Newspaper Record of STARK/JACOBS in Avon,
Ohio -- March 1, 1999 to March 18, 1999

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-2-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON -- Developer Mitchell Schneider has refiled his slander lawsuit against attorney Gerald Phillips in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. ...

The case stems from a letter to the editor Phillips wrote that was published by The Morning Journal ... The letter, according to Schneider, contains statements Phillips knew were false.

Because The Morning Journal is also distributed in Cuyahoga County, Schneider was able to file the case there. He has dropped the lawsuit filed in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

When the case was dismissed in Lorain County, a countersuit filed by Phillips was automatically dropped ... Phillips said yesterday that he plans to refile the suit ... because Schneider allegedly threatened him after the 1998 Avon meeting [2-26-98] in which the Zoning Board ruled that Schneider's Avon Commons shopping center was zoned properly, a ruling that was overturned last summer in the Lorain County Common Pleas Court [by Judge Thomas Janas on June 8, 1998].

Schneider said Phillips' claim is 'completely without merit.'

Phillips ... has scrutinized every move made by Schneider and city officials since plans for the 85-acre development were first introduced in the fall of 1997 ... He has fought Schneider's landscape buffering plans for the office complex he [Schneider] plans to build on Detroit Road if Avon Commons does not win voter approval.

Last week, Avon's Zoning Board ruled that Schneider's buffering plans meet city requirements.

Phillips also participated in the failed drive to recall Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy.

Most recently, Phillips filed a complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission alleging that Mayor James Smith has a conflict of interest because of land he owns across I-90 from the site of Avon Commons."

Another Phillips action against Avon is described in the following news article:

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (2-24-99) By Mike Sakal

"AVON -- Attorney Gerald Phillips and 15 Center Road residents who live near the proposed Avon Business Park site filed a lawsuit Tuesday [2-23-99] against the City of Avon.

In the suit filed in the County Common Pleas Court, the residents contend the City illegally issued developer Mitchell Schneider an incorrect permit allowing him to tear down trees ...

A preliminary hearing in Common Pleas Court before Judge Edward Zaleski is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 5."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-3-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon Commons faces last chance in special election

AVON -- Voters will likely have one last chance to resurrect the Avon Commons shopping center at a June 1 special election, after a citizens group filed petitions yesterday at Avon City Hall.

The 85-acre project appeared to be dead after losing a zoning lawsuit and then suffering a narrow defeat in last November's election, but Avon resident Bob Barnhart decided the development deserved another shot.

Yesterday at noon, Barnhart turned in signatures from 2,379 residents who support his goal. He needed only 1,979 signatures in order to force a special election for Avon Commons.

Still, Barnhart said he won't know he's successful until the city verifies the signatures to make sure they're from registered voters -- a task Avon Council Clerk Pat Vierkorn said she will begin today.

''Hopefully, we have a more-than adequate buffer with 400 extra signatures,'' said Barnhart, a former Avon schools superintendent. ''This is kind of a new experience and you don't know what kind of technicalities you fall under. We tried to follow all the rules, but you never know.'' ...

Schneider said he hopes Avon Commons will be built, but he plans to continue seeking city approval for his alternate Detroit Road project -- including an office complex and small strip shopping mall -- in case voters do not approve the zoning change needed to allow Avon Commons.

''We will be supportive of Mr. Barnhart's efforts and work toward changing the zoning on this property to allow for Avon Commons,'' Schneider said. ''But I just want to caution that there's no assurance that this initiative will be successful, and the most prudent thing that I can do as a developer is to continue on the process of pursing the appropriate permits to develop this property in accordance with its current zoning designation.''

If the petitions are found to be valid, Barnhart said he will form a political action committee and campaign for the zoning changes by holding community meetings. But he stressed that there is still a long way to go. ... Schneider said he, too, would form a political action committee to push for Avon Commons. ...

The developer is also likely to face competition from rival developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark, who are proposing a 500-acre mixed-use development of their own for land around Lear-Nagel Road.

Last fall, the Stark-Jacobs team spent $50,000 on its crusade against Avon Commons. ...

In addition to Barnhart's petition drive, Avon resident Robert Ryant had hoped to collect enough signatures for his own ballot issue to appear June 1 next to Barnhart's. Ryant's plan, however, was to rezone Schneider's land for residential use only -- a move that city officials said could land the city in a lawsuit over property rights.

According to Avon's council clerk, Ryant did not turn in any petitions yesterday and has missed the deadline for a June 1 special election.

Although Ryant could put his issue on the ballot at a later date, he would have to begin gathering signatures all over again because the petitions he circulated stipulated a June 1 election date. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 3-3-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"AVON -- At a marathon meeting [2-25-99] which lasted until after midnight, the Zoning Board of Appeals denied ... Phillips' ... appeal concerning the buffering of Avon Business Park ...

To support his contention that there was insufficient buffering Phillips introduced and questioned Steven Targove, who said he had a B. S. in landscape architecture ... However, he did point out several times that he was not a 'landscape architect.'

Sheldon Burns, attorney for First Interstate Development and Mitchell Schneider, disclosed that Targove was a practicing attorney with the firm of Grendell and Targove. Burns stated that Timothy Grendell had represented Robert Stark in the past and currently Stark is part of the rival developers Stark/Jacobs.

... Burns pressed Phillips to identify the section of the code or a memorandum that showed that Schneider was in violation of the code. Phillips did not specify either. ...

Law Director Daniel Stringer pointed out it was the Board's duty to determine if the Planning Commission acted in 'an arbitrary, capricious or unlawful manner.' Based on the evidence he [Phillips] presented, Stringer asked, 'Did he meet the burden of proof' that the Planning Commission voted 'contrary to our ordinances?'

When Phillips objected to the words 'arbitrary, capricious and unlawful,' Stringer said, 'Those were your words.' ...

The decision to deny was unanimous."

CROSS ROADS from The PRESS, 3-3-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"... Just in passing, I would say I think the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals each should receive gold stars in their heavenly crowns for sitting respectfully through a five hour and fifteen minute meeting ...

It may be as Law Director Daniel Stringer said, that this appeal step was a means to 'exhaust administrative remedies' before going to court again ..."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of THE PRESS, 3-3-99, by George O. Bliss

Avon residents need to address three issues. For one ... people who voted on the 80 acre Avon Commons C-3 issue were pretty much united in hoping to stop Stark/Jacobs 800 acre development, regardless of how they voted on the C-3 zoning issue.

To Mr. Gerald Phillips:

You say it is possible to defeat C-3 for Avon Commons and also keep Stark/Jacobs out?

How can you assure us of this when you (and I'm sure with the help of Stark/Jacobs) were able to get Judge [Thomas] Janas to go against the testimony of our ... Planning Commission?

The Planning Commission testified that the zoning has been on the books and the maps for years and always was intended for C-2 or C-3. Can you give us definite assurance that without C-3 on the 80 acres Stark/Jacobs will not be able to go before the court charging that Avon does not have enough C-3 zoning? ...

We can live with 80 acres, particularly the way Mr. Schneider is planning to help us with traffic, setbacks, etc. But 800 acres would destroy the east end of Avon, if not the whole city! ...

My second concern is the "free" interchange at Nagel and I-90 (Wednesday's news says that now Stark/Jacobs only wants to pay for half of it) ... We need to get messages to all our councilmen, Mayor, and especially the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to prevent any interchange from being built at Nagel and I-90.

Avon would have to create another Crocker Road up Nagel to the Ridgeville line. North Ridgeville would then have to continue it all the way to Lorain Road to access I-480 and the Turmpike.

The third point is that we should do all we can to get Chester Road ... continued through Bradley Road all the way to Clemens. This way the industries and others can access I-90 at both Crocker and Rt. 83, without having to backtrack. We have industrial zoning north of Chester Rd. that is already helping homeowners keep their taxes down.

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (3-4-99) By Mike Sakal

"Superstore gets initial Avon OK

AVON -- The city's first superstore is a step closer to being built.

The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved developer Mitchell Schneider's preliminary plans for a large retail store planned near Interstate 90 and state Route 611. ...

The 17-acre property is properly zoned to accommodate a superstore of more than 20,000 square feet.

The commission offered preliminary approval on condition that Schneider submit detailed plans to the city engineer incorporating an emergency entrance and possibly a second entrance at Moore Road if concerns about traffic are raised. ...

Earlier, Schneider considered adding a second entrance to the store at Moore Road. Instead, he stuck an emergency entrance connecting to Route 611 because residents living in condominiums near Moore Road were concerned about increased traffic, he said. ... "

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-6-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Suit leaves Avon officials and developer puzzled

AVON -- A judge set a trial date yesterday for the latest lawsuit regarding the Detroit Road property Mitchell Schneider hopes to develop, but both Schneider and city officials are questioning exactly what attorney Gerald Phillips is asking for in his suit.

Phillips, who represents residents who live near the proposed site of Schneider's development, filed suit against Schneider and the city of Avon claiming the Detroit Road land should not have been cleared while an appeal regarding the developer's landscape buffering plans was pending in front of the city zoning board of appeals.

But the Avon zoning board ruled last week Schneider's plan to use a fence and trees to screen his proposed Detroit Road office complex from Center Road residents was adequate.

''We were sitting there and saying 'What exactly does he want to be restrained?' The land has already been cleared,'' Avon Law Director Dan Stringer said yesterday. ''We were scratching our heads trying to figure it out, but Phillips was hard pressed to really answer the questions that we brought up.''

Despite the confusion, an April 16 trial date was set during a hearing yesterday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Much like city officials, Schneider said he does not understand the current lawsuit.

''He's got so many garbled claims in the complaint that I really am not clear on what relief he is looking for,'' Schneider said. ''But, apparently, we'll sort it out on the 16th''

Phillips, however, said his claims are clear.

While the buffering question may have been at least temporarily resolved, Phillips said there are other issues -- such as wetlands and filling in ditches -- which must be decided in court. Until they are, Phillips has asked a judge to order no further activity on the land. ...

Phillips said Schneider assured him no construction would occur on the land until June 1, the date Avon voters will most likely vote again whether or not to support the original Avon Commons shopping center plan.

The second vote was pushed by some Avon residents after Schneider unveiled his alternate plans which include the office complex, and a strip mall that complies with the current zoning.

If Avon Commons is approved by voters at the special June election, Schneider said he will abandon the current pending alternate plans."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-9-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Special election cleared for Avon Commons

AVON -- The final hurdle separating the Avon Commons shopping center and a special June 1 election was cleared yesterday when the city council clerk finished validating the petitions needed to put the project back on the ballot.

Resident Bob Barnhart, who led the drive to gather the necessary 1,979 signatures, received confirmation while lingering at City Hall after last night's council meeting.

''You got them,'' Council Clerk Patricia Vierkorn told Barnhart. ''We checked over 2,000. There was no problem. You had enough signatures.''

Barnhart said he and the 30 Avon residents helping him will now plot strategy for winning the election. Last fall, a ballot issue that would have cleared the way for the Avon Commons retail development lost by 47 votes.

''We have some work to do,'' Barnhart said. ''But we'll get on that real quick now that we know we're OK''

The first move, said Barnhart, will be to form a political action committee and arrange a calendar of activities. He said he does not anticipate the committee spending much money on the campaign. [There will be a meeting of Avon Citizens for Avon Commons C-3 on Sunday, March 21, 1999, at 33454 Willo Rd. from 4 to 6 pm. Call 937-6477 for further information.]

Instead, Barnhart said he and other campaigners will be available to speak to church, civic, school and neighborhood groups about the benefits of Avon Commons when compared to developer Mitchell Schneider's alternate plans for the Detroit Road land.

If Avon Commons does not go forward, Schneider said he plans to break the 85 acres of Detroit Road land up into a series of projects less than 10 acres, including a small strip mall and office complex.

Avon Commons is better than Schneider's other proposal because it would generate more tax revenue, and offer more traffic improvements and perks such as a summer concert area and recreational walkway, Barnhart said.

''That's our only objective,'' Barnhart said. ''To show the people that Avon Commons is of a much higher quality and will do much more for our city and school system.''

Although the city's planning board will hear a proposal Wednesday from rival developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark, Barnhart said he has ''no feelings about that whatsoever'' and will focus his campaign on the best use for the Detroit Road land."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-10-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon to hear from four big developers

AVON -- The four developers who have proposed massive projects for Avon, including hotels, shopping centers and office complexes will all be in the same room tonight at Avon City Hall.

The Planning Commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. with public hearings and will include the following:

-- Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark will unveil plans for their Vista: a 500-acre complex of stores, offices, parks, homes and restaurants to be centered around a new I-90 interchange at Lear-Nagel Road.

-- Mitchell Schneider is seeking approval of his sewer plans for the office complex and small strip mall he proposed for Detroit Road after his Avon Commons shopping center was narrowly defeated in last November's election.

Avon Commons will be back on the ballot at a special June 1 election, but Schneider said he will continue to pursue his alternate plans in case Avon Commons is defeated again.

-- Jerry Seifert of Avon Pointe Partners wants the planning commission to approve the layout of the buildings for his 8-acre project on the corner of Chester and Avon Belden Roads. He plans to build a Hawthorne Suites extended-stay hotel, Microtel Inn and Suites, a Bob Evans restaurant and a convenience store.

-- Lodging Industry Inc. is seeking preliminary plat approval of its plans for a Fairfield Inn by Marriott, gas station and two restaurants on the corner of Colorado Avenue and Chester Road. ..."

CROSS ROADS from The PRESS, 3-10-99, By JoAnne Easterday

... Robert Stark came to a meeting at the Lion's Community Center to explain his developing plans for the area between Jaycox and Lear [Nagel] Roads. At that time he lead me to believe that he had never spoken to Mitchell Schneider regarding a joint venture.

Later Mitchell Schneider immediately revealed to me that the two parties had already spoken and Schneider had turned down the group's offer to do a combined development.

That fact has always bugged me. I felt as if Stark deceived me ...

Now I re-read in a 1996 issued of our sister papaer WESTLIFE that Stark wrote them a letter saying Westlake voters could vote "to bring Starbucks, Eddie Bauer, Talbots and Zany Brainy to the Promenade." ...

The columnist Louise Seeholzer wrote: "THE ABOVE STATEMENTS FROM MR. STARK'S LETTER ARE INACCURATE. Voters can only vote on zoning - not stores." Then Seeholzer proceeds to show why Stark's letter is misleading.

Interesting apparent trend on Stark's part. It will be interesting to see how much adverse literature sponsored by the rival developers Stark/Jacobs will materialize to try to influence the people of Avon on Schneider's development. ...

Stark/Jacobs ... will be hosting small group meetings to talk with and educate people of Avon about their proposed plans. I welcome any information they have to offer. However, I know I don't appreciate deception ...

The recent connection of Stark and his lawyer Timothy Grendell and Steven Targove who palmed himself off as a landscape expert testifying for local attorney Gerald Phillips was very telling ...

It just doesn't look right. I'm not now presently opposed to any development in Avon. I am opposed to deception and lies.

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-11-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon wary of 'Vista', huge project clashes with city master plan

AVON -- After making their first pitch to Planning Commission last night, the Richard Jacobs-Robert Stark development team was told its 500-acre ''Vista'' complex of stores, offices, homes and hotels might not be welcome in Avon because it does not follow the city's master plan.

''I don't know if I can support this proposal'' said board member Paul Burik, citing a ''mandate'' to comply with the city's plan for future development. ''This is in direct contradiction to the master plan.''

The meeting, which drew nearly 150 residents, was the first time the Stark-Jacobs plans were reviewed by the planning board, but a spokesman for The Jacobs Group said it would not be the last.

''We plan to be in your community for a long time to come,'' said Jacobs Group Executive Vice President Thomas Henneberry. ...

''Avon is growing,'' Henneberry said. ''They have the opportunity to unlock a lot of this land ... but that involves a new interchange.''

The Stark-Jacobs team has offered to pay for a new I-90 interchange at Lear-Nagel Road if the city rezones land for the Vista project. But Council President Ted Graczyk said he's not convinced the move is in the best interest of Avon.

''I don't know if the trade-off is worth it,'' said Graczyk, council's representative to Planning Commission. ''You're going to have to sell us on it. It's not as if this doesn't happen we're not going to get any tax dollars.'' ...

Because of the different components of their plan, Henneberry said his team would like the city to create a new zoning classification that would permit all of the proposed elements of Vista.

But, while Henneberry said the mixed-use zoning would make things easier for both city officials and the developers, Planning Commission members said it would result in a loss of control for the city. ...

Center Road resident Bob Shelton said, ''The main part that I really enjoyed was when commission member Burik brought up the master plan. Stark and Jacobs are more concerned about developing their land than what happens to the community.'' ...

Randy Schwartz and Dick Binder, who attend nearly every city meeting, said they support the rival Avon Commons shopping center, and feel the Stark-Jacobs proposal is just too big.

''I don't want an interchange on Lear-Nagel Road,'' Binder said. ''There's too many schools on that road.'' ...

For his part, Henneberry said he thought the presentation went ''very well,'' but conceded that he and the city must still decide what the next step is. He said he hopes his presentation at Monday night's council meeting will be a starting point.

In other action, the planning board reviewed plans for the sewers for Schneider's Detroit road property, and site plans for the two hotel developments proposed by other developers for Chester Road. No final approval was granted on these projects last night."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (3-11-99) By Mike Sakal

"`Vista' unveiled in Avon

AVON ... Thomas Henneberry, a Jacobs Group executive vice president, detailed the project with a slide show of its different components. ...

[Henneberry] asked commission members to consider asking the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency for an interchange feasibility study at I-90.

Planning Commission chairman Jim Piazza, however, was unsure whether the Planning Commission would approve the PUD zoning.

"We have a tool in place that controls that,'' Piazza said. ... "I'm not sure whether we'd give up our right to consider rezoning issues.''

Council President Ted Graczyk Jr. also was skeptical. "Once you put a PUD in place, it's hard to restrict its use,'' ...

Dennis Sadowski, a Nagel Road resident, said after the meeting that he agreed with Wearsch.

"At some point, I would think Nagel Road would have to be widened with the increased traffic if this is built,'' Sadowski said. "We have two kids, and there are two schools nearby. All the traffic wouldn't make it very safe.''

The Stark-Jacobs group also will make a presentation of the Vista proposal before the full Council on Monday.

In other business, the Planning Commission approved sanitary sewer plans for developer Mitchell Schneider's Avon Business Park by a 4-0 vote. ...

Planning Commission members also unanimously passed preliminary plans for the Currie-Hall Investment Co.'s proposed project at state Route 83 and Chester Road.

Currie-Hall of Hudson is proposing a Bob Evans restaurant, a Microtel Inn motel, a Hawthorne Suites motel and two other restaurants at the site. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 3-11-99, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"Another try for shopping center

AVON - Former Avon Schools superintendent Robert Barnhart said his campaign to save Avon Commons is undeterred by the unveiling of plans for a rival retail development.

Developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark appeared before Planning Commission yesterday [3-10-99] to present their plans for "Avon Vista," a 500-acre mixed-use development, including about 150 acres of land zoned for retail use north of Interstate 90.

Barnhart collected a total of 2,379 valid signatures to put a rezoning issue on the ballot that would allow rival developer Mitchell Schneider to resurrect plans for Avon Commons, a retail development proposed last year for 85 acres of land near the corner of Detroit and Center Roads. A previous rezoning issue failed in November by a slim margin.

... A political action committee formed by the Jacobs/Stark team spent more than $40,000 on defeating Schneider's issue.

Schneider was forced to scale down his plans in the wake of the defeat, and announced that he would divide the 85-acre parcel into several smaller ones, and develop each separately. The first, a 10-acre pro ject called Avon Business Park, received preliminary approvals from the Planning Commission last month.

When residents learned of the new development, however, many wanted to change their votes, saying they had been misled into believing a "no" vote on Schneider's issue would mean the land would remain undeveloped. Barnhart began his drive to return the rezoning issue to voters about two months ago.

Barnhart said his team will now begin the process of campaigning for Avon Commons and the necessary rezoning. He stressed his group's singular purpose.

"We are not adversarial with any other group," he said. "We are only dealing with Avon Commons and (that zoning class) versus Avon Business Park," he said.

Avon Commons and the retail portion of Avon Vista are completely separate issues, Barnhart said. His group will campaign for Avon Commons, not against Avon Vista.

"We've maintained a very upbeat and positive attitude while we were collecting our signatures and we will continue that," he said.

The group will need to form a political action committee in order to raise and spend money. ...

Voters will decide on the rezoning issue at a June 1 special election.

[There will be a meeting of Avon Citizens for Avon Commons C-3 on Sunday, March 21, 1999, at 33454 Willo Rd. from 4 to 6 pm. Call 937-6477 for further information.]"

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-16-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON -- City Council last night decided not to support a study for a new I-90 interchange -- a move that, at least temporarily, closes the door on the 500-acre complex proposed by developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark.

After hearing a presentation given by The Jacobs Group, Council President Ted Graczyk polled council to see if it would support the traffic study the Jacobs-Stark team needs to go forward.

Councilman Shaun Brady said he was ''adamantly opposed.'' Councilman David Kaiser said the proposal ''scares him,'' and Councilman Jack Kilroy said Avon should ''stay out of it.''

''Then I'll make it unanimous,'' Graczyk said after each council member said they would not support the study. ''You haven't given us any reason to say yes.''

... in order to proceed with the interchange -- the key to the entire project -- the developers need to have a regional traffic study done by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). And that regional planning board needs a nod from Avon before beginning the study. ...

Henneberry said a new interchange is needed to unlock the industrial land north of I-90 for development. It would, he said, also improve traffic flow in the entire city -- especially surrounding the SR-83 interchange. ...

City Council members, however, remain unconvinced.

Graczyk said the city has spent millions building sewers and roads to service the industrial area. [The industrial area was not developed in the past because there were no sewers.]

Brady said the city doesn't need to ''start accepting free studies like this,'' especially when they could ''snowball into something we're not able to deal with.''

Kilroy said he received many phone calls from residents over the weekend, all of whom were against a new interchange because it would ''ruin the character of their area, particularly along Lear-Nagel Road.'' ...

Although Henneberry was told that council would not support the interchange study at this time, Henneberry asked if he could meet with either council or Planning Commission to discuss the Vista project and the interchange.

''We certainly would open that line of communication,'' Graczyk responded."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (3-16-99) By Mike Sakal

"... For now, Stark and Jacobs are moving forward with an independent traffic study being conducted by Parsons Engineering of Columbus. That study, which Henneberry expects to be completed in two weeks, is aligned with the current zoning in the area Stark and Jacobs has targeted."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 3-17-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon riled by Jacobs phone poll

AVON -- A phone survey sponsored by developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark has confused some residents and angered at least one councilman, who said the survey asked too many questions not related to their project.

The survey polled residents on whether Mayor Jim Smith is trustworthy, their opinion of developer Mitchell Schneider's proposed Avon Commons shopping center and the popularity of anti-Avon Commons attorney Gerald Phillips, said Councilman Shaun Brady.

A spokesman for The Jacobs Group said he could not release a copy of the phone survey questions to The Morning Journal because it is ''private information.''

At Monday night's council meeting, however, Brady discussed his concerns with Thomas Henneberry, an executive vice president with The Jacobs Group.

''It just seemed there were a lot of other questions not related to your project,'' Brady said. ''I think it's important that you and your company refocus the way you do business in Avon.''

The survey was merely designed to ''see how our presentations are being received in the community,'' Henneberry responded. ...

Brady, however, said The Jacobs Group has been too active in trying to discredit the rival Avon Commons shopping center. A political action committee formed by Stark and Jacobs spent $50,000 last November on its campaign against the 85-acre project.

''I want the people to be able to judge these projects on their own merits and not be harassed into submission by a group with a lot of money,'' Brady said. ...

Mayor Smith said he received about seven calls from residents concerned about the survey. Two callers were under the impression the city of Avon had financed the phone calls, he said.

''Some of them weren't happy with the types of questions,'' Smith said. ''One of the ladies told me they insinuated the city of Avon was putting on this survey and wondered why I was spending tax dollars to put on this survey.'' ...

Jeff Linton, a spokesman for the Jacobs-Stark team, said the callers use a tight script that makes it clear Avon is not responsible for the survey. Jacobs and Stark, however, are not identified as the sponsors of the survey, he said. ...

Before they can proceed, they need city support of an interchange feasibility study and must also have most of their land rezoned.

City Council on Monday [3-15-99] night denied the request for the interchange study. Council has not yet reviewed any rezoning request for the project."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 3-17-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"Stark/Jacobs group seeks input from Avon

... Commissioner Paul Burik said [3-10-99] ... "It is contrary to the master plan" ... "it will promote urban sprawl." ... He advocated ... the people being able to decide whether the city fathers should support the master plan or abandon it. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 3-18-98, By Rich Exner

"Avon Commons developer not taking competitor lightly

AVON - ... a letter that First Interstate President Mitchel Schneider sent this week [3-15-99] to City Council ... said there was not enough retail demand for both his and the Jacobs/Stark proposal ..." [Note Robert Stark's remark that there will only be one shopping center in Avon.]

Newspaper Record of Stark/Jacobs in Avon

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

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