Newspaper Record of STARK/JACOBS in Avon,
Ohio -- November 1, 1998 to 12-31-98

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-4-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON -- The proposed Avon Commons shopping center was narrowly defeated last night -- a result which project developer Mitchell Schneider blames on an intense, last-minute campaign waged by rival developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark.

''This barrage of scare tactics and negative campaigning that the Jacobs people undertook included twisted facts and half-truths, Schneider said. ''It scared and confused people.''

Unofficial results from the Lorain County Board of Elections last night indicated Avon voters denied the rezoning of the land necessary for the center to go forward by a 63-vote margin of 2,088 to 2,025.

Schneider insisted that the final vote would have been in favor of his 85-acre, Detroit Road center had it not been for the barrage of anti-Avon Commons advertisements and mailings financed by the Stark/Jacobs team, which is eying Avon land for a major retail project of its own.

... Avon Mayor Jim Smith said ... he will remember the mantra of Stark and Jacobs in the anti-Avon Commons literature they sent out and in the advertisements they ran in area newspapers.

''In their own campaign, they said they don't want commercial sprawl,'' Smith said. ''I'm going to take a page of that book out to show to them later on.''

Meanwhile, Schneider said he will continue his fight in court, where he filed an appeal after attorney Gerald Phillips won a zoning case against him earlier this year.

''We have our appeal pending with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and we still believe that we could build our project and that the (ruling in the Lorain County Common Pleas Court) was incorrect,'' he said. ''We intend to stay in touch with city officials and keep them appraised of our plans and intentions. We think Avon's a great city and we want Avon Commons to be a part of it."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 11-5-98, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"Avon Commons won't go away

AVON -- Residents have not seen the end of Avon Commons by a long shot.

Issue 14 failed by a razor thin 63 votes, 2,088 to 2,025, according to the final, unofficial report from the Lorain County Board of Elections.

Since the vote is so close, it will have to be recounted for verification. And, even if the result remains the same, Avon Commons developer Mitchell Schneider might be able to go through with the project, anyway.

Schneider filed an appeal to the suit that forced him to take the rezoning issue before voters.

Lorain County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Janas ruled last summer that the city could not automatically change the zoning of the 85 acres of land east of Center and Detroit roads from light commercial to heavy commercial. Instead, the zoning upgrade would have to be taken to the voters.

Schneider's appeal claims the land originally was zoned with possible larger-scale development in mind. He said the ordinance allowing automatic rezoning of more than 10 acres of C-2 land to C-3 should be interpreted according to its "original intent."

Schneider blames his loss in the election on a last-minute "barrage" of negative information from the rival Stark/Jacobs group. He claimed thousands of direct-mail pieces and phone calls to residents used "half-truths" and misinformation to turn voters away from him.

"They both angered and confused the voters in Avon," he said.

The Richard E. Jacobs Group and Robert Stark Enterprises are in the planning stages of an even bigger, multi-use development on the eastern side of town. The Jacobs/Stark team has maintained all along that Issue 14 will have no effect on their plans.

"We look forward to making our presentation to the city," said Thomas Henneberry, executive vice president of the Richard E. Jacobs Group. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (11-5-98) By Mike Sakal

"AVON -- Although he lost a rezoning bid for the proposed Avon Commons shopping center, developer Mitchell Schneider is not giving up.

The defeat has not slowed rival developers Robert Stark and Cleveland Indians owner Richard E. Jacobs either.

... On Wednesday, Schneider said he would consider scaling back the Avon Commons project so it would fit current zoning at the site along Detroit Road near Interstate 90 east of Center Road. That would mean smaller stores. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-10-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

Avon mall faces another blow

"AVON -- After losing by a 63-vote margin in last week's election, Avon Commons could be dealt another blow next week. Avon City Council President Ted Graczyk said last night that he wants council to take a final vote on the strip mall at its next meeting.

City officials spent months reviewing the layout and engineering of developer Mitchell Schneider's project, but some members of council said last night they favor taking action that would require Schneider to go through the entire review process again -- if he ever gets his land properly zoned.

The project is currently stalled by last week's citywide vote not to rezone 85 acres of land off Detroit Road east of SR 83 for the mall. However, Schneider has an appeal pending in court that could grant him the zoning change he needs.

But Graczyk said the mall site might never be rezoned -- meaning that there is no reason for City Council to delay voting against the plans.

''I just think it's time to get it over and done with,'' said Graczyk. ''When we tabled this, I said that I would bring this back the Monday following the election. I certainly think it's time we voted on it.''

Councilman Shaun Brady disagreed, noting that Schneider might eliminate features such as the walking path from his plans if he is forced to start over again.

''The project we have in front of us is excellent,'' Brady said.

Councilman Jack Kilroy said Schneider has always acted ''honorably'' and suggested City Council wait to hear what happens in court before voting. He also stressed that Tuesday's elections have not been certified by the Lorain County Board of Elections yet.

''I fail to see why the city has to be taking this off the table now,'' Kilroy said.

... Graczyk, however, said that even if Avon Commons wins in the Ninth District Court of Appeals, the legal battle would continue because the anti-Avon Commons contingent would most likely appeal.

''I suspect it would be in court the day after that,'' Graczyk said. ''We've spent enough time on it.''

Graczyk said council will vote on the issue at the next council meeting."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 11-11-98, By JoAnne Easterday

Election analysis 11-11-98

"AVON -- "Thirty-two people would have made a difference," so said Mitchell Schneider regarding the rezoning of land for the strip mall Avon Commons.

The close race involving 2088 no votes to 2025 yes surprised Schneider. Sixty- three no votes sealed the fate, at this point, on proceedings. Schneider said 32 votes in the positive section would have changed everything.

The appeal of the court decision regarding the zoning change is pending, Schneider said. He did not know whether he was entitled to a recount of votes, if the count was within one percent of the total count which would entitle him to a monitored recount.

"We will pursue appropriate avenues for this project," Schneider said. He said Avon is a wonderful community and he would like Avon Commons to be a part of it.

Mayor James Smith ...continued about Jacobs, "They have given the quote. All the reasons they brought out will be the same reasons people will vote against Stark/Jacobs." With reference to the actual election, Smith said, "He [Jacobs] defeated Mitch Schneider with a barrage of half truths."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 11-12-98, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"Rezoning decision may allow hotels and restaurants

AVON -- How would you like to eat breakfast with the mayor? You just might get that chance, if a new Bob Evans restaurant is built across from City Hall.

City Council unanimously voted Monday to rezone about 7 acres of land on the southwest corner of Route 83 and Chester Road to allow hotels and restaurants, despite concerns brought up by self-described activist lawyer Jerry Phillips.

PHILLIPS SUGGESTED A MORATORIUM BE PLACED ON COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT, and said the city is in a "state of flux" that needs to be settled. ...

He implored the council to go slowly with rezoning the property across from City Hall.

"It's better to measure twice and cut once," he said.

Council President Ted Graczyk said the rezoning was "an overlay," since the property already is zoned for commercial use.

The rezoning would allow the developer, Curie-Hall Investment Co., to build hotels and gas stations.

However, the concept of "overlay" may be what got the city into the Avon Commons debacle.

The city originally gave developer Mitchell Schneider permission to upgrade his property from light commercial to heavy commercial.

That decision was overturned in court.

Graczyk said he doesn't think the same rules apply in this case. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-17-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Graczyk wants vote on Avon Commons

AVON -- City Council should officially put the Avon Commons strip mall behind it by voting it down, Council President Ted Graczyk said last night -- despite protests made by another councilman.

... Some council members said it makes sense to wait until the legal appeal filed by Avon Commons developer Mitchell Schneider over the zoning of his land is resolved before voting the project down.

Councilman Shaun Brady noted that Planning Commission took months to review the project. ... ''The developer made an awful lot of concessions that were good for the city,'' Brady said. ''The city has, in my opinion, no tools to extract these concessions from him once he's given the green light from the courts.''

But Graczyk disagreed.

''It does no good to let it set there,'' he said. ''I'm sure the appeal process will go on for a long time.''

Schneider's architect, Richard Carlisle, said it could result in a waste of money if council votes the plans down. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-17-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Recall Vote Dec. 15

AVON -- The special election to determine whether Avon Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy should be removed from office has been set for Dec. 15 by the Lorain County Board of Elections. ...

'This is not a recall sponsored by Council,' Kilroy said. 'It's private citizens -- Even though Mr. Graczyk has attempted to depict it as an action of Council, it's not. It's Gerald Phillips and Ted Graczyk acting as private citizens.'

Graczyk ... said at last night's Council meeting that the special election, in which only Ward 4 residents will vote, will cost [Avon] about $1000. [So Phillips can chalk up $1000 more against Avon.]

Graczyk said Phillips, who led the lawsuit against ... Avon Commons [along with Stark/Jacobs lawyers Timothy Grendell and Tom Smith]... helped gather signatures because he felt insulted by Kilroy who did not support him as a candidate for the position that opened when former Council President Ed Krystowski resigned ...

'I think it's ironic that I'm being accused of arguing too much and yet it's Graczyk and Phillips that are pointing the finger,' Kilroy said. 'I think they should look in the mirror. To do this unholy alliance with Gerald Phillips sort of begs the question of who's really obstructing things in this town.'

Graczyk, however, said that Phillips is good at campaigning ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 11-18-98, By Rich Exner

"AVON - Councilman Jack Kilroy says he will not leave office unless the voters tell him to. ...

The recall effort is the work of Council President Ted Graczyk, ...

'I don't know if it is crazy or desperate,' Kilroy said of the recall attempt. 'It is unusual. Usually recalls would be citizen - initiated, not initiated by members of Council.' ...

And he [Graczyk] has the support of Council members who do not live in Kilroy's ward.

Ward 1 Councilman Niels Jensen said: 'I have supported the recall for one reason. He [Kilroy] was the one who got Ed Krystowski out' ...

Krystowski resigned from the Council in May ... following a controversy over his selling tractors and landscaping equipment to a developer building the Red Tail Golf Club in Avon ...."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-18-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Kilroy to fight recall

AVON -- ''My plan is to fight the recall,'' said Jack Kilroy, Avon's embattled Ward 4 councilman. Rather than resign, Kilroy announced yesterday that he will face the recall election forced by City Council President Ted Graczyk, who wants him ousted from council.

''The whole recall is wrong. It's just the wrong thing to be done, and I don't want to see that triumph,'' said Kilroy. He was first elected last fall as a write-in candidate.

... Graczyk did not return two phone calls for comment yesterday, but said previously he thinks the recall drive will easily succeed in ousting Kilroy.

In the meantime, Kilroy conceded that there is tension between him and Graczyk at council meetings, but he stressed that it doesn't bother him.

''It's never been easy on council taking a minority position with a chair that does not tolerate debate and dissent,'' Kilroy said. ... ''We're going to run a very positive campaign. I think the whole thing started out very negative with the filing of the petition by Graczyk and (attorney Gerald Phillips.)''

A pro-Kilroy political action committee, called Citizens for Responsible Government, has been formed. Its treasurer, At-large Councilman Shaun Brady, said one pro-Kilroy mailing has been sent out and several more are planned."

COMMENTARY from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-21-98, By JOSEPH L. WAGNER, Morning Journal Politics Writer

"Free speech is really not free.

An outspoken person usually pays a steep price for openness.

Ask Avon Councilman Jack Kilroy, a rabble rouser whose incessant challenges to the status quo have made him the target of a recall move by some of his colleagues who pine for the good old days when they and their former leader, Ed Krystowski, could sit in the back room and cut deals.

Ask Lorain County Joint Vocational Board Member Bill Ivancic, who this week began mobilizing a coup d'etat to topple the disgraced JVS Board President David Updegraff on whose watch the school plunged into a deep public corruption scandal. As Ivancic made the long overdue call for new JVS leadership, other members began subtly attacking him.

-----------------

JVS Board Member Leonard DeChant even went as far as to suggest Ivancic was clueless on a new direction for the district. If anyone is clueless, it's DeChant, who supported both Krystowski and indicted former JVS superintendent Bill Ruth. DeChant even went as far as to hire indicted JVS architect Robert Bregar in Avon Schools. ...

Yes, DeChant and his likes will be laying in the weeds to ambush Ivancic. ...

Let's get back to Kilroy.

It would be a travesty to recall him. I'm presuming he was sent by voters to City Hall to help clean up the mess left by Krystowski and his pal Councilman Ted Graczyk. As we now know, Krystowski was found to be in conflict of interest by the Ohio Ethics Commission for selling heavy duty equipment to developers and builders who had to appear before him to win approval on zonings and permits.

He also sold some heavy equipment to the Avon government.

I've never met Kilroy, but I've covered a few of the issues he's been involved with. I do know, for example, that he helped pressure FirstMerit Bank to invest more money in Lorain County as a condition for the community groups' endorsement of FirstMerit's take over of PremierBank.

Kilroy stood up to one of the biggest guys on the block and won big time concessions for the little guy. That's why we send people to government.

Avon voters can send Graczyk and the old Krystowski clique a message that it will no longer be business as usual in their growing community by giving Kilroy a major vote of confidence. ..."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-23-98, By Randy Loth

"To The Editor: Avon City Council President Ted Graczyk's action to recall fourth ward councilman Jack Kilroy ... is highly questionable ethically. ...

I attend council meetings regularly ... Jack Kilroy is an 'outsider' who states his beliefs after doing his homework, whereas Graczyk frequently seems inadequately informed.

... If the council president is unable to handle opposition, he should not hold that office. ... It is significant that he has chosen ... Gerald Phillips ... as co-conspirator. Phillips is an expert at wasting taxpayer money in frivolous and personal issues.

My wife and I strongly support Jack Kilroy and urge other fair-minded people to do the same."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 11-24-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON - Avon Commons developer Mitchell Schneider said ... 'Our current thinking is to wait at least until the recount has taken place and then make a determination regarding our next steps' ...

The strip mall came 13 votes closer to victory ... Official election results show the shopping center zoning change question lost by a vote of 2069 to 2119.

'It does seem unlikely that the plan described in the current subdividers agreement will be the likely outcome,' Schneider said..."

ENDORSEMENT BY THE PRESS, 12-2-98

"Vote to retain Kilroy in office

AVON -- Soon residents of the City of Avon will be asked to decide whether Councilman Jack Kilroy should remain in office. Council President Ted Graczyk circulated a petition to recall the Ward 4 councilman. Graczyk is a resident of that ward. ...It appears that council would like to deal with an item once, make a decision and dispose of the action. Kilroy has a tendency to deliberate, to examine the repercussions of an action, to demand more accountability from applicants for an action. ...

Kilroy is very adept at voicing his thoughts. His questions are probing and insightful. His thinking is different, quick and forceful. Unfortunately, it appears that the rest of council, except for Councilman Shaun Brady who champions Kilroy, does not appreciate Kilroy's insights.

This, however, is not reason enough to recall an able representative. Graczyk claims that he has had numerous courses in conflict management. He said his walls at work were lined with certificates commending him on completion of the courses. Unfortunately, he does not appear to use the information delivered. ...

This recall is a very foolish action, a waste of time and money. Grow up. Stretch. Get beyond personalities. Temper words. Knuckle under for the betterment of the city. Nobody said life was fair.

We urge you to vote NO on recall."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE PRESS, 12-2-98, By Jack Kilroy

"Voters in Avon's Ward 4 will go to the polls in December to decide whether Graczyk and Phillips will prevail in their maneuver to remove me from Council.

Some of the issues we will be facing in the upcoming year are:

* Should we rezone property to permit Stark & Jacobs to proceed with a mega-mall that would forever change the character of Avon?

* Can we allow Nagle Road to be turned into a highway connecting I-90 and I-480?

* Will the public be protected when we rewrite the Rules of Council?

* Do we want to continue to fight the EPA decision to allow Xerxes to increase its output of Styrene into the air we breathe?

* When will we move forward with road and sewer impact fees that will force developers to pay their fair share?

The recall election is about who will represent Ward 4 on these critical issues for our future. Over the past 11 months, I have established that I will "stand up and be counted" when it is time to protect the interests of Ward 4 homeowners.

If the recall succeeds, Ted Graczyk will pick someone who will "go along with the crowd" to represent Ward 4.

If the recall is defeated on December 15, you know you will have an honest and hardworking councilman on your side.

Jack Kilroy"

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 12-3-98, By Karen Henderson

"... Developer Mitchell Schneider, who asked for a recount, ... gained three votes ... 2119 [no] to 2072 [yes, a loss by 47 votes]."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-4-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Kilroy election complaint due

AVON -- Councilman Shaun Brady intends to file a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission today alleging many of his fellow Avon City Council members are using unfair practices in their crusade to recall Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy.

Specifically, Brady said the anti-Kilroy council members used his name on a mailing without his permission ...

''They used my name without authorization,'' Brady said. ''If they weren't trying to do something deceptive, they wouldn't have put my name on there at all. Ted Graczyk personally called me, and I told him that I would not sign (the literature) and didn't want to be a part of it.''

Brady said he wrote a letter to each member of council asking for them to correct the error, but never heard back.

''I had no intention of filing a complaint against people I have to work with for the next year,'' he said. ''I wanted a complete retraction, and they refused to do it. The bottom line is that they're lying ..."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRONICLE - TELEGRAM, 12-8-98, By Ted Rink

"...I would encourage all the residents of Ward 4 to exercise your right to vote on Dec. 15 and vote against the recall of your representative, Jack Kilroy. My observations of his conduct during those [Council] meetings ... His presentations were very professional. I believe he is serving your best interests. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-9-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Developer scraps Avon Commons for strip mall

AVON -- After a narrow defeat in the November election, developer Mitchell Schneider has decided to scrap his proposed Avon Commons shopping center in favor of at least eight smaller projects, including a small strip mall and an office park.

Schneider said it has always been his preference to develop a ''first-class Avon Commons-like retail facility with impressive landscaping, recreational facilities, a family orientation, and roadway improvements improving traffic flow.

''However, given the outcome of the Nov. 3 election, we are currently redirecting our efforts toward the commercial development of this 85-acre parcel in multiple parcels of 10 acres or less.'' Schneider said.

According to a ruling by the Lorain County Common Pleas Court, Schneider must either develop his Detroit Road land in smaller parcels or have his land rezoned to permit for large projects. Schneider lost a drive to have his land rezoned at the ballot by a 47-vote margin.

Now, Schneider said he is forced to develop his land in what he once described as a ''hodge podge'' fashion.

The first two parcels are planned to be a small strip mall with buildings less than 20,000 square feet and an office park. The entire 85 acres, which will be developed in phases, will be called the Avon Commerce Park.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith said the zoning classification Schneider intends to build under will permit him to build a total of 900,000 square feet of retail. Plans reviewed for Avon Commons totaled only about 600,000 square feet.

The less-restrictive classification also limits the road improvements Schneider must finance. He had originally intended to make $1.5 million worth of improvements on Detroit Road and SR83.

While the Avon Commons plans called for at least 120 feet between any buildings and nearby property owners, the new plans only require a 10-foot buffer. The first two phases of the project will be built along Detroit Road; The old plans hid the view of Avon Commons from the road.

''I figured that this was going to happen,'' Smith said. ''That was my worry. If this is not a ploy then we're not going to get as nice a development as we had before. And I don't think this is a ploy. I think he has a lot of money invested in the project.''

Councilman Shaun Brady said Schneider is being forced to develop under the zoning classification residents voted to keep on Nov. 3.

''By following our zoning to a tee, it creates a hodge podge development down there comparable to your worst commercial nightmare,'' Brady said. ''He has no choice. This is what the majority of the voters said that they wanted.''

Council President Ted Graczyk, however, said he doubts there will be enough of a demand for smaller retail spaces to fill the 85 acres. ...

Schneider said his specific plans are to develop the first two, 10-acre parcels himself.

''From that point forward, we'll be discussing various opportunities and options as the commerce park unfolds,'' he said. ''We can only plan this 10 acres at a time. A lot of the planning will take place in 2 and 3 and 4 acre increments.''

While he still has an appeal pending with the Ninth District Court of Appeals, Schneider said he doubts the rezoning issue will be resolved quickly in courts. Even if he wins, he said he expects attorney Gerald Phillips to appeal.

In the meantime, Schneider said he is moving forward with his new plans, which he will present to Planning Commission in January. He said he might break ground as early as this spring.

He said it is unlikely that Avon Commons as it was originally proposed will go forward.

''I would only say that our preference has always been to develop an Avon Commons-like facility,'' he said. ''If the community -- whether by virtue of its government or its citizenry -- wants to pursue that matter, it would be our pleasure to assist in that effort. And to come back with an even better version of Avon Commons.""

COMMUNITY PULSE... AND OPINION, The PRESS, 12-9-98, By R.J. Hemmer

"Endorsement? On last week's front page we ran a headline that read "Vote to retain Jack Kilroy on Council." Over the next few days we received a couple of calls asking about the article and its purpose. The question was whether or not the story under the headline was supposed to be a "news story" or an "endorsement" to keep Kilroy on council.

If you read the item in its entirety, you would have realized it was in fact an "endorsement" to "vote NO" on Kilroy's recall. We inadvertently left off the endorsement tag which should have appeared above the headline which caused the confusion.

As we indicated last week, those council members trying to oust Jack Kilroy are certainly entitled to their opinions. On the other hand, Councilman Jack Kilroy hasn't broken any laws and was duly elected by the residents of Ward IV. The only real displeasure with his performance comes from other members of council -- in particular Council President Ted Graczyk and his family members.

Kilroy thinks differently, approaches issues differently and handles himself differently than his council counter parts. This is no reason to force a recall of Jack Kilroy. There are still six other members of Avon council to get the job done.

I mirror last week's editorial endorsement to retain Jack Kilroy. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 12-9-98, By JoAnne Easterday

"Avon Commons back on the table

AVON -- First Interstate Development has made application to the Avon Planning Commission to give three informal presentations at the Dec. 16 meeting. To be considered are

1) a conceptual master plan for 85 acres of C-2 development -- Avon Commerce Park.

2) A non-residential land development of preliminary plans for a muli-tenant, multi-phased business center approximately 10 acres to be known as the "Avon Multi-Tenant Business Center."

3) A non-residential land development and preliminary plans for an open-air retail shopping center and associate improvements on approximately 10 acres. ...

Schneider wrote that in as much as his appeal of Judge Janas's opinion ... will not likely be heard before Spring of 1999 and that a favorable decision would likely be appealed, he had decided to develop the land with the C-2 zoning classification.

Schneider wrote, "Our preference has always been and continues to be the choice of developing this parcel in an integrated fashion and bringing to Avon a first-class Avon Commons-like retail facility with impressive landscaping, recreational facilities, a family orientation, and roadway improvements improving traffic flow from its current condition. However, given the outcome of the November 3 election, we are currently redirecting our efforts toward the commercial development of this 85 area parcel in multiple parcels of 10 acres of less.

Council President Ted Graczyk said, ... "It will be difficult to put in (the development) because of sewer constraints. We will put this on the next work session," ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (12-9-98) By Mike Sakal

"Avon Council head, daughter accused of false statements

AVON -- The second complaint within a week has been filed with the Ohio Elections Commission against a group of residents and City Council members supporting the recall of 4th Ward Councilman Jack Kilroy.

A probable cause hearing on the matter is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the Ohio Elections Commission in Columbus on a complaint filed early Tuesday by Avon resident Ellen Young.

Young serves as the deputy treasurer for Citizens for Open and Accountable Government, a group supporting Kilroy. She also lives in the 4th Ward.

The new complaint names Avon City Council President Ted Graczyk Jr. and his daughter, Melanie Graczyk, who collected signatures on petitions for Kilroy's recall. ...

"I believe they are in violation of the Ohio Revised Code concerning unfair election practices, specifically false and misleading statements on petitions,'' Young said.

Young accuses Melanie Graczyk of saying Kilroy passed out pencils too close to a polling place during the November 1997 election. Young said that allegation is false.

Young also said that Ted Graczyk's petition to put the recall on the ballot cited Kilroy's statements against British Petroleum Co. Ltd. as being the driving force behind BP's lawsuit against the city. ...

"Jack (Kilroy) isn't even named in the lawsuit,'' Young said. ..."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE PRESS, 12-9-98, By Julie Keller

"I've never been one to step into the political arena by stating my personal views to the public, but the action of the Jack Kilroy recall has brought me to write this letter. ...

The bottom line, as I see it, is that Ted Graczyk has a personal grudge and conflict with Kilroy because Kilroy refuses to act as Graczyk's puppet... I believe his conflict with Kilroy is simply the fact that he can't sway Kilroy to vote in favor of his personal interests. Instead, Kilroy stands firm in his stance to fairly and adequately represent the interests of his ward citizens.

... And to hear another anti-Kilroy councilman quoted as saying, "What goes around comes around," referring to the ousting of Krystowski. How absurd! What type of reason is that? And correct me if I'm wrong, but Krystowski stepped down, he was not ousted. In my opinion, plain and simple, Krystowski was caught in a conflict of interest; Kilroy questioned it; Krystowski ran, blaming his resignation on Kilroy's "lies," yet the Ethics Committee confirmed Kilroy's accusations. No lies there. Krystowski left before he got caught. ...

I applaud Jack Kilroy and Shaun Brady for questioning and bringing a fresh opinion to council. ... Isn't there a council member that can stand up to what seems to be these "good old boy" "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" ways of thinking that are currently on council and say enough is enough? Yes, there is, and his name is Jack Kilroy! ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (12-10-98) By Mike Sakal

"... "I thought Mitchell Schneider was going to drop the project altogether, but he has too much money in it," said Councilman Niels Jensen. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-10-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon mall plan draws mixed reactions

... Detroit Road resident Kathy Herbst, however, said she prefers the Avon Commons plan more than the Avon Commerce Park. The situation is complicated, she said, because of the large shopping center and new highway interchange developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark want to build around Lear-Nagel Road.

''I think it's unrealistic to think that nothing's going to go there -- just as it's unrealistic to think there will be no more housing developments in Avon,'' she said. ''They're going to come.

''I think what we'll probably end up with is strip malls (on Schneider's land) and Dick Jacobs north of I-90. I think we're going to get the worst of both now.'' ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-12-98, By JIM VICKERS, Morning Journal Writer

"$104,000 spent to back Avon mall

AVON -- Developer Mitchell Schneider spent more than $104,000 on his failed bid to have 85 acres of land along Detroit Road rezoned for his Avon Commons shopping center, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday with the Lorain County Board of Elections.

Avon voters defeated the measure by 47 votes in November with the heavy-hitting rival development team of Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark campaigning against Schneider with a political action committee called Citizens for Good Planning.

Campaign finance reports show the Stark/Jacobs group spent $50,000 in its crusade to convince voters to defeat the zoning change. ... The Stark/Jacobs team is proposing its own mega-development in Avon with plans for a giant retail district, offices and a new I-90 interchange at Lear-Nagel Road. ...

Two other PACs formed in the months leading up to the November vote on the Avon Commons rezoning spent considerably less on campaign efforts.

Citizens of Avon for Responsible Environmental Development spent $5,858 to campaign against the zoning change, according to its campaign finance report. The group's treasurer, Linda Eadilis, was a plaintiff in a zoning lawsuit filed against Schneider.

Avon First, which was a loosely-formed group put together to keep Avon residents informed about commercial development, spent $1,555 for mailings to residents, according to reports.

Since the November defeat, Schneider announced this week he would proceed with plans to develop his land as it is currently zoned [as defined by Judge Thomas Janas] -- meaning that no building can be larger than 20,000 square feet, and the land must be developed in 10-acre segments.

Subsequently, Avon Commons has become Avon Commerce Park. And Schneider announced that his first move would be to build a small strip mall and an office park on Detroit Road."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 12-12-98, By Rich Exner

"... That group's [Citizens of Avon for Responsible Environmental Development] chief contributor was attorney Gerald Phillips [$3100 -- Avon's tax dollars at work!] ...

Taylor J. Smith ... said the Jacobs money was spent on negative advertising. 'The election proved that negative advertising works,' Smith said. 'Richard Jacobs won on Nov. 3.' ...

First Interstate President Mitchell Schneider ... is scheduled to appear before the Avon Planning Commission next week [7:30 pm, 12-16-98, at City Hall] with plans for smaller buildings that would comply with current zoning. Taylor J. Smith said he expected ground to be broken this spring."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-16-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Kilroy beats recall

AVON -- Councilman Jack Kilroy easily survived a bitter campaign to force him out of office when residents of his Avon Ward 4 yesterday voted against recalling him by a 3 to 1 margin.

''The voters have spoken and spoken very emphatically,'' said Kilroy, who was elected to Avon City Council last November as a write-in candidate.

According to unofficial election results, 431 people in Ward 4 voted to keep Kilroy on City Council, and only 137 people voted to remove him. Only residents of Kilroy's ward were eligible to vote. Ward 4 stretches south of Detroit Road from Jaycox Road to the Westlake border.

The drive to recall Kilroy began in November when Council President Ted Graczyk began collecting signatures to oust Kilroy. ...

Councilman Shaun Brady, Kilroy's only supporter on council, said the victory proves Avon residents saw through Graczyk's attempt to squelch any dissenting voice. ...

Mayor Jim Smith, who refused to take sides on the recall drive, said council members have to put the issue behind them. ...

''We have to work together,'' Smith said. ''That's what we're there for. That's all I want -- to do the best we can for the city.''

Kilroy said ''... (Graczyk) reached a conclusion that he couldn't work with me, and that I have to go. He's got to examine his own role now. ... It was a difficult campaign because my colleagues on council went to the doors of every one of my neighbors and spread very negative and malicious slanted statements about me,'' he said. ''My reputation absolutely was being maligned.''

Kilroy said an even bigger issue is the $1,200 the special election cost Avon taxpayers. ... Despite the turmoil of his first year in office, Kilroy said he plans to run again when his term expires in November.

''Even if I would have lost tonight, I would have run again,'' Kilroy said. ''I intend to be around for a long time.'' "

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (12-16-98) By Mike Sakal

"AVON - Embattled Councilman Jack Kilroy soundly defeated all five of his opponents [and Gerald Phillips] ... and former Board of Zoning Appeals member Jackie Scott ... were on hand at the Lorain County Board of Elections office in Elyria when the results were announced. ..."

COMMUNITY PULSE... AND OPINION, The PRESS, 12-16-98, By R.J. Hemmer

"... Someone once said, "You had better be careful what you wish for -- it might come true." So is the case with Avon activist attorney Gerald Phillips and Linda Eadelis in their successful efforts to derail Avon Commons.

So where does Avon Commons developer Mitchell Schneider go from here? Since changing the zoning from C-2 to C-3 has been voted down, it should come as no surprise that the developer will reshuffle his deck and now meet the current requirements of Avon C-2 zoning. Looking ahead, I am not too sure those who voted against the change will be happy with Schneider's C-2 proposal. Regardless, he will meet the city's zoning requirements and be perfectly legal.

By resubmitting his new proposal he will no longer be required to make the $2.5 million traffic chnages that he had once agreed to do. In his C-3 rezoning issue there were to be seven additional traffic lights surrounding the area. This included lights at Chester and SR 83, the I-90 ramps, and the addition of extra lanes at SR 83 and Detroit.

Another point worthy of attention from Avon residents is the buffer zone between residential property and the Commons project. In the C-3 proposal, Schneider agreed to an 80 foot buffer. The C-2 requires only 10 feet.

I spoke with an Avon husband and wife last week who are beside themselves. They voted against Avon Commons and now they wish they hadn't. The wife says, "We were duped. I think we shot ourselves in the foot with our rejection of this project." ...

In Avon, many voters believed their "no" vote was a total rejection of the commercial development, or, as the anti-Commons people labelled "commercial sprawl". They have found out that building will take place and it will be nothing like the First Interstate C-3 proposal. Under C-2, Schneider can build 900,000 square feet instead of 650,000 square feet as was planned with C-3. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 12-16-98, By JoAnne Easterday

"... Mayor James Smith had some misgivings about the proposed C-2 development devised to replace Avon Commons. ... The Mayor said three businesses have already contacted him to express interest in the C-2 development in the last week ...

Mayor Smith also chafed at the decision voters made on Nov. 3 in denying the rezoning to okay the development of Avon Commons. He compared the stop-the-development action to the action on the part of Avonites in trying to stop sanitary sewer development a number of years ago.

He said in spite of the fact that the federal government had agreed to pay for a part of the sewer development, people would not okay the work.

Smith said in the end the ... government demanded that Avon put in sewers and wouldn't help pay for it because of the stalling. 'We outsmarted ourselves'..." [Avon ended up in the French Creek sewer system paying very high rates. A step-by-step description of these events is given in the HISTORICAL SKETCH OF AVON, OHIO, TO 1974.]

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-19-98, By JIM VICKERS, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON - Mayor Jim Smith said he has received calls from residents interested in giving developer Mitchell Schneider's original Avon Commons plan another look, ...

'I've had some people calling me today wondering what they could do to get it back on the ballot,' he said. 'Some of them had second thoughts, and some didn't realize what they were voting on.'

... Schneider plans to break ground on a 10-acre business park and 10-acre shopping area this summer. The latest plans comply with current zoning [as defined by Judge Janas] for the property.

Smith said yesterday he has been told by some people that they thought they were voting against commercial development altogether ...

Smith attributed the confusion surrounding the recent Avon Commons vote to fierce campaigning against the plan. Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark, who are planning their own mega - development near I-90 and Lear-Nagel Road spent $50,000 campaigning against the zoning change. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-22-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON - City Council last night [12-21-98 work session] rejected a proposal to place a moratorium on the rezoning of land for commercial development -- a move that could have affected ... the proposed Avon Commons ... Council member Shirley Piazza Doss ... suggested the short term ban on commercial growth ... [See the request for a moratorium on commercial development made by Gerald Phillips and described here in a NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 11-12-98]

Last week, Council repealed a resolution vowing not to rezone [residential] land for commercial use. Passed last year, the legislation was originally intended to send a message to developers Robert Stark and Richard Jacobs ... Since then, Law Director Dan Stringer said he examined the resolution and found that it could make the City vulnerable to lawsuits. ...

Developer Mitchell Schneider revealed new plans last week for his Detroit Road property that included a small strip mall and office park, but held out hope that his Avon Commons shopping center could be revived if City Council and Avon residents support the rezoning ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 12-24-98, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"Avon Commons site getting a new plan

AVON - Supporters of Avon Commons ... said all along that the 85-acre parcel of land on the corner of Detroit and Center Roads would be developed at some point ...

Phillips said he wants the City to consider a moratorium on commercial development ...."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 12-23-98, By JoAnne Easterday

"... Council Woman Shirley Doss ... asked that council consider declaring a moratorium on rezoning "until council and planning commission can work together to work on the master plan's terminology." Doss would like the master plan to have more authority, be a guidepost.

More than a year ago council had voted to uphold the master plan and not allow any rezoning from residential to commercial. This had been written as a resolution. Unlike other resolutions that one had been codified. Last week council rescinded that resolution on the advice of Law Director Stringer. Brady said that in his research a moratorium on rezoning would not likely be defendable in court. Stringer concurred.

On a run down of opinions, Brady said "No" to the moratorium.

Councilman Michael McDonough said, "I like it the way it is (as council voted last week)."

Niels Jensen said, "That's my feeling, too."

David Kaiser said, "I don't want to see it (the language) get convoluted and messy.

Kilroy said during the discussion that he saw no need to implement a moratorium. ..."

COMMUNITY PULSE... AND OPINION, The PRESS, 12-23-98, By R.J. Hemmer

"... Commons chatter. I spoke with an Avon resident who owns property in the Avon Commons area last week, who wants to be part of an effort to put the issue back on the ballot. I am not sure there is a ground swell of support for such a move, but you can believe some people are starting to grumble about what might happen there. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-29-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON ... Avon City Council ... members voted unanimously [12-28-98] to defeat plans for the proposed Avon Commons shopping center -- a move requested by developer Mitchell Schneider who said he now intends to build a series of smaller projects on the land."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 12-30-98, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON ... last night [12-29-98] ... sewer plans were reviewed by the Avon Planning Commission.

Engineer Robert Papotto [Neff and Associates], who represents ... First Interstate [Development] Company said he [Mitchell Schneider] intends to install an 8-inch sewer along Detroit Road and a 12-inch sewer through the middle of the 85-acre parcel of land.

'The bottom line is we want to follow the master plan as as closely as possible,' Papotto said. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (12-30-98) By Mike Sakal

"AVON - The developer [Joe Scaletta] of the Avenbury Lakes subdivision said car dealers have contacted him with questions about local utilities, which makes him think a shopping center planned for Detroit and Center roads will include dealerships. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 12-30-98, By JoAnne Easterday

"Avon Business Park/Square Shopping Center plans shown

AVON -- Mitchell Schneider of First Interstate Development is proceeding with plans for the Avon Business Park and Park Square Shopping Center at the 86-acre site of proposed, but abandoned Avon Commons.

Richard Carlisle, development manager for First Interstate, has asked City Council [12-21-98] to untable the proposal for Avon Commons so that the development can be cleared from the books and the alternative plan for development can be brought forth.

During discussion at the Council work session no consensus could be reached among members to bring about a second referendum to rezone the land north of Detroit Road, just east of SR 83 and allow for the large store development proposed for Avon Commons ...

Avon Lake Mayor Vince Urbin expressed dismay that the citizens of his neighboring city had turned down the zoning to allow for Avon Commons.

"I thought Avon Commons would pass," Urbin said. He expressed further dismay about the possible development proposed by Stark/Jacob. The site currently zoned for industrial development north of Interstate 90 between Lear and Jaycox Roads would consist of 600 acres of commercial and business development.

Urbin said, "If Mr. Jacobs pulls that off, we might just as well forget it (tranquility). I need to be concerned about Lear Road." The mayor said he envisions having to widen Lear Road to provide easy access to the shopping center. ...

Urbin said he has been told that Mr. Jacob's is eager to meet with him and discuss the particulars of the development, but the mayor said there has been no direct contact with him by Jacobs."

COMMUNITY PULSE... AND OPINION, The PRESS, 12-30-98, By R.J. Hemmer

"... The Avon Commons failure has started to creep into the thinking of Avon Lake's politicians. Mayor Vince Urbin is concerned about the acreage on Lear Road in Avon that Stark/Jacobs is going to need to have rezoned for their eventual commercial plan. The Avon Lake Mayor is wondering what type of effect this mega project will have on Avon Lake's portion of Lear road. Urbin has indicated some Avon Lake residents don't want Avon Lake to widen Lear Road to accommodate the suggested project, thus slowing down or boxing Jacobs out.

I've said this before -- Avon residents are really going to get their eyes opened when they see the Stark/Jacobs proposal. It's going to make Mitch Schneider's failed Avon Commons look like a mini corner shopping center. Why do you think the Jacobs group spent $50,000 in their efforts to defeat Avon Commons?"

Newspaper Record of Stark/Jacobs in Avon

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

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