Avon Growth News, 8-5-99 to 8-31-99

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8-5-99 Chester Traffic Fix-Up
8-5-99 Brady Office Complex
8-5-99 Proposed tee tax
8-5-99 Back of the Pack
8-12-99 New School for Avon
8-18-99 Sound barrier along I-90
8-23-99 Tennis Courts

EDITORIAL from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 8-2-99

"... Raspberries to attorney Timothy J. Grendell for wretched and ironic exaggeration. Grendell, who is representing Akron developer Jerry Bishop in the never - ending dispute over Lorain's King's Woods, contends the city is damaging his client by insisting on 70-foot lots instead of 50-foot lots [compare with Avon's minimum lot size], even though Bishop agreed to 70-foot lots at a City Council meeting.

''Mr. Bishop cannot sit on his investment while the city rapes him,'' Grendell said. [How would this lawyer represent a developer to the City of Avon?]

After it was renegotiated earlier this year, the price Bishop paid for the 75 acres was reduced from $750,000 to $337,500. He might not be able to build the 270 houses he planned originally, but he'll have ample opportunity to recover his investment. This is rape?"

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer, 8-5-99

"Avon ready for Chester traffic fix-up

AVON -- Officials in Avon say they are ready to do their part to reroute Chester Road to move its western end farther away from Interstate 90, eliminating a traffic hazard where the roads meet SR611.

'We've lived with this problem for 30 years,' said Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza. 'The plan reflects a correction we've wanted to do, and here we have something happening where we can seize the problem and correct it right now.'

A Lodging Industries proposal to build a Fairfield Inn motel, a Shell gas station, a Burger King restaurant and another restaurant on 13 acres at the corner of Chester and SR 611 highlighted the traffic problem.

The Lodging Industries' project adds another roadway onto that section of SR 611, officials said.

The Avon Planning Commission asked the developers to pay to extend Chester Road west, with a turn near the McDonald's parking lot, as well as building a new north-south road that connects to SR 611 about 600 feet northwest of the current intersection.

Despite the cooperation of developers and a cash contribution to the project, actual construction of the re-route will not be quite so easy.

Lodging Industries does not own three small pieces of land necessary to complete the new portion of Chester Road, so it can only build the new road connecting with SR 611 and half of the new portion of Chester Road.

To finish the connecting 200 feet or so of the re-route, the city must acquire that extra land and commit to paying for construction of the road through it, Piazza said.

City officials supported planning commission's recommendation at Monday's work session ...

Now that the city has given its approval, Lodging Industries is ready to begin its 80 percent of the project, Piazza said ...

While the connecting land could potentially be acquired through eminent domain, Piazza said he believed the owners were willing to negotiate.

Piazza said the city hoped to obtain a state grant for its piece of the road. If not, the city's general fund would cover the cost, Piazza said.

Lodging Industries has agreed to move the traffic signal now at Chester and SR611 to the new road's SR 611 intersection. The old Chester curve into SR611 will be vacated after the new roads are finished, Piazza said."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer, 8-5-99

"Brady office complex will need variance in Avon

AVON -- Developer Shaun Brady hopes to build a 13,754-square-foot office complex at Chester Road and SR 83 next to City Hall ...

Brady, president of Brady Homes who also serves as an at-large councilman, submitted drawings to planning commission showing a Western Reserve style building with dormer windows and a clock tower, as well as courtyard areas interspersed through the complex.

Because the plans include the courtyard areas, parking spaces are closer to the road than city code allows, but Brady is confident his company can obtain a zoning variance.

'We're going to the Planning Commission basically asking them to deny us,' he said, saying the Zoning Board of Appeals could then grant the 'small' variance ...

The complex, likely to include a sit-down restaurant and multiple office spaces, as well as possibly a coffee house, will be the first 'full, commercial' development from Brady Homes, primarily known for its residential construction.

'We really want to make it our showpiece,' Brady said.

Architect Ron Landig, president of RWL Architects, agreed.

'It ties in with the style of the present city hall that it will be adjacent to,' he said. 'And instead of the normal strip center look, there are ins and outs to this building.' ...

As Brady Homes looked for office space of its own, Brady said, it decided to go ahead with building a complex. But with all the interest the building has generated, those plans may have to be scrapped.

'We wanted to put our office in there -- that's how it all got started,' Brady said. 'But now I'm not even sure if there's going to be enough room for us.'

The office complex is only the most recent in a long list of developments in the works for the Chester Road area.

Just across the from the complex to the southwest is the Avon Pointe project, with plans for two hotel/motels, two restaurants and a convenience store.

The project, already approved by city officials, should begin clearing the land within two or three weeks, said Jerry Seifert, a partner with Currie-Hall Investment Co.

'We're working on a lot of 11th-hour details,' he said.

The first phase of the project will be the Bob Evans restaurant, located in the southeast quadrant of the property, Seifert said.

About 30 days after work begins on the restaurant, Seifert said the company would begin building the Hawthorn Extended Stay Facility.

While earlier plans indicated the project's other motel would be a Microtel, Currie-Hall is still negotiating with other chains, Seifert said ...

Currie-Hall is responsible for adding a traffic light at Chester Road and SR 83, but the light won't go in until the development is completed, Seifert said.

Brady said his site's restaurant wouldn't have to compete with those being added by Currie-Hall.

'The area is so underdeveloped for these types of facilities, it could sustain a lot more development than is even on the books,' he said.

City planners have just approved a Dairy Mart to go across the street from City Hall, and the 85-acre Avon Commons project, slated to break ground less than a mile away, will also add restaurants and stores to the area."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 8-5-99, By Joe Mosbrook Jr.

"Councilman plans office, eatery complex

AVON -- At-large Councilman Shaun Brady, acting as a private builder, plans to build a 13,700-square-foot office building and restaurant complex on land just north of City Hall ...

Brady said he will ask the city for no tax incentives or special financing sometimes offered to new businesses. He will, however, ask the Planning Commission for a minor zoning variance regarding the placement of the parking lot, he said.

No action by Council is required for the project.

The complex will face state Route 83, just north of City Hall. An existing home there will be demolished once final approval is given, Brady said.

Brady paid $300,000 for the 1.4 acres of land in early June, he said ...

He said the project will cost about $1.3 million, which he will draw from commercial lines of credit. He hopes to break ground on the project by winter ...

Brady is president of Brady Homes Inc., an independent firm that builds custom homes in Lorain County. The company employs 11 people. This will be its first commercial project, Brady said.

The city's Planning Commission will consider the proposal at its next meeting at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 18 at City Hall."

COMMUNITY PULSE and OPINION, THE PRESS, 8-25-99, By R.J. Hemmer

"... For many years area travelers will remember the gentleman that owned the property at the northwest corner of Rt. 83 and Chester Rd. in Avon.

Every spring he and his wife would plant vegetables, flowers and other various plants and then work the gardens throughout the summer. Over the last couple of years activity around the home at that location eventually ceased and the property was purchased by local Avon builder Shaun Brady.

I met with Brady last week and had the opportunity to view his 14,000 square foot plans for a multipurpose commercial building. The structure will be a nice addition to the corner and is expected to house a restaurant and professional companies. Brady also expects to locate his business at this location.

The thing that caught my attention was the overall look of the project. Complete with a huge clock tower, the structure will complement Avon City Hall."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 8-5-99, By JOHN STEBBINS, Staff Writer

"Proposed tee tax stirs ire of owners

AVON -- The city has decided to split a proposed entertainment tax ordinance so it separately can debate a controversial tee tax that course owners say isn't up to par.

The tax, which Councilman Mike McDonough estimated would add 50 cents to greens fees, was part of a general entertainment tax ordinance council is considering ...

The city already has heard opposition from teed-off course owners, who argue the tax would hurt business and drive golfers away.

The entertainment ordinance also features a tax on movie theaters, which could take advantage of businesses expected to be built at the Avon Commons complex.

Councilman Shaun Brady argued against the tax, saying it is frivolous and doesn't provide a return for city taxpayers ...

Council President Ted Grazcyk said that, like many taxes, the benefits aren't directly returned.

"There are many things, like roads and police and fire services, this would ease the burden on," Grazcyk said. "People don't mind paying taxes for police and fire, even if they never use them. This would be a tax to help ease that burden."

During the meeting, a question was brought up involving the difference between full-size golf course sport and miniature golf played at places like Goodtimes. Law Director Dan Stringer said it would be defined by amount of green space.

A group of the city's four course owners has hired and attorney, with one owner threatening to shut their facility if the tax is passed."

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EDITORIAL from CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, August 5, 1999

"Back of the pack

The warning bells should be sounding from Cleveland to Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio. The Buckeye State is in the back of the pack in the race to be an economic leader in the so- called new economy ...

In a study released last month, the Progressive Policy Institute ranked states based on how they're faring in the economy fueled by the Internet, information systems and global trade. Ohio landed in 33rd place. Worse yet, it failed to score a top 10 ranking in any of the 17 categories evaluated, ranging from education levels of workers to venture capital investments.

The bottom line on the study is that geography -- which gave Ohio its competitive advantage in a manufacturing- and raw materials-based economy -- is less a factor when commerce is done electronically by workers valued more for brains than brawn.

Gov. Taft says he understands the dramatic economic shift under way, and he has the opportunity to help Ohio prosper from that change. Thanks to a nearly $1 billion rainy day fund and the $9.8 billion windfall from the tobacco industry settlement, Ohio has the resources to make key investments in its future.

Options include expanding research and development tax credits; boosting spending on tech transfer programs such as the Edison Technology Centers; and developing ways to encourage more college students to enroll in technology programs.

The state needs to act quickly because its competitors have made it clear they won't be sitting on their hands.

For example, Michigan, which ranked 34th in the study, has committed $1 billion of its tobacco money to biomedical research and nearly $3 billion to scholarships over the next 25 years ...

NorTech should be more than just another moniker to get used to. As Crain's reported last week, the Northeast Ohio Regional Technology Coalition will consist of representatives from high- tech organizations and interests and will develop a coordinated high-tech agenda for the region.

Last fall, we cited the need for such an organization to give direction to the region's various technology efforts. We look forward to both NorTech's vision and its actions."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer, 8-12-99

"Avon tax savings could offset new school cost

AVON -- Avon school officials say that, without raising taxes, they can build a new $8 million school to serve as many as 500 fifth- and sixth-graders. Reduced costs from two earlier tax issues would equal the cost to taxpayers of a new levy to pay for the new school on land at the southwest corner of Detroit Road and SR 83.

The Avon School Board will review the plan at its regular meeting Tuesday [8-17-99]. With board approval, voters could consider the plan in November ...

Reitenbach said the plan involves three steps -- one new tax levy, the end of another and a reduction of yet a different levy.

These changes will alter, but not increase, current taxes paid by Avon property owners, school officials said ...

Reitenbach broke down the changes as follows:

-- The 1994 permanent improvement levy, which paid for the high school land was approved at a rate of 1.25 mills. That tax, which cost of owner of a $100,000 home $25.90 a year, will not be renewed.

-- The 20-year bond issue voters passed to build the high school in 1995 must be 'rolled back' because of higher property values. The 6.15-mill rate is bringing in too much money, Reitenbach said. The district must 'roll back' the levy to a rate of 4.39 mills. With this change, the owner of a $100,000 home will pay $153.65 a year, rather than $215.25.

-- The new 2.5-mill levy to build the new elementary school, if approved, would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $87.50 per year -- the exact amount saved from the expired high school land levy, plus the bond issue rollback.

Avon's tremendous residential growth is the reason for both the increased assessed property values and the need for additional buildings, officials said.

The district's projected growth study shows that only about 350 students will use the school in its first years, but officials want to build for 500 to accommodate future growth ...

A 1994 growth study predicted Avon's 1,128-student district would increase to 1,560 by the 1998-99 school year. By the end of the school year, the district enrolled 1,540, Reitenbach said, confirming the estimates have been on track so far.

Those estimates predict that by 2002, the district will have more than 2,000 students, double its 1992 population.

'We're growing at a rate of 10 to 12 percent,' Reitenbach said. 'To add two new buildings in a short period of time is not unrealistic.'

The district hopes to obtain about 17 acres of state-owned land at the southwest corner of Detroit Road and SR 83, for the new school site.

The board must approve the resolution to put the levy on the November ballot at its Tuesday meeting, because the deadline to submit issues for the election is Thursday [8-19-99]."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer, 8-18-99

"AVON -- The Avon school board unanimously approved adding an $8 million bond issue to the November ballot last night [8-18-99], as members expressed confidence voters will like the plan, which school officials say will not raise the amount of taxes property owners pay.

The tax increase due to the new bond issue would be offset by an equal tax decrease scheduled for two other existing tax issues, according to school officials ...

Because of the city's immense growth, property valuations have risen so much that a 20-year bond issue passed to build the new high school in 1995, is collecting too much money and would have to be rolled back by law, school officials have said. Also, a 1994 permanent improvement levy ends this year.

The savings to taxpayers from the rollback and from the end of the 1994 levy are equal to the tax increase that would result from approval of the new $8 million bond issue.

The owner of a $100,000 home would continue to pay $241.15 in taxes if the bond issue is approved, effectively giving up the $87.50 savings that would've come from the rollback and the end of the 1994 levy. If the new bond issue is defeated, that homeowner would see his property tax go down by $87.50 from the scheduled tax decreases ...

Board member Debra Polovich agreed, touting the new school as a way to keep class sizes manageable.

'Otherwise, we'd have over 30 kids in a classroom,' she said.

'This coming year, we're going to have seven classes of first graders in the public schools,' Mrs. Marsiglia said. 'With the growth here at a level where it's just increasing unbelievably, we knew we needed another grade school. We're just trying to keep ahead of the growth.' ...

The new school will probably be built at the southwest corner of Detroit Road and SR 83 and will likely handle about 500 fifth- and sixth-graders, officials have said.

Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said he is still waiting for a price on the land from the Ohio Department of Transportation, which has offered to sell the property to the district ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 8-18-99, By Craig J. Heimbuch

"Construction on the sound barrier along I-90 has begun. An ODOT spokesperson said that the actual wall units should begin going in this week [8-18-99].

Drivers along Interstate 90 between SR 611 and SR 83 in the last month have probably noticed the skeleton for a sound barrier that is being built in order to protect residents from the additional noise created when a third lane is completed on 90 eastbound.

The sound barrier project is being funded through federal money and managed by the Ohio Department of Transportation. ODOT conducted a study on the area south of I-90, in order to determine the effectiveness of the proposed barrier, and the density of houses and offices near by.

Following the study, which determined that the barrier would effectively block noise, the total cost of the project, $1.247 million, was divided by the number of housing and office units that directly abut the interstate, to determine cost effectiveness. In order for the project to be approved, the cost must not exceed $25,000 per unit.

Once the need and the cost are determined, ODOT asked the residents of the area in question whether or not they even want the barrier ...

The residents then had the option of voting for color, texture and materials, from which the wall will be constructed. According to Avon Mayor James Smith, 30% of the votes cast by residents were for a green concrete wall, 10% for a gray one. A sample panel of the wall will be put up for the residents' approval within the next week.

"We only have one stipulation," said Giovinazzo. "If there is a series of noise walls, we want them to be uniform."

No money from the city of Avon is being used in the project, nor are any state funds; rather the entire project is being funded by federal road dollars. The Lake Erie Construction Company, of Norwalk, Ohio, began the construction of the wall at the end of June and hopes to have the project completed by the middle of October ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer, 8-23-99

"Avon tennis proposal: city courts at school

AVON -- Six tennis courts could be a possibility for the new Avon High School, officials say, with full use for both community members and the school's growing new tennis team.

'We're talking about putting in courts, they're talking about putting in courts,' Mayor Jim Smith told members of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. 'The feeling is, maybe we ought to get together.'

Putting the courts at the high school might be a better alternative than the two tennis courts the commission had planned for the Schwartz Road park, Smith said.

First, high school-based courts would be well-lighted and protected from vandalism, thanks to the night custodian's presence.

Also, drainage concerns in the Schwartz area would force the city to spend more money on elevating the tennis courts and less on the courts themselves, said John Aunspaw, chair of the commission.

To fund the six courts, the city will apply for a Recycle grant, which the high school used for its new track, said Treasurer Kathaleen Aufdenkampe.

The grant would pay for about half of the project's cost.

If the grant is obtained, the remaining bills would go half to the schools and half to the city's park levy, Smith said, with the city paying $1 for a 30-year lease of the courts.

Parks board member David Mast described the plan as a way for the city to get 'three times the facility at half the cost.'

School officials were similarly enthused at their meeting ...

Avon High School is offering tennis for the first time this year, and hopes to make it a varsity sport soon for both men and women, school officials said."

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