options, Gasior said, to try and get access to Middleton from First Interstate. "It was not obtainable at a reasonable price," Gasior said. "There is nothing wrong with the access points they made on Detroit Road. So legally, this developer has done everything he possibly can."

The development would have to be buffered as well, Gasior commented to Commission members. "I think this will be a nice addition," he said. "It won't be an in-your-face development that people had worried about." Members of Planning Commission unanimously approved Heritage Square's site plans for the 12.67+ acre commercial development to be built in three phases containing 107,950-sq.-ft. of buildings.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-21-07, By Rebecca Turman

[Planning Commission recommends cluster ordinance which threatens century homes]

``At the Feb. 7 [2007] special meeting of Avon Planning Commission, members approved an amendment to the planning and zoning code and gave a commercial development's site plans the go-ahead. Planning Commission approved an ordinance to amend the planning and zoning code to include a new cluster zoning section. The Commission unanimously approved and recommended it for council review.

"We've been kicking this around for what, a year and a half now," Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said at the meeting. The purpose of the cluster ordinance is "to provide a platting alternative where necessary to prevent or reduce lot platting with private curb cuts on arterial or collector streets for new developments ...

[Some have been] concerned that the new cluster zoning would create an incentive to destroy historical landmarks, and a section of the ordinance addressed using historical landmarks as possible green space.

The section, 10A (III), reads "Common open space shall not be platted in a manner which requires the removal or alteration of a historic structure. Historic structures may be preserved within the common open space area."

Planning Commission members expressed their concerns that the Landmark Preservation Commission's current definition of a historic structure is too vague, and they didn't like the idea of making developers preserve a structure that may not necessarily be historic in nature.

[This definition is not vague. See ``Ordinance No. 138-06 to Amend Section 1222.02 of the Codified Ordinances to Create the Definition of Historic Landmark,'' passed on January 8, 2007]

"You're going to give green space to something that is not even a historical landmark," Avon Mayor Jim Smith said. "I'd strike three (of Section 10A) all together," Piazza said of the section. "I'd recommend that all of number three be deleted before it goes to council." "It probably makes more sense to just eliminate three (of section 10A)," Avon Law Director John Gasior echoed.

Avon's professional planner Mark Majewski said that the section of the ordinance was included to make sure that "historical structures aren't displaced by this type (cluster) of development."

Taylor Jack Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, wrote a letter to the Planning Commission and a Letter to the Editor to The Press concerning item 10A (III). He believed the section should not be adopted unless it read, "Common open space shall not be platted in a manner which requires the removal or alteration of a historic structure. Historic structures may be preserved within the common open space area [and shall retain existing curb cuts].'"

His reasoning for the additional wording was because, "A proposal to use cluster zoning in the vicinity of Saint Joseph's Cemetery to promote the construction of Napa Boulevard shows the need for these six words. Without them, Stone Eagle Farm could be deprived of its driveway on Detroit Road. Preserving Avon's attractive appearance helps maintain property values for all of us."

Regardless of Smith's request, the Commission agreed to delete the section about historic structures altogether and recommended the ordinance for council approval.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-7-07 By Rebecca Turman

``Old Schoolhouse may go

AVON -- Over the past several weeks, rumors have been flying about Greg Romes, owner of Lake Pointe Construction, possibly planning to demolish the Old Schoolhouse located next to the Mound Cemetery on Detroit Road [the Avon Center School].

The [Avon Center School] was originally built in 1910 and served as an Avon School until Avon Village was built in 1924. At that time, the schoolhouse was turned into a residence ...

Romes said that preserving the house was always contingent on zoning for the back area of the City Centre property, which is currently still in litigation ... According to Avon Law Director John Gasior, Romes filed the demolition request in the middle of February [2007] ...

Larson said he had room for the schoolhouse at Olde Avon Village, Romes said, adding that he's worked with Larson before. "We donated the [Clifton] barn to him for Henry's," he said. "Ron and I worked together to make sure it was preserved." ... "We'd donate the house to the Avon Historical Society, who would then donate it to Larson."...

When asked if the structure could be moved easily from its current location to Olde Avon Village, Larson said, "Would it be an easy move? Nothing is easy. It's costly. No banks will finance a move because it's too risky. There are no guarantees.

"We've done a few houses now," Larson said. "The profitability on these things is not all that great. But, eventually, people will appreciate (the preservation) in the future."

Though it is early in the game, when asked if Larson had any plans for the schoolhouse, he said, "I have some ideas. I feel very comfortable that the community could benefit from it. If we can achieve that, that's at least a start."

In the meantime, Larson is still working on renovating Stone Eagle Farm to turn it into a bed and breakfast. "We are working very slowly," Larson said.

The next Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 14 [April 11, 2007] at 7:30 pm, according to Chairwoman Carol Hartwig.''

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LETTER to the Editor of The Press, 3-12-07, by Clark Perrin

``I read, with interest, the front-page article; "Old Schoolhouse may go" in the March 7th Press. Like many residents, I have been patiently waiting for status information regarding the ongoing mediation addressing Greg Romes and the City Centre development.

Quoting Mr. Romes from the Press article, "It seems like last week (at mediation) we were at an impasse. As far as the property that is currently still in litigation, Council hasn't budged at all."

This is not exactly correct! When the litigation began the property in question was zoned R2 residential as it was when Lake Pointe Construction purchased the property several months earlier. Mid litigation the City reviewed the property and rezoned the northern parcels to a C2 French Creek District classification. In fact, the Council rezoned significantly more property to the C2 classification than Mark Majewski of North Star Planning and Design, a professional planner retained by the City, indicated was necessary to achieve a constitutionally correct position. The Council provided the additional area in the hopes that Lake Pointe would propose a more appealing design. To the point, the City, through the Council, has budged and budged significantly since the litigation began!

Last November [2006] the Avon electorate voted, 68% in favor of a Charter Amendment intended to control commercial development south of I90 and Detroit Road. In short, the Council, by not yielding further, is implementing the will of the people. It is now time for Lake Pointe to yield to the will of the electorate and abandon commercialization of the southern parcels.

The Administration and the Council are to be commended for the position they have assumed.

As for the Schoolhouse, it should not be implied that the Council is responsible for its destruction, because they are not yielding further to Lake Pointe's zoning demands. The residents of Avon have supported Lake Pointe by purchasing a significant number of residences constructed by that organization. At what point does the developer give a little back to the community that has taken care of him?''

Respectfully, R. Clark Perrin, Avon

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-28-07, By Rebecca Turman

Landmarks Preservation members to be compensated

At the Feb 26 [2007] regular meeting of council, Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) finally got paid. Well, at least the approval from council to get paid ...

LPC was established by a charter amendment that was passed in 2003 ...

Commission Compensation [Annual Compensations]

  • Civil Service

    Members: $1,000

    Chairperson: $1,500

  • Landmarks Preservation

    Members: $650

    Chairperson: $975

  • Parks and Recreation

    Members: $650

    Chairperson: $975

  • Planning Commission

    Members: $3,745

    Chairperson: $5,618

  • Zoning Board of Appeals

    Members: $1,500

    Chairperson: $2,500

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-7-07, By Rebecca Turman

    [Charter Challenge to Detroit Road Preservation]

    ``AVON -- The newly selected Avon Charter Review Commission met for the first time on Feb. 1 [2007] to discuss how the commission would operate ...

    The commission consists of 11 Avon residents, with two of those members serving as alternates.

    Before the commission began discussing possible issues that may need to be addressed during their meetings, members voted for a chair and vice chair. Julie Short, a former Avon staff reporter for The Press, was elected chair and Russell McLaughlin, a former Avon Law Director [currently employed at Baumgartner O'Toole], was named the vice chair.

    The current Avon Law Director, [John] Gasior, will guide commission members during their review of the Avon Charter. "Last commission ran all the way through the 150 days," Gasior said, adding that the commission could wrap up things sooner than the 150 days. "Until the debate is completed on all topics, it's sometimes better to wait until the end."

    McLaughlin asked Gasior for his opinion on what issues commission might want to look at within the charter. Gasior then suggested some topics to the commission that might be worth addressing during their meetings.

    "There seems to be a contradiction in Article 4 section 15, which deals with public notices," Gasior said. "There is a contradiction between the charter and the codified ordinances."

    Gasior also suggested looking at the mayor's appointments, because according to the charter, not all appointments, civil service in particular, need to be concurred.

    "Other issues might be Landmarks Preservation Commission -- there may be things you want to add or clarify," Gasior said, adding that members may also want to look at the Detroit Road amendment for keeping only three lanes.

    On November 4, 2003, the citizens of Avon voted for the Detroit Road Preservation Charter Amendment:

    "Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road ... to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes ... except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector public streets."

    The appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere. Preserving Detroit Road is an important quality of life goal because Detroit Road is the setting for many of our churches, schools, and century homes.

    A Master Thoroughfare Plan, paid for by the Jacobs Group, was presented by a URS traffic engineer to the Planning Commission on June 12, 2002. URS recommended that Avon put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road to carry traffic to an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

    With 5 lanes permitted on Detroit Road, Avon could be required by the courts to rezone Detroit Road in a manner that is "constitutionally permissible." It could be argued that five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road make single family residential use impossible and that the entire length of Detroit Road should be zoned commercial or for apartments, now, even before another square foot of pavement is added.

    Removing Detroit Road Preservation from Avon's Charter would nullify the charter amendment adopted on November 7, 2006, which requires an affirmative public vote to rezone residential property south of Detroit Rd. for commercial purposes. Using "constitutionally permissible," commercial and multifamily would creep south from Detroit Road.

    More lanes on Detroit will make it a traffic generator, not a way to move cars around Avon. Apartments on Detroit Rd. could add 15,000 people to Avon's build-out population. Avon has an area of 20.9 square miles. Parma has an area of 20.8 square miles and had a population of 87,000 in 2003. Five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road would be consumed by the traffic generated on Detroit Road.

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    LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Chronicle-Telegram, 10-31-03, By Carla Wible

    ``In the near future, residents of Avon may be asked to pay for the expansion of Detroit Road. This costly procedure would be an attempt to accomodate the vehicles of our growing populace. Expanding Detroit Rd. to five lanes of pavement would require that sidewalks, sanitary sewer lines, gas lines, and water lines be torn up. In addition, the telephone poles would have to be moved.

    There has to be a better way. I have read about vehicle access streets with no individual private driveways. They would run in back of the developments. No utilities would be required since only cars would be using such a street.

    If lanes of pavement are added to existing roads, the residents must pay for them and the developers would pay nothing. If these lanes of pavement are put down on new streets (vehicle access streets) the Ohio Supreme Court decision in the case of Beaver Creek allows Avon to require developers to pay their fair share.

    If you vote YES on Nov. 4 [2003] for the charter amendment preserving Detroit Rd., you will be protecting all of Avon's original roads. This will let City Hall know they have to save our residents' money. Protecting Detroit Rd. in our charter guarantees that Avon officials will not widen the pavement on Detroit Rd. to five lanes without a vote of the people.''

    Carla Wible, Avon

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    LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 10-12-06, by R. Clark Perrin

    ``On November 7, 2006 the voters of Avon will have the opportunity to pass or reject issue 18, a proposed amendment to the Avon Charter. The amendment states, "an affirmative vote of the majority of the electors voting thereon before any ordinance passed by City Council authorizing the rezoning of any residential property south of Interstate 90 to a classification other than residential property be deemed effective." ...

    In short, this amendment requires an affirmative public vote to rezone residential property south of I-90 for commercial purposes ...

    Is this amendment a guarantee? No! Commercial developers have the right to test all zoning ordinances through litigation. This amendment, however; may be as good as it gets ...''

    R. Clark Perrin, Avon

    More on Detroit Road Preservation

    "My biggest issue right now was how this body was appointed," Gasior said, suggesting that the committee review the Charter Review Commission selection process.

    For the 2003 commission, after council members solicited nominations, commission members were then selected by pulling names out of a hat. However, voters passed a charter amendment in 2004 outlining the provisions for the commission. The charter amendment stated that no more than five years from the year in which the charter was last reviewed by the commission, city council shall appoint nine members and two alternates all of whom must be electors of the city of Avon and hold no elective office within the city.

    The selection process reads as follows: "A permanent Charter Review Commission Selection Committee is hereby established to review all applicants to the commission and to recommend to council those applicants for appointment. The selection commission shall consist of the city's law director, planning commission chairman, board of zoning and building appeals chairman, civil service commission chairman and an appointee of the mayor who shall not be an elected official. The mayor may also act as an ad hoc member of the selection committee."

    All applicants for positions in the commission must submit their applications on or before Nov. 1. The selection committee shall make their recommendations to council on or before Jan. 7 of the following year. The selection committee must ensure that all wards within the city are represented. No more than one member from the same immediate family (i.e., spouse, children, siblings) or household.

    Also, according to the Charter, "their recommendations to council must be submitted by council to the electors not later than the next succeeding November election."

    The current Charter Review Commission will meet every first and third Thursday of the month, unless otherwise noted, at 7:30 pm at City Hall.

    2007 Charter Review Commission

    John Weigman Ward 1

    Tom Mitchell Ward 1

    Frank Root Ward 1

    Harry Geaslen Ward 2

    Michael Delczeg Ward 2

    Julie Short Ward 3 (Chair)

    Marie Berges Ward 3

    R. Clark Perrin Ward 3 (Alternate B)

    Pete Kratt Ward 4

    Bill Bommer Ward 4 (Alternate A)

    Russ McLaughlin Ward 4 (Vice Chair)''

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    Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

    Eagle Dialogues

    Title: Re: bus garage

    Nothing may happen in the near future across the street. Current developer may flip the property. Word on the street is that they no longer have the financial wherewithall to develop the property. So, no idea when the sewer tie-in will come for the BUS PALACE ...

    Folks, this was never about a BUS PALACE. This was all about cracking the zoning code. XXX made his millions. Follow the money.

    Written by: Avon Eagle on February 28, 2007 5:42 PM

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    Title: Re: bus garage

    Yes, from the beginning this was about using the bus garage to crack the zoning code; but it was not the garage itself. THE WEAPON WAS THE BUSSES! -- semi-trailer size vehicles in a residential area? -- impossible.

    But the naked arrogance of not including the cost of the sewer line in the bus garage estimate is breath-taking: They counted their chickens and the chickens all hatched. Incidentally, GGG bought the property west of the bus garage and has applied for a permit to demolish the Oebker house.

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 1, 2007 6:57 AM

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    Title: Re: bus garage-Avon BOE questions

    The level of indifference constantly surprises me. I think The Press is mailed to about 2000 addresses -- there are about 8000 addresses in Avon. Riding through the developments, the absence of newspapers is striking.

    How do we get the attention of the people? -- let them see the Pickering/ Piazza House, the Oebker House, and the Avon Center School turned into piles of rubble? Removing Detroit Rd. protection from the Charter will unleash a flood of zoning cases; but by then it will be too late.

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 4, 2007 6:50 AM

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    Title: facts/Oldtimer

    Oldtimer states a paper is delivered to 2,000 of 8,000 homes in Avon. There are in fact, according to the US census only 3,650 "living units."

    That is what is wrong with this site. People like Oldtimer state information like there are 8,000 homes and he is so far off it is silly. "Facts" are thrown around this board to support arguments like this contiuing discussion on the bus garage ...

    The people spoke at the last several elections ... It was a big SHUT UP to the people in elected seats making fools of themselves over the garage ...

    Written by: CCC on March 4, 2007 11:00 AM

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    Title: Re: facts/Oldtimer

    Do not misunderstand my comment CCC. Although I expect no change in November [2007] I do not believe all residents would support the current administration, city council and BOE if armed with truely impartial facts. I believe residents opinions would be very split.

    None the less, the people certainly did speak in the last election and despite the mess that may, in some minds, have been created; the elected officials did exactly what the voters clearly wanted them to do ...

    Honestly, I expect no change in November but assuming formidable candidates challenge for elected office (and this is a big assumption) there will be a sweeping change in the 09 city elections when Avon residents realize they have watched their elected officials turn Avon into North Olmsted ...

    Written by: justmyopinion on March 4, 2007 4:35 PM

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    Title: Re: facts/Oldtimer

    I didn't say `homes' or `living units'. I said `addresses'. The last census was in 2000. According to an article in the Plain Dealer on 3-4-07, 2,485 `homes' were built from "2000 to 2006" in Avon. So if we take CCC's 3650 `living units' in 2000 plus 2485 `homes' from 2000 to 2006, we get a total of 6,135 homes-living-units.

    I don't know if the number is in for the homes built in 2006, but it is probably close to 400. The school board should attempt to be informed about current Avon population figures.

    CCC should have checked herself with a simple calculation: 3650 `living units' x 3 people per living unit (which is higher than actual) = 10,950 people. The Plain Dealer Article gives Avon's population at 15,741; and I have heard 18,000 recently at City Hall.

    Running the numbers a little more we see that 6135 x 2 cars/`home' =~ 12,000 cars; 400 x 2 = 800 additional Avon cars per year. Remember, North Ridgeville often uses Avon roads to get to I-90; so according to the PD, 4000 "new homes in the next 10 years" x 2 cars/home = 8000 more cars. According to the PD, NR has "18 subdivisions under construction." Planning, anyone? How do these cars get to I-90?

    [Building an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, which will attract more Ridgeville cars into Avon, seems almost insane.]

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 5, 2007 7:05 AM

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    Title: Re: let's talk facts/CCC! and the Avon BOE

    WOW CCC!!! ... All of a sudden you are interested in facts? ...

    OK, let's talk FACTS since that is what you are interested in!!!

    1) Let's talk about the FACT that a certain Avon BOE member was fined by the State ethics commission for campaign finance (ahem) irregularities!

    2) Let's talk about the FACT that a certain BOE member thinks it's OK to accept anonymous campaign donations.

    3) Let's talk about the FACT that other BOE members PUBLICALLY admitted that they made anonymous contributions to the aforementioned BOE member in total VIOLATION of campaign finance law.

    4) Let's talk about the FACT that the Avon BOE has BLOWN over $500,000 in our tax money on unnecessary outsourced legal costs!

    5) Let's talk about the FACT that the Avon BOE was "banking" on commercial development across from Heritage North to pick up the tab for the sewer work for AAA's BUS PALACE!

    6) Let's talk about the FACT that the Avon BOE has now spent $1,300,000 of our tax dollars, on a BUS PALACE that can NOT be used until WE (taxpayers) pay for the sewer work; or WE (taxpayers) WAIT until a commercial development comes in across the street.

    7) FACT: SOME good people were tossed in the last city council elections [11-05] because they were VICTIMS of a well orchestrated SMEAR campaign by certain city officials and BOE members under the guise of "litigation" between the city and the BOE. And you were complicit with your posts back then! ...

    Written by: Avon Eagle on March 6, 2007 7:43 PM

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    Title: [I-90 -- Nagel Road interchange]

    Does "Avon" want an I-90 interchange at Nagel? Certainly the property owners at that location do; but Tax Increment Financing consumes ALL tax revenue in that area to pay for the interchange, with no money available to pay for 4 lanes on Nagel. With at least 8000 more cars in Ridgeville in the near future, it seems almost insane to give Ridgeville cars more incentive to drive through Avon to I-90, especially on the existing 2 lanes on Nagel. It will be worse than SR 83.

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 8, 2007 8:32 AM

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    LETTERS to The Editor of The Plain Dealer, 3-11-07

    The sprawl that Kevin O'Brien argues for [3-7-07] isn't a constitutional right of rugged individualists: It is possible only with great government subsidies of road construction, oil, utilities infrastructure and artificially low and long mortgage terms [and Tax Increment Financing].

    America eviscerated its industrial base through abandoning our traditional protectionism and anti-monopoly ethics: It tries to make up the slack by subsidizing sprawl. America eviscerated its agricultural base with an oil-intensive monoculture: It tries to make up the slack with more "sprawl-nomics."

    The resulting oil addiction of the Sprawl Economy carries requisite oil wars. These oil wars aren't paid for by the mythological private sector or rugged individualist patriots. The Iraq fiasco will cost us all about $2.1 trillion when all the bills are due.

    America is a used dartboard of expanding urban decay, rotting urban cores and derelict towns. The cost of this decay is greater than the likely appreciation of suburban housing values.

    Besides, the shelf life of a suburb is getting shorter all the time: It takes only a generation or two now until half the kids are acting like the kids their parents paid a premium to move away from. That's OK, there will be plenty of jobs fighting the next oil wars.

    Ryan Costa, Cleveland

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    Kevin O'Brien offers a false choice between personal liberty and wise public policy, suggesting that the pursuit of a prudent policy to limit sprawl will send Greater Clevelanders fleeing to other states ("A dangerous intersection," Wednesday [3-7-07]) ...

    Regionalism should be part of a package of regional and statewide initiatives designed to make it easier to grow developments within Ohio's existing cities and to end the cycle of outward expansion and the accompanying economic disinvestment. After all, we've tried sprawl and we're already facing its grim consequences. That doesn't mean we have to continue to repeat that mistake in perpetuity.

    by Josh Wellman, Akron

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-7-07 By Rebecca Turman

    ``Spring break eyed as opening for contentious bus garage

    The Heritage bus garage on Detroit Road has been a highly volatile issue in Avon for years. After all of the debating, the garage was a go and has since been completed, but remains unopened.

    "What ... is [needed is] an occupancy permit," Avon Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said.

    According to Reitenbach, the sewer line is on the north side of Detroit Road and developer (Jim) "Gamellia graciously donated the tie-in to the bus garage."

    "We are very appreciative of the donation," Reitenbach said, adding that the sanitary sewer was required as part of the Heritage Square development, which is owned by Village at Creekside (Gamellia Construction and Schafer Development). [So without Heritage Square shopping center, no sewer line for the bus garage?] ...

    Though crews have begun to clear the Piazza Greenhouse, where Heritage Square will be located, Reitenbach said he hasn't seen construction begin for the sewer. Reitenbach said Gamellia told him that they'd probably be able to open up the bus garage sometime during spring break (April 5-15 [2007]) ...

    The location of the bus garage was a highly contentious issue, with some residents concerned over potential bus fumes and the effect on children.''

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