Avon Growth News, 2-4-04 to 4-19-04

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2-4-04: The Landmarks Preservation Commission is appointed.

3-9-04: Arlington Estates approved

3-11-04: Tea Room Artists

3-11-04: Impact fees to help school district

3-18-04: D.M. Foods to add 40 jobs

4-2-04: Moratorium approved

4-14-04: Birds of a Feather

Detroit Road is safe for now

Avon, November 4, 2003, General Election Unofficial Results

#18: Avon City (Ord. No. 119-03 - Charter - Art. XIII, Sec. 9, Detroit Road Preservation)

Yes 2,074

No 1,604

PRESENTATION at the Avon Candidates Night, 10-22-03, By Taylor J. Smith

The 2003 Avon Charter Amendments ...

A Master Thoroughfare Plan was presented by a URS traffic engineer to the Planning Commission on June 12, 2002. URS recommended that Avon put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road and five lanes of pavement on Colorado Road to carry cars to a proposed I-90 interchange near Nagel Road. The Avon Planning Commission did not reject this recommendation.

Issue 18, Detroit Road Preservation ...

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

... If there seem to be more cars on the roads now with 15,000 residents, what will things be like when there are 45,000 to 65,000 people living in Avon?

More lanes of pavement will have to be put down in Avon to move the increasing population around our town. Questions to be answered are: Where will these new lanes of pavement be laid? How much will they cost? and Who will pay for them?

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.

Vehicle access streets are an alternative to adding lanes to Detroit Rd. and to Avon's other original country roads. A vehicle access street has no private driveways and is designed to move cars around Avon. No sidewalks, water lines, gas lines, or sanitary sewer lines would be required. Electricity could be provided from intersecting public streets coming out of the developments.

Lanes of pavement on a vehicle access street would be much less expensive than lanes of pavement added to Avon's original country roads. More lanes of pavement are necessary to move cars around Avon. Spreading out these new lanes of pavement will avoid gridlock in Avon.

Who pays for new lanes of pavement? If they are added to existing roads, the residents must pay for them; and 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 Beaver Creek case allows Avon to require developers to pay their fair share ...''

[Detroit Road is safe for now. But those who want to make the taxpayers pay by forcing additional lanes on existing roads will be back.]

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-4-04, By Julie A. Short

``Preservation Commission members selected, yet to meet

[-------------------------

#19: Avon City (Ord. No. 120-03 - Charter - Art. XIV, Creating a Landmarks Preservation Commission)

      Yes   2,193           No   874

-------------------------]

AVON -- Voters approved a charter amendment for the creation of a Landmarks Preservation Commission in November [2003]. Since then, members have been appointed, but a formal meeting has yet to take place.

The commission consists of four members representing various organizations throughout the city, as well as a mayor's appointee. Members include: Robert Gates Jr. (Avon Historical Society), Carol Hartwig (French Creek Development Association), Cheryl Huene (Avon Garden Club) and Tom Wearsch (mayor's appointee).

According to the city's charter, the Landmarks Preservation Commission shall cause to be conducted a survey to establish a register of Avon's landmarks to raise community awareness of Avon's history and historic resources.

The owner of a property in Avon, which is designated a landmark, may appeal to the Landmarks 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.

Huene, an 11-year Avon resident is excited to get started working on preserving Avon.

"If we don't do something soon, there will be no history left," Huene said. "I gladly accepted working on this. I am in awe of the beautiful historic homes in Avon. If there is anything we can do to help people that own historic property we should try to give them options if they choose to sell."

Gates is a sixth-generation Avon resident and can trace his family history in the area back 160 years.

"We must save the old homes," he said. "A lot of these homes I remember as a kid. My grandfather (Cyril Gates) pointed them out to me. He loved telling stories about hitching up the horse and buggy and going into town."

Cyril owned the French Creek Tavern.

"We've got about a dozen old homes that we know of registered at the Historical Society," Gates said. "I know there are more out there. We will also be looking to preserve old barns as well."

Gates hopes down the road the commission will be able to find sources of low interest loans for renovations to preserve homes.

"There are a number of federal grants out there dealing with historic preservation," he said. "Hopefully as a commission, we can gain information and access to them."

Commission members will work hard to maintain the Henry Harrison Williams House (circa. 1836) on Detroit Road.

"There have been a lot of rumors circulating that the home may be sold and torn down to put up a fast food restaurant," Gates said. "Hopefully we can prevent this from happening by offering other alternatives."

Gates is not opposed to converting historic homes into retail establishments or restaurants, if it means saving them from demolition.

"The Lewis home is a perfect example," he said. "The home was moved across town and converted into a beautiful, quaint gift shop for everyone to continue to enjoy. The Alten home, which now houses Nemo Grille is a great addition to the city."

Hartwig, who also serves as president of the French Creek Development Association, is anxious to get started working with the commission.

"I'm in good company here on the commission," she said. "It's very important to save the Williams' home."

Wearsch, a life-long Avon resident, believes personally that anyone who owns a historic building will not destroy it.

"I'm a true believer in preservation," he said. "I hope to be a voice of reason on the board."''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-9-04, By KRISTA SCHULTZ, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon council: Housing OK'd as president takes heat for debate limits

AVON -- Approval of a new cluster development on a 4-3 vote at last night's City Council meeting was accompanied by anger over council President Larry Hoekstra's limits on discussion.

Hoekstra, a newly-elected council member and council president, prevented Mark Julius, Ward 1, and Gerald Gentz, Ward 4, from commenting a second time on the ordinance to approve Arlington Estates, a 236-single family and cluster development proposal.

''It saddens me that you yourself campaigned for open government, but your conduct tonight was anything but,'' Julius said.

''When voters elect a president, it was not their intent to elect a president to silence other members,'' Gentz said.

Hoekstra defended his actions, saying he has acted consistently in his discussion policy.

''I am sorry if my actions offended anyone, but I have facilitated conversations very well,'' Hoekstra said. ''I don't believe I have restricted discussion. Council members had six opportunities to address this at council meetings and work sessions. We are here tonight to vote.'' ...

Hoekstra, along with JoAnne Easterday, councilwoman at large, Dennis McBride, Ward 2, and Tim Nickum, Ward 3, voted in favor of the development, while Julius, Gentz and Larry Kroeger, councilman at large, voted against it.

Arlington Estates is planned to be located on a 143-acre plot of land at Case and Detroit roads. It will extend north on Case Road and exit at Moon Road.

One of the main reasons the development was supported by some council members was because builder Oster Homes offered to donate a 14.5-acre plot of park land to the city in return for project approval.

The donated open space, which connects to Veterans Memorial Park, would cost the city about $600,000 to purchase, said Mayor Jim Smith ...

Gentz and Julius expressed concern about cluster developments becoming the norm for residential housing in Avon. The majority of the development's lots will be 80 and 85 feet by 150 feet, with the remainder being traditional single-family lots, which are 100 by 150 feet, Smith said ...

But Easterday stood as a staunch supporter of the development.

''There is a sense of community built when people live next to each other on smaller lots,'' Easterday said. ''The city also has less roads to plow and salt and sewers to maintain because these homes are in such a concentrated area.'' ...

The city has been wrestling with its current cluster development ordinance, which was repealed on Nov. 10 [2003]. A moratorium was placed on all new cluster development proposals until a new ordinance has been agreed upon, Smith said ...

''I am not totally against cluster developments, but the idea of a city of them does not thrill me. If there is something that is positive for the city included, I am all for it, but I don't think a city of cluster developments is where we want to head,'' Smith said.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 3-11-04, By NORM WEBER, Staff Writer

``Multi-media showplace in Tree House is 'little bit of everything'

Avon Lake glass artist Nancy Kearns has had quite a degree of success in her craft, but recently happened upon a creative idea in extending opportunities to other artists to display their particular handiwork at her multi-media art gallery in a tea room.

"It's a niche that I thought I would give a try," Kearns said. "I was talking to the owner and decided to rent some space to display this artwork."

Kearns calls her team the Tea Room Artists, located at the Tree House Gallery and Tea Room on Detroit Road in Avon ...

Among those represented are an eclectic bunch of glass, painting and fiber artists, plus a graphic artist who dabbles in photography.

Kearns chose to rent the space because it's a venue that offers a variety of things. The place is a bar/restaurant/dessert/tea room. There even is a place that sells antiques adjacent to the art gallery.

Kearns is working with four other artists, but plans to add others in the future ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 3-11-04, By BRIAN HORN Staff Writer

``Plan may build fund

AVON -- City Council and the school board will be working on legislation intended to improve the school district's finances.

The plan would encourage anyone developing new homes or buildings in Avon to donate money to the building department, which, in turn, would then write a check to the school district on a quarterly basis.

School board President Debra Polovich said this plan will not only help the school district, but she also lets the public know the school board is aware residents also have a budget.

"The more people in the city know that we are trying to do something to help curb the amount of money we have to go to the taxpayers for all the time -- they can see we actually have hearts and we are thinking about their pocketbooks, too." ...

So Polovich researched the subject and contacted individuals in the city of Little Miami, near Cincinnati, which receives money from what The Cincinnati Enquirer called impact fees to help their school district ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-18-04, By KRISTA SCHULTZ , Morning Journal Writer

[D.M. Foods to add 40 jobs]

AVON -- Site plans for several businesses, including a new food manufacturer, a day-care facility and a compost station, along with a senior citizens center, were approved last night by the Avon Planning Commission.

D.M. Foods, which manufactures soups, sauces and gravies, had construction plans approved and will now work to gain engineering approval on a proposed 17,362-square-foot facility on Avon Commerce Parkway.

The company plans to break ground in early summer on the $5.4 million facility, which is planned to create 40 jobs in its first three years, said Rodney Williams, architect for the project.

The company will receive a 55 percent tax credit from the state for a seven-year term to begin operations, and was also granted a 10-year tax abatement from the city of Avon. The abatement is on a sliding scale, but will total an abatement of about 62.5 percent each year, said Mayor Jim Smith.

For the first three years, a 75 percent abatement is in place, then in the fourth through seventh years the abatement percentage will decrease by 5 percent each year, Smith said. In the last two years, the abatement will decrease to 50 percent.

Renovation plans also were approved for the Avon Fire Station [old #1] on Detroit Road to include a multipurpose room and full-size kitchen to accommodate a senior citizens center. The facility will host arts and crafts and will have space to work with about 150 senior citizens, said Bill Belloma, project representative for the city of Avon.

Stella Moga, owner of Le Chaperon Rouge, had the first presentation for a new site on Traveler's Way approved. The 9,250-square-foot facility will include a day-care center, outdoor recess area and corporate offices. Le Chaperone Rouge is a child-care and development center for children ages 6 weeks through 12 years, and it provides activities such as gymnastics, summer camp and educational programs, Moga said.

Kurtz Bros. Inc. presented plans to move its current facility on Detroit Road to a location at 1180 Miller Road. The site will collect grass clippings, twigs, leaves and small logs from Avon residents and will be reselling compost, said Jeff Andrey, store operations manager.

The plans include building a 7,000-square-foot indoor office facility, in addition to the outdoors compost areas. Kurtz is moving from its original location, which is behind the recently approved Arlington Place, a new cluster and traditional home development that will begin construction later in the year ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-31-04, By Julie A. Short

``Landmarks Preservation Commission meets, sets budget

AVON -- It's been two months since members were appointed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Voters approved a charter amendment for the creation of a Landmarks Preservation Commission back in November. The members had yet to meet, until now.

The commission consists of four members representing various organizations in the city, as well as a mayor's appointee. Members include: Robert Gates Jr. (Avon Historical Society), Carol Hartwig (French Creek Development Association), Cheryl Huene (Avon Garden Club) and Tom Wearsch (mayor's appointee). Hartwig was elected chairperson for the commission.

According to the city's charter, the Landmarks Preservation Commission responsibilities include conducting a survey to establish a register of Avon's landmarks to raise community awareness of Avon's history and historic resources ...

"We had our first meeting recently," Wearsch said during council's March 8 meeting. "We've identified three issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible. One is funding for the commission. The second is we are going to need secretarial support and finally, last year council adopted a moratorium on demolition. Currently, we have nothing on the books. We are requesting that council consider establishing another moratorium until we can establish a list of historical buildings."

During council's regular meeting last week (March 22, 2004), members voted to establish a six-month moratorium on demolition of structures over 100 years old.

After the meeting during open discussion from the audience, Hartwig approached the members outlining a budget for the commission.

"We are asking for approximately $15,300 to get us started," Hartwig said. "That breaks down to $12,000 for the hiring of consultant Steve McQuillin, $1,000 for the services of Law Director John Gasior, $300 for professional dues for organizations we can join and $2,000 for secretarial assistance."

Last fall, McQuillin presented to members of council his experience, as well as what he sees his role to be should the city hire him.

"I have more than 20 years of experience as an historic landmark preservation consultant," he said. "First, our number one priority would be to go out and identify historic buildings and have them become certified with local government. It's an important first step so that you are not facing the inevitable when someone wants to tear something down."

McQuillin also told members of council that this area has more sandstone homes than any other part of the state. One such home is the Lewis Home that was moved from its original location near Wal-Mart to Olde Avon Village. The home was converted into Details gift shop.

"We've had two meetings so far and are starting to build a good foundation," Hartwig said. "We are thankful to council for passing the moratorium so that we have time to get things in order. Once we get our budget approved, we can officially hire Mr. McQuillin."

According to Hartwig, the Avon Historical Society has been compiling a list of historical homes in Avon over the years. To date, 23 homes have been identified, with three of those listed on the National Registry.

"We are still in the organizational step," Hartwig said. "I think things are going quite well so far."

The next meeting of the commission is scheduled for April 29 [2004].''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 3-23-04, By Brad Dicken, Staff Writer

``AVON -- For the next six months, developers will have to take a hands-off approach when it comes to century-old buildings in the city. City Council approved a moratorium on demolition of any building 100 years old or older in order to allow the city's new Landmarks Preservation Commission time to conduct a complete survey to find buildings that have historical value.

Jack Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, is thrilled at the decision. "It's a necessary thing so that there is time to get the survey done," he said. "It will improve the chances of buildings (surviving)."

There isn't an accurate count now of how many buildings fall into the category, but Smith estimates it could be around 100. But even if a building is 100 years old or older, it does not a guarantee it will make the final list of historical buildings.

"They have to meet other qualifications in addition to age," Smith said. "It would have to be of architectural interest, the site of some historic event, or connected to a historical figure."

Once a building is on the city's list, it cannot be demolished until a six-month waiting period passes from the time a demolition permit is requested. The Preservation Commission and historical society will use that time to try to find an alternative project, a new tenant, another buyer or some way to save or possibly move the building to another site.

Buildings that make it onto the National Registry of Historic Places, as three homes in the city already are, can still fall victim to the wrecking ball, Smith said ...

Council also is trying to determine the size of the budget for the Preservation Commission, which has already identified restoration expert Stephen McQuillin as the person who will conduct the survey ...

Mayor Jim Smith said he was pleased with the passage of the moratorium. "It's good because we want to get a handle on how many historical buildings we have in the city," he said.

Avon is one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and preservationists there have often fretted about the possibility that the city's history will be lost as the development continues. Nearly two years ago, the Lewis House, built in the mid-20th century, had to be moved from land where the city's Wal-Mart now sits.''

Contact Brad Dicken at bdicken@@chronicletelegram.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 4-14-04, By Julie A. Short

Blackwell Barn
Ron Larson's overall goal is to continually develop Olde Avon Village so that it appears as it would have existed in the 1850s and to replace structures that have been lost or torn down. The Blackwell Barn will sit along side the Lewis Home with an outdoor patio. Photo taken on 11-21-03.

``Birds of a Feather -- Former resident returns home to open a quilt shop

AVON -- Elizabeth (nee Bond) Sheehe always dreamed of starting her own business. Her passion for sewing and quilting has translated into Birds of a Feather (for quilting and knitting) shop that will open in June [2004] in the 1851 timber frame [Blackwell] barn in Olde Avon Village (Detroit Road) ...

"We are very excited to be opening up in Avon," Sheehe said. "The whole concept of a Village lends itself to what we are doing. Ron's enthusiasm is contagious. I'm glad to see he is preserving the history."

Sheehe, a 1967 Avon High School graduate, began quilting more than 20 years ago when she was expecting her first child.

"I made my son a quilt when he was born and continued off and on quilting over the years," she said. "I picked it back up again when he started driving to take my mind off him being out there on the road. It (quilting) is very relaxing. Knitting is also a great stress reliever."

The knitting expert and part owner of the business is Sheehe's friend, Cindy Disbrow. Another key employee and friend is Pam Edlund ...

According to Sheehe, quilting is gaining in popularity every year, but noted it can be hard to find handmade quilts these days.

"Quilting is the American folk art," she said. "The fact that Avon will now have two quilt shops proves that. There will be more places to go in the Village ...

"What is great about quilting is the whole concept of passing something on, it's that personal gift," Sheehe continued. "I have a quilt my grandmother made."

The second floor of the barn will be converted into a classroom area for quilting and knitting classes.

"Some people have asked if they can use the space on top to just come in and quilt and we are receptive to that," Sheehe said. "Until we actually are in the space, we won't know exactly what type of room we have. We would also like to have a place where quilters can display their final products. We envision a constant gallery of quilts. If they would like to sell them, we would be receptive to that as well."

Sheehe is extremely open to women (and men) to use the space to gather and quilt or knit together. She is also a life-long member of the Girl Scouts and is willing to open the space to conduct classes for the girls to introduce them to quilting and knitting.

"It's a wonderful experience to share," she said. "Again, it goes back to the American heritage where women used to have knitting and sewing circles. It's nice to make new friends and gather around a common craft.

"Over the last three years, there has been a steady growth in quilting," Sheehe said. "It's been around forever. Like most things, it goes in cycles. Knitting is gaining in popularity because you can take it with you. As our society continues moving, you see people knitting just about anywhere."

Back in high school, Sheehe wrote her senior paper on the history of Avon. She interviewed many people back then and is excited about coming back to her hometown.

A soft opening for Birds of a Feather is planned in June, with an official grand opening slated for the end of summer.

Larson is excited to bring a new business to Olde Avon Village.

"This is a good fit for us," he said. "The shop highlights traditional folk art materials. The Village is a work in progress. We are looking to add a few more buildings. It's a nice mix of architecture and retail."

According to Larson, each of the buildings in the Village is self-supporting and receives no additional funding from anyone.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 4-14-04, By Julie A. Short

Lewis House
"[The Lewis House] confirmed our thoughts," Details owner Lori Miles said. "It really was amazing the transformation he (Larson) made to the building ... It really made a second home for us and spearheaded our building to a success." Photo taken on 11-21-03.

``Country Heirs makes way for restaurant ...

AVON -- Another indication of Avon's changing times are the pink neon signs adorning Country Heirs antique shop that read, "Going out of business."

The popular French Creek Association shop, located at 35800 Detroit Road, will be closing its doors in June and the building will be converted into a restaurant ...

"We are not tearing down the building," [Taylor J. "Jack"] Smith said. "This restaurant preserves the building as is. It's not a historic building, but I think it's a beautiful building."

The building, constructed in 1940, holds personal ties with the Smith family. It originally housed the medical practice of Dr. Taylor Smith, Jack's father ... Our family's goal is to maintain the building. Change is inevitable, but we can maintain our tradition."

Smith noted that as long as structures are maintained throughout Avon, he doesn't see a problem with any businesses that want to come into Avon.

"The presence of the building is most important," he said. "I encourage uses of these buildings. Look what Ron Larson has been able to do for Avon. I'd like to see more of that."

Larson, owner of the Tree House Gallery and Tea Room, was responsible for moving the Lewis Home , from it original location on Center Road to its new location within Old Avon Village (Details gift shop) ...

Smith does not view the loss of Country Heirs to the French Creek District as a sign that other dealers may follow suit ... "The last antique show [Heart of Avon] was a success ..."''

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