July 2, 1998 VIA FAX - (440) 937-7824
Mr. Ted Graczyk, President of Council
Mr. James Smith, Mayor
Mr. Paul Burik, Vice Chairman - Planning Commission
City of Avon, 36080 Chester Road, Avon, OH 44011
Re:Request for Rezoning
Please accept this letter as First Interstate Development Company's notice to the City of Avon and request that its prior Application for Rezoning submitted to Avon City Council on June 8th relating to the change of 86 acres of land from C-2 to C-3 be withdrawn. Rather than pursuing the rezoning of this land from C-2 to C-3 via action by City Council, First Interstate has listened to the dialogue over the past several weeks and has decided that it will conduct an initiative petition campaign to put the issue of the rezoning of this 86 acres of land on the ballot this coming November for the following reasons:
1. It is clear that Council President Graczyk, as well as several other members of Council, strongly prefer that the community have the opportunity to vote on this rezoning issue as opposed to the decision for the rezoning of this land being one made by City Council. In fact, Council President Graczyk indicated as recently as Monday of this week that his vote as Council's representative to the Planning Commission was not related to planning issues, but was based upon his desire that this issue be placed on the ballot this November. First Interstate has demonstrated throughout the process relating to the approval of the proposed Avon Commons Shopping Center that within reasonable limits it is prepared to listen to the wishes of the community and, if it is the desire of communal leadership that this matter be placed in front of the voters, First Interstate is prepared to take the appropriate action necessary to have this matter on the ballot this coming November. Waiting for Council to act could preclude the opportunity for an initiative petition for this November because of the time frames set forth in the charter.
2. We believe that even if Council were to adopt an ordinance following the recommendation of the Planning Commission to rezone this property from C-2 to C-3, that the matter would be subject to a referendum procedure. We at First Interstate must assume, given the public statements of several attorneys representing clients who are opposed to Avon Commons, as well as the ongoing activities of Robert L. Stark Enterprises, Inc., as well as the Richard E. Jacobs Group, that these forces will combine to place the issue on the ballot and will devote significant resources to defeating this issue this coming November. As recently as this past Monday, Robert L. Stark Enterprises and the Richard E. Jacobs Group attempted to intervene with the Planning Commission's review of the First Interstate request for rezoning as evidenced by the June 26, 1998 correspondence submitted by them to Mr. David Hartt on an unsolicited basis. We at First Interstate will not let these companies who are pursuing a planned development in excess of 500 acres which would forever change the character of the City of Avon, take the position of being the "good guys" by placing this issue on the ballot this November. The "good guys" in this matter are represented by First Interstate which has continuously operated in the public forum, has clearly set forth its plan and agenda, has listened to the comments of well intended persons in the community, and has adjusted its plans to meet the concerns and needs of the community, and done so in a professional and first-class manner.
3. We believe that First Interstate Development Company, through a cooperative process working with the Avon Planning Commission, has developed a proposal for a development of the highest quality and that the project is supported by the residents of Avon. The input provided into this design by the community is well beyond the level of communal input First Interstate has ever accepted in the past. We believe the result of that input is that First Interstate's proposal incorporates award-winning design for greenspace areas, landscaping designs, community amenities, and overall site layout. This is obvious on its face to any one who has the opportunity to review the plans and elevation drawings which we have prepared for this project. This process has resulted in positive relationships between First Interstate, the Planning Commission, and the community, which have generated the type of good will that First Interstate believes will carry the day in an election and result in the citizenry of Avon voting to rezone this property for the Avon Commons project.
4. First Interstate will not let the debate over the Avon Commons project be shaped by forces opposed to the development of Avon Commons for their own personal enrichment and corporate interests. Very frankly, there is a limit to the number of interferences into communal process that can be tolerated, and First Interstate believes that the community of Avon is at its limit with respect to attempted interference by these forces. We believe the community is tired of the interference into its affairs by these counter-productive parties acting for their own personal and corporate agendas. Putting the Avon Commons rezoning on the ballot will provide the residents of the City of Avon the opportunity to tell these forces that the citizens of Avon have had enough of their attempts to interfere and to deprive the community of Avon of a first-class development opportunity that will provide significant additional resources to the community without overwhelming the community with a development of regional impact involving hundreds and hundreds of acres of commercial development. No "permaculture" along Detroit Road will ever compensate the community for the lost character of the City of Avon that would occur should these forces have their way. Providing Avon residents with the opportunity to vote for Avon Commons will also provide the residents an opportunity to tell these forces to look elsewhere for their enrichment.
We will be pre-filing our initiative petition documents with the City of Avon early next week and obtaining the requisite number of signatures to place this issue on the ballot prior to the deadline for the filing of initiative petitions in early August. We look forward to the educational process that will be involved in obtaining the signatures for the initiative petition, as well as for the election itself. Our hope is that as community leaders and officials, you will look fairly and openly at the proposal for this rezoning, evaluate the benefits to be provided to the City of Avon by the proposed Avon Commons project, support the initiative petition effort to put this matter on the ballot and give the residents the right to vote on it, and hopefully, ultimately, support the rezoning itself.
We at First Interstate are proud of the work that we've accomplished to date in the community of Avon. The design for the Avon Commons project is the finest shopping center design that First Interstate has achieved in its nearly ten (10) year history. We look forward to working with you and the community as this election process unfolds and, after the election, toward the ground breaking, construction and grand opening of Avon Commons.
Should you have any questions whatsoever regarding the process to be undertaken by First Interstate or any other matter concerning this letter, please feel free to call me. Thank you very much.
Very truly yours, Mitchell C. Schneider
President, First Interstate Development Company
More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon