Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
Ohio -- 10-8-02 to 10-29-02

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10-8-02 Planning Commission votes for a new interchange near Nagel Road

10-29-02 Avon residents speak out against I-90 interchange

[DETROIT ROAD IS STILL IN DANGER.

At a meeting of the Avon Planning Commission on 10-2-02, the Planning Commission voted to recommend to Council several features of the 2002 URS Master Thoroughfare Plan, including a new I-90 interchange near Nagel Road.

The audience at the public hearing brought forward some interesting suggestions and questions, for example, how many years would traffic coming down Nagel Rd. be required to make a dog-leg turn on Chester Rd. to reach the interchange?

In other words, how many years after the interchange is built would it take to build a new north-south connector from North Ridgeville to the interchange? Logically, this connector should be built before the new interchange so that Nagel Road is not overwhelmed with traffic from North Ridgeville, where hundreds of new homes are planned.

We have lived with a dog-leg turn on SR-83 at Chester for over thirty years. The new interchange should be referred back to the Planning Commission to answer this and other questions and to study some of the suggestions.

The Planning Commission did not recommend the URS proposal to "widen Detroit Road to five lanes, east of Colorado to Crocker Road." Nor did the Planning Commission recommend that Detroit Rd. should NOT be widened to five lanes. The Planning Commission was silent on this critical issue.

Instead of the URS Plan, Planning Commission should recommend to Council an ordinance changing Detroit Rd. from an arterial to a new road classification, perhaps called a "heritage highway." A heritage highway would have no more than three lanes, and be no wider than 36 feet of pavement, except at intersections. It would have the same right-of-way as an arterial.

Paul Burik raised the issue that if more "straight through" connectors were not constructed, most traffic would be forced to Detroit Road. Without such connectors it will become more and more difficult for people to leave the subdivisions and get to locations in Avon, to I-90, or to a commuter rail parking area.

Just as developers are required to install curbs, sidewalks, retention basins, storm sewers and sanitary sewers, they have an obligation to address the overall traffic impact of their developments, perhaps with another new road classification called "limited access connector."

A limited access connector could have the same pavement width and right-of-way as a collector, but the only access would be at intersections. Private driveways could not access the limited access connector. The purpose of a limited access connector would be to allow "straight through" traffic.

In order to minimize the burden on developers, no curbs, sidewalks or sanitary sewers should be required for a limited access connector, which would be similar to Avon's country roads such as Long, Kinzel, Riegelsberger, Schwartz, etc. A limited access connector could have back yards facing it on either side. People prefer to have their drives and sidewalks on curvy streets with lots of cul-de-sacs.

Sooner or later the local traffic impact of Avon's growth will have to be faced; and the delusion that these problems can be solved by five lanes of pavement on Detroit must be abandoned.]

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-22-02, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon's council to take up backing rail line

AVON -- City Council next week will hear an ordinance to support a commuter rail line that would link Lorain County to Cleveland.

Councilman at large Jack Kilroy is in favor of the rail line, but there wasn't much discussion on the issue at last night's council work session because Councilwoman at large JoAnne Easterday, Ward 1 Councilman Mark Julius and Ward 3 Councilman Timothy Nickum were out of town.

''Alternatives to the automobile are essential. We see congestion in Avon,'' Kilroy said.

The rail line will also help those residents who work in Cleveland and live in Lorain County and western Cuyahoga County get to and from work quicker and easier, he said.

The proposed line would link Lorain's $7 million Black River Landing in downtown Lorain with Cleveland, and make local stops in Sheffield, Avon and communities in western Cuyahoga County.

The effort to get a commuter rail connecting Lorain County to Cleveland has not been smooth, and council is trying to lend its support to the cause ...

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, said in February that he is in favor of the rail line.

''A commuter rail line is important for Lorain. It brings in jobs, creates less pollution and congestion on the roads and provides another convenience,'' Brown said last night. ''But, the key people in making this happen are those on the county and local levels.''

Avon City Council will also hear comments and questions from residents next Monday regarding a proposed new Interstate 90 interchange in the city somewhere between Lear Road and the Cuyahoga County line ...''

amight@morningjournal.com

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-16-02, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon sets hearings on road plans

AVON -- Residents will have a brief chance to voice their opinions about a proposed interchange on Interstate 90 and plans to straighten out SR 83 when City Council holds public hearings in two weeks.

A 15-minute public hearing on the interchange will be held at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 28 [2002, at City Hall] ...

Council is thinking about adding the interchange to its master road plan ...

An exact location has not yet been chosen, although planners said it would be somewhere between Nagel Road and the Cuyahoga County line.

Two years ago, the Jacobs Group requested council to support adding an interstate interchange at Nagel Road to complement its 1999 purchase of about 225 acres of land, but council eventually rejected the new interchange.

The company had planned to build a 500-acre complex of single-family homes, offices and restaurants and wanted the $15 million interchange between existing exits at SR 83 in Avon and Crocker Road in Westlake ...''

amight@morningjournal.com

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-11-02, By ALANA J. ROBERTS, Morning Journal Writer

``I-90 ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday

AVON -- Started in 1997, and with lots of bottlenecks and stop-and-go traffic since then, the project to finish making Interstate-90 three lanes in both directions from SR 611 to downtown Cleveland will culminate next week with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a bridge on the interstate ...

... Paul Wasilewski, an ODOT spokesman for District 12, which covers Cuyahoga County ... said the project is meant to last.

''With the total reconstruction we're looking at 25 to 30 years,''...''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 10-16-02, By Rich Exner, Plain Dealer Reporter

``I-90 lane in Avon, idle 4 years, will open to traffic tomorrow

An extra lane on Interstate 90 that was finished four years ago in Avon will finally be put to use tomorrow [10-17-02] afternoon ...

The total cost for about nine miles of new lanes each way to the Avon-Sheffield border, bridge repairs, road resurfacing and other work: $55 million ...

The extra lanes should ease congestion for those traveling to Avon, Avon Lake and other communities in Lorain County.

The wait has been on the minds of new homebuyers for years, said Shaun Brady, an Avon homebuilder and former Avon City Council president.

"The last thing they want is having Interstate 90 be like (Interstate) 71," with heavy backups in spots, Brady said. "With it being opened, Avon will be more accessible." ...''

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: rexner@plaind.com

[Driving on I-90 during the rush hours is no fun now. Adding an interchange to I-90 near Nagel Road would be like tapping a large storm water drain into a sanitary sewer system. Just as sewage can back up into basements, traffic backups would be no surprise; AND THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE:]

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAl, 2-16-01, By SARAH FENSKE

"... Plans for a commuter rail line from Lorain to Cleveland drew about 60 people to a meeting last night at Clearview High School ...

Avon Lake Councilwoman Holly Kowalski ... was excited.

''This is one of the few public projects that has the ability to benefit everyone,'' she said. ''Even people who don't use it would benefit from fewer cars on the road.'' ...''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-28-02, By J.P. SULLIVAN, Morning Journal Writer

``Records: Deals cost taxpayers over $500,000

ELYRIA -- While 90 percent of all commercial and residential real estate transfers result in Lorain County receiving conveyance fees, two large commercial parcels recently changed hands without the fees being paid, costing taxpayers more than $500,000, according to county records.

The Lorain County Auditor's Office confirmed that the sale of Midway Mall to the Westfield Group in April [2002] and the recent sale of Republic Technologies International to Republic Engineered Products LLC produced no conveyance fees ...

If paid, the Midway Mall sale would have netted the county an estimated $400,000 ...

Westfield's purchase of Midway Mall from the Richard E. Jacobs Group, while legal, used a loophole in an exemption to avoid paying its fee.

Exemption ''M'' of Ohio's real property conveyance fee schedule allows the fee to be waived if a property transfer ''is to or from a person when no money or other valuable and tangible consideration readily convertible into money is paid and that the transaction is not a gift.''

Instead of cash, Westfield's $756 million purchase of malls in six states including Midway Mall involved the transfer of ''partnership units.''

Cleveland-based tax attorney Tim Armstrong, who represents Lorain County on tax issues, said yesterday that the $756 million purchase only resulted in the Jacobs Group mall partnership being ''merged and reorganized'' with Westfield's mall partnership ...''

EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 1-25-04

``Lorain County auditor gives crew of fellow Dems a ride on his gravy train

All this time we thought Mark Stewart was the Lorain County auditor. Now it looks like he's running a ''jobs for Democrats'' boondoggle.

Stewart, a Democrat, is set to shell out as much as $155,000 of your tax money this year to have people swing by houses, at $30 a house, to verify information such as the address, permanent parcel number, age of the home and the number of exterior amenities.

Thirty bucks a house sounds like a royal rip-off at the public's expense.

He's got eight people -- six of them registered Democrats ''working on the side'' -- who'll earn an estimated $7,500 to $27,000 each this year.

Stewart claims it's only a coincidence that these eight ''independent contractors'' are overwhelmingly Democrats.

They're not just any Democrats. One is Lorain Councilwoman Lori Kokoski, D-8, who is running for county commissioner. (The commissioners are the folks who approved that $155,000 for Stewart this past week.) Based on past earnings, Kokoski is expected to get $13,500 working for Stewart. Also due to get $13,500 is former Lorain Councilman William Flynn, another Democrat.

A busy fact-checker is Elyria's Assistant Fire Chief Glenn Saddler, who apparently is able to check 900 homes to earn the $27,000 he's expected to get from Stewart. That's on top of the $102,595 Saddler was paid by Elyria last year, including $10,464 in overtime.

It's a wonder Saddler has time to eat and sleep between working all that Fire Department overtime plus checking out 900 homes for Stewart with only 365 days in a year -- 366 days this leap year.

Stewart also is the guy who, a couple of years ago, doled out $250,000 of taxpayer money to have a firm take digital pictures of all 125,000 properties in Lorain County to put on his department's Web site. That works out to $2 per property for the pictures. The Web site also has other price, tax and ownership information about each property.

At the time, Stewart defended his picture-taking project by saying it helped to verify addressees with a master list used by 9-1-1 emergency personnel, confirmed the auditor's database, provided visual information on the condition of a structure and yielded global positioning information about each site. That sounds a lot like what his eight ''working on the side'' appraisers are doing.

If Stewart can get all that data and a photo of house for only $2, why should it cost $30 for one of his Democratic fact-checkers to just eyeball the same house?

Of course, it's important for the county's official property records to be accurate, but just how much costly checking, visiting and picture-taking does it take for Stewart's outfit to get it right? ...

Stewart also recently denied politics played a role in his hiring of Democratic former North Ridgeville Mayor Deanna Hill at $20 an hour for the newly created job of ''outreach coordinator'' for the Lorain County Board of Revision. She's supposed to teach the public about how property tax values are decided and how to challenge them, among other things. It sounds like an easy chunk of change for Hill while she's also campaigning for election to the 57th District Ohio House seat now held by Republican Earl Martin.

Despite his protests that he's blind to politics in his hiring, it sure looks like Auditor Stewart doubles as conductor of a Democratic gravy train in Lorain County.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-29-02, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon residents speak out against I-90 interchange

AVON -- About 40 Avon residents filled council chambers last night to voice their opinions about a proposed Interstate 90 interchange ...

Nobody last night spoke in favor of a new interchange for which an exact location has not yet been chosen, although planners said it would be somewhere between Nagel Road and the Cuyahoga County line.

URS Corp. began a $40,000 traffic study for Avon in October 2001 and presented its findings to the Avon Planning Commission in June [2002].

The study projected how much traffic would be going through Avon and what the city needs to do to accommodate it. In addition, it highlighted five points the city should address as soon as possible, and one suggestion was to ... initiate a [NOACA] study to add an I-90 interchange somewhere between SR 83 and Westlake.

''We should look hard before ... requesting the I-90 interchange near Nagle Road recommended by the URS traffic engineer,'' said Avon resident Taylor J. Smith ''We might get what we ask for.''

Chuck Huene agreed, saying if council passes legislation to change the city's Master Thoroughfare Plan and allow the interchange, it will be making a mistake.

''This ordinance as written is a mistake and I don't vote for people who make mistakes,'' he said ...

Residents are concerned that people trying to get to the Nagel Road interchange will increase the traffic in town, forcing the city to widen Detroit Road to five lanes.

The issue was discussed at a special planning commission meeting, and was recommended to council, who should vote on the issue at the next regular council meeting [11-12-02].

Two years ago, the Jacobs Group requested council's support to add an interstate interchange at Nagle Road to complement its 1999 purchase of about 225 acres of land, but council eventually rejected the new interchange.

The company had planned to build a 500-acre complex of single-family homes, offices and restaurants and wanted the $15 million interchange between existing exits at SR 83 in Avon and Crocker Road in Westlake ...

In other action, council unanimously voted to pass an ordinance lending support to a proposed commuter rail line connecting Lorain and Cleveland.

Councilman-at-large Jack Kilroy said he is in favor of the rail line because it would cut down on the traffic between the two cities.

''Alternatives to the automobile are essential. We see congestion in Avon,'' Kilroy said.

The rail line will also help those residents who work in Cleveland and live in Lorain County and western Cuyahoga County get to and from work quicker and easier, he said.

The proposed line would link Lorain's $7 million Black River Landing in downtown Lorain with Cleveland, and make local stops in Sheffield, Avon and communities in western Cuyahoga County.''

amight@morningjournal.com

Council will vote on the new interchange on Tuesday, November 12, 2002, 7:30 pm, at City Hall.

COMMENTS by Taylor J. Smith at an Avon Council public hearing, October 28, 2002, on a proposed I-90 interchange near Nagel Road:

We should look hard before leaping into a request for the I-90 interchange near Nagel Road recommended by the URS traffic engineer. We might get what we ask for.

Quoting from a news article in The Plain Dealer, October 16, 2002, by Rich Exner,

``An extra lane on Interstate 90, that was finished four years ago in Avon, will finally be put to use ...

The total cost for about nine miles of new lanes ... [is] ... $55 million ...

"The wait has been on the minds of new homebuyers for years," said Shaun Brady, an Avon homebuilder and former Avon City Council president.

"The last thing they want is having Interstate 90 be like I-71, with heavy backups in spots," Brady said ...''

Driving on I-90 during the rush hours is no fun now. Adding an interchange on I-90 near Nagel Road would be like tapping a large storm water drain into a sanitary sewer system. Just as sewage can back up into basements, traffic backups would be no surprise; but there is an alternative:

Quoting from a news article in The Morning JournaL, February 16, 2001, by SARAH FENSKE,

"... Plans for a commuter rail line from Lorain to Cleveland drew about 60 people to a meeting last night at Clearview High School ...

Avon Lake Councilwoman Holly Kowalski ... was excited.

''This is one of the few public projects that has the ability to benefit everyone,'' she said. ''Even people who don't use it would benefit from fewer cars on the road.'' ...''

Have other effects of an I-90 interchange near Nagel Rd. been considered?

Quoting from the URS Plan, URS proposes to

"widen Detroit Road to five lanes, east of Colorado to Crocker Road."

This would have a negative impact on the French Creek District and on the preservation of our century homes.

The logic of the URS Plan requires that Detroit Rd. must have five lanes of pavement to carry cars to a new I-90 interchange near Nagel Road. Quoting from the URS Plan, "... these improvements will have a cumulative effect ..." In other words, the URS Plan will not work unless Detroit Rd. has five lanes of pavement.

The following transcript from the tape of the meeting of the Avon Planning Commission on June 12, 2002, makes clear that a new I-90 interchange near Nagel Road will require five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road:

Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza: "Going to 4 to 5 lanes on Detroit Rd., I don't know what would trigger that ..."

Council President Tom Wearsch: "Is the purpose of the Detroit Rd. improvement basically because of funnelling residential traffic to the north to get to the interchange?"

URS traffic engineer Eric Smith: "Yes. As that huge green blob on the south-eastern part of the City continues to develop, there's going to be more and more pressure ... Those people need to get to their jobs ... You will find ... we need to get ... 10 [or 30?] million dollars from NOACA to widen Detroit Rd. Westlake is looking at it right now [6-12-02] ..."

The URS Plan would turn Detroit Rd. from Colorado to the Westlake line into something like Lorain St. in North Olmsted. It would be difficult to resist rezoning Detroit Rd. commercial from SR-83 to the Westlake line if this becones Avon's official plan. Next there would be pressure to make Detroit Rd. five lanes west of Colorado to the Sheffield line and zone that commercial also.

Widening Detroit is necessary, according to URS, to bring cars to a new interchange in order to serve rush hour traffic twenty years from now. No consideration is given to commuter rail or to the trend in business, even before 9-11, to disperse records and employees using telecommunication.

On a commuter train to Cleveland, one could read and enjoy the ride, in contrast with spending hours in traffic gripping a steering wheel. Because diesel fuel can be made from American coal or soybeans, and because of 9-11, we should consider an approach that does not rely on gasoline.

It has been claimed that an interchange at Nagel Rd. would help Avon's industrial development, but no evidence has been presented to support this claim. Manco was willing to locate in the eastern part of our industrial land without a Nagel Rd. interchange.

Since the Nagel Rd. interchange was first proposed by the Jacobs Group in 1997, no affidavit from any manufacturing company has been presented which states that the company would locate in Avon if there were an interchange near Nagel Road. Other factors, such as the availability of water and a capable work force, are much more important,

Has the effect on Nagel Rd. of a new I-90 interchange been considered?

On October 2, 2002, the Avon Planning Commission held a public hearing on the 2002 URS Master Thoroughfare Plan.

The audience at the public hearing brought forward some interesting suggestions and questions, for example, how many years would traffic coming north on Nagel Rd. be required to make a dog-leg turn on Chester Rd. to reach the interchange?

In other words, how many years after the interchange is built would it take to build a new north-south connector from North Ridgeville to the interchange? We have lived with a dog-leg turn on SR-83 at Chester for over thirty years.

Logically, the new north-south connector should be built before the interchange is constructed.

A new I-90 interchange near Nagel Road would be an attractive nuisance. Cars from North Ridgeville, which otherwise could find their way to Cleveland on I-480, would be drawn north on Nagel Rd. to I-90 by a new interchange. The construction of hundreds of homes is planned in North Ridgeville. Nagel Rd. would be overwhelmed by this ever-increaseing traffic.

What about traffic coming south on Nagel Rd. to the interchange from Avon Lake and Bay Village? Is there any plan at all to relieve these cars of a dog-leg turn at Chester to get to the interchange? Is there a plan for an overpass on Nagel Rd. at the tracks? Who will pay for it and when will it be built?

If an I-90 interchange is constructed east of Nagel Rd., it would be necessary to build the north-south connector on the east side of Nagel Rd. through the new St. Joseph's cemetary. Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza has stated that there would be no objection to this.

For the sake of good planning, a letter of consent should be obtained before the URS interchange recommendation is adopted. Action without obtaining such a letter would be negligence. It is unlikely that the City could prevail in an eminent domain suit agaist the Catholic Diocese to run a road through St. Joseph's cemetary.

Council should refer the interchange back to the Planning Commission to answer these and other questions and to study some of the suggestions made at the public hearing of October 2, 2002.

We should think twice before we plunge the east side of Avon into turmoil and destroy Detroit Rd. from one end of the City to the other.

NEWS ARTICLE fron The Plain Dealer, 11-1-02, By Rich Exner, Plain Dealer Reporter

``Downtown parking fees driving you away?

Eight bucks to park for an hour? Forget it.

The price was enough to drive Tammara Brock away.

Disgusted, Brock put her car in reverse and backed out of the One Cleveland Center Garage across from the Galleria.

"It's a problem," said the Cleveland woman, who only wanted to make a quick stop to buy shoes.

"That's why I don't come downtown very often." ...

Rates ranged from $9 to $12 for one hour at the four lots next to the Justice Center ...

Parking prices aren't a big deal for some, like the man with two $300 concert tickets who paid $15 to park.

"I'm going to the concert; I don't care" about the price, said the man, who declined to give his name ...

The city of Cleveland just recently raised football game-day rates to $15 at its lots closest to the stadium ...

Some drivers get their say by ignoring higher-priced lots. But, short of hopping a bus or train, there is almost no escape from the expense.

That's true even for someone like downtown Cleveland worker Bonnie Ritchui of Olmsted Falls. She walks a few blocks for a better deal but she still has to pay $90 a month.

"It is expensive, but what do you do?" Ritchui said. "I work downtown."''

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: rexner@plaind.com

FEATURE ARTICLE from The Star Tribune, 10-31-02, By Rosalind Bentley

``Most days when you drive, you see somebody in another car do something stupid. A guy runs a red light. A woman doesn't signal her lane change. Someone else tries to eat a bowl of cereal and steer.

Those kinds of people really burn you up, don't they?

But let's talk about you.

You wanted to keep up with traffic, so you busted the speed limit. You wanted to avoid getting rear-ended, so you charged right through that yellow light. Then you reached down for a CD.

In a split second, you've become one of those yahoos that you hate.

Call it aggressive driving, distracted driving or whatever, the perception among many drivers is that the problem is getting worse. A recent national survey suggests the majority of Americans feel this bending of road rules makes driving more dangerous ...

According to the 2001 National Highway Safety Survey conducted by Mississippi State University, 80 percent of Americans said they believe roads and highways are becoming more dangerous ...

Stephanie Faul of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington, D.C., said that the perception that driving has gotten worse may come from to the fact that there are simply more of us on the road than there used to be. It's likely that people always broke the rules, but more of us on the roads gives it the feeling of an epidemic ...''

Rosalind Bentley is at rbentley@startribune.com

NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-4-02, By The Associated Press

``Huge pileup clogs foggy LA freeway

LONG BEACH, CALIF. -- Nearly 200 cars and big-rig trucks collided on a foggy stretch of the Long Beach Freeway early yesterday, injuring dozens of people and closing the highway for hours ...

At least 41 people were injured, nine of them critically.

Dozens of cars, vans and big-rig trucks could be seen tangled together and littering both sides of the freeway about 25 miles south of Los Angeles ...''

ELECTION, 11-5-02 -- ISSUE 17
Avon, zoning referendum, rezoning from residential to business, car dealership:

PASSED: 3,837 to 983.

More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon

Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

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