Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
Ohio -- April 21, 1999 to May 13, 1999

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NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 4-21-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"AVON - ... Marilyn Jacobcik of the Lorain County Board of Elections said the board had determined that even with the elimination of signatures in question, they found ''more than enough signatures for the ballot.'' ...

Gerald Innes ... from the Lorain County Prosecutor's Office ... said Phillips told him that he needed more time to look into the findings of the board [a hearing has been set for 5-10-99] ...

Avon Law Director Daniel Stringer said First Interstate Development would file a motion to dismiss and the City is likely to join in that request.

''There were 25 allegations of various violations, but there were no facts,'' Stringer said. ''It doesn't say who did what when.'' ..."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The PRESS, 4-21-99, By Heather Woodward

"It is ironic that the champion of the citizens of Avon, Jerry Phillips, that stresses so strongly the people's right to vote on issues, is now fighting an initiative by over 2000 registered citizens of Avon.

Just what is it that Phillips is for? One minute the people should vote on issues of zoning; now that just such an initiative has been brought forward, Phillips is fighting against it.

Why is it that Phillips has picked this project to fight? Is there another reward from another project at the end of his rainbow?

Please vote YES on Avon Commons."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 4-21-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"AVON - ... At last week's special Planning Commission meeting [4-14-99] ... First Interstate Development received a favorable recommendation of the ... sanitary sewer ... that could serve either proposed use of the site for Avon Business Park or Avon Commons ...

Council representative to the Commission, Ted Graczyk, pointed out that even the first 9.9-acres developed under the Avon Business Park would require a traffic study and a more inclusive plan for the remaining acreage under option.

''No,'' insisted Law Director Daniel Stringer. The other portion ''may not ever be developed.'' Only when there is ''cumulative impact'' with actual proposed development would a traffic study and a full subdivider's agreement need to be drawn up ..."

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The PRESS, 4-21-99, By Charles F. Smith

"The traffic congestion in Avon has become a problem in recent years because of the many new homes. Avon has had 600 new homes built during the past two years and another 565 homes are currently approved for construction over the next two years.

Each new home averages two vehicles which means we must accommodate these additional 2400 vehicles as people need to get to and from work, transport children, and shop.

Your YES vote on Avon Commons will help [reduce] this traffic congestion because the developer is obligated to pay $1.8 million for lane additions and computer - linked traffic lights in the area of I-90, Rt. 83, and Rt. 254.

The Avon City General Fund will have an additional $350,000 available each year from Avon Commons to help maintain and improve roads throughout the City.

Won't you join me in voting yes for Avon Commons on June 1 and help improve the movement of traffic in Avon?"

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 4-22-99, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"AVON -- ... Avon Commons ... Most residents who attended the Planning Commission meeting [4-14-99] expressed support for the new plans.

"This is an excellent idea; Avon needs restaurants," said Mrs. Peter Corrado, who lives with her husband near Harvest Drive. "It's way overdue that Avon did something. I think Mitchell Schneider has done a great job with the aesthetic quality -- it looks good."

"Something like this is going to happen in Avon, and we might as well go for a first class development," said Tim Nickum, who is on the Board of Zoning Appeals. Nickum also is part of a committee [Avon Citizens for Avon Commons] to push for the rezoning issue's passage. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (4-22-99) By Mike Sakal

"AVON - ... Michael Schweikert, a traffic consultant [from Traf Pro] ... said Schneider would spemd $1.8 million [on the following improvements:

... The improvements are contingent on whether a rezoning request ... is approved by voters in a special June 1 election ... If voters reject the rezoning request, Schneider has proposed the Avon Business Park and smaller retail shops for the site. That plan, however, does not include traffic improvements ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 4-22-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON -- CVS Pharmacy will not be able to set up shop on Detroit Road in Avon unless they eliminate three of the four proposed entrance drives and reduce the number of parking spots shown on the drawing the company submitted to the Avon Planning Commission last night [4-21-99].

''It looks good,'' said Planning Commission member Paul Burik. ''But the major problem is the traffic.''

The pharmacy [with a drive-through] is proposed for the north side of Detroit Road between SR 83 and Old Center Road. The original plans called for one drive onto SR 83, one onto Detroit Road and two onto Old Center Road.

The planning board, however, said so many entranceways would create a major traffic problem -- especially if the Avon Commons shopping center is built and [turning] lanes are added to Detroit Road.

''To me it makes sense to have everything funneled in and out of (Old) Center Road,'' said Planning Board member Thomas Wearsch.

The board also said the proposed 61 parking spots is excessive given that CVS will have a drive-through pharmacy to serve the needs of many customers.

''People don't get out of their car,'' said Piazza, who proposed only 50 parking spots. ''They just drive right by.''"

CVS Pharmacy representative John Wojtila said he might be able to cut back to 55 spaces, but he said ''parking is a critical item.''

The Planning Commission was split on the appearance of the 10,125-square-foot, brick building.

''I like it a heck of a lot better than that gas station sitting there,'' board member Ted Graczyk said.

But Wearsch said he's seen much nicer CVS buildings on the East Coast, and felt the one pitched for Avon is inferior.

''Obviously, this is a stock plan,'' Wearsch said. ''Because every other community in Northeast Ohio has the same thing.''

No action was taken on the proposed CVS last night.

In other matters:

Developers from the Cleveland-based Interstate Associates presented preliminary plans for a 35-acre commercial development on SR 611 between the I-90 ramp and the BP gas station. It would be used for hotels or restaurants, but no tenants have been secured yet, said Doug Cappadorn of Interstate Associates.

Representatives from the United States Post Office pledged to build a fence around the temporary trailer at its Detroit Road site. They said a permanent solution -- either an expansion or addition -- should be decided within the next nine months. ...

Still, Victor Dubina, of the post office, said he disagrees with Avon officials who say the office must comply with city regulations."

''Local ordinances to not apply to the postal service,'' Dubina said last night. ''We are here as a courtesy."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 4-22-99, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"Group is opposing interchange

AVON -- As city officials decide whether to sponsor a study to determine the feasibility of a proposed interchange at Interstate 90 and Lear-Nagle Road, project opponents got a boost this week from a grassroots church organization.

Broad-Faith Organizing for Lorain's Development is a "faith-based community organization" consisting of 16 church congregations throughout Lorain County. Members of the organization voiced their opposition to the interchange to City Council members [4-19-99].

Developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark proposed the $15 million interchange, which they said they'll finance if the city creates a new zoning classification for their [Vista] project. ...

But, in order to build the interchange, the developers need the city's OK, according to Howard Maier, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. That agency is responsible for approving all regional highway development.

Maier said there is "no way" the Avon government could be cut out of the process -- even if developers pay for the interchange -- since a "major investment study" would have to be conducted by a regional planning agency.

"If there is any modification to a federal interstate highway, it requires the approval of a metropolitan planning commission," he said.

As a metropolitan planning commission, NOACA only conducts the major investment study at a local government's request. If the city refuses to sponsor such a study, the developers can't move forward with the interchange.

BOLD member Ralph Krupp warned Avon City Council against the interchange, saying it will precipitate urban sprawl and its ensuing decay. If growth is unchecked, Krupp said, development soon will surpass Avon and convert even more rural areas to sprawling suburbs.

"Avon may be growing now, but, someday, it'll be Grafton or further out," he said. "It will hurt us all."

Krupp recommended the city become more involved in the process to create a comprehensive land use plan for Lorain County.

Since January, a coalition of public officials, residents, business leaders and others has been working on the plan, which they say will "shape sustainable and equitable development for the future." The plan is estimated to be complete in March.

"Any consideration of a highway interchange that will not support such goals would undermine the integrity of the land use planning process and would be irresponsible at this time," BOLD members said.

City Council members are divided on whether to further study the possibility.

Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy said he opposed the study, and attempted to block Monday's discussion of the issue. Ward 2 Councilman David Kaiser and at large Councilman Shaun Brady also said they oppose the study.

"I still don't feel that the city, at this point, needs to consider it," Brady said.

Council President Ted Graczyk Jr. nixed Kilroy's proposal to abort the discussion, saying the city should seek more information about the project.

"I don't think I have any answers concerning the interchange," he said. "We have a lot of questions we need answered. We don't shut the door on anybody.''"

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 4-24-98, By Rich Exner

"AVON - ... The Jacobs Group announced yesterday that its partner, Robert L. Stark Enterprises, has withdrawn from the [Vista] project ...

Henneberry has said he hoped to seek voter approval in November for necessary zoning changes. ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (4-25-99) By Mike Sakal

"AVON - ... Jacobs Group spokesman Jeffrey Linton said ... Stark's announcement was a surprise ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 4-27-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON - Developer Robert L. Stark has backed out of the Vista project ... spokesman Jeff Linton ... The Richard E. Jacobs group is ''equipped and prepared to handle the project on their own,'' Linton said ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (4-28-99) By Mike Sakal

"AVON - ... Common Pleas Court Judge Edward Zaleski disqualified Phillips and [Stark/Jacobs] attorney Timothy Grendell of Independence on April 14, [1999]. Zaleski's decision stated that Phillips cannot act as both counsel and as a fact witness ...

In the motion filed on Tuesday [4-27-99], Phillips contends that Zaleski's decision to disqualify him was not appropriate ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 4-28-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"AVON - ... the Richard E. Jacobs Group ... announced that it is now the sole developer of Vista. The Jacobs organization had been an equal partner with Robert L. Stark Enterprises which decided to withdraw from the project ...

The project was to hinge on the development of an interchange on Interstate 90 at Lear [Nagel] Road ... NOACA said the traffic study would not go on unless the City of Avon chose for the study to progress.

"It's open to discussion on how formal that needs to be," said Jeffery Linton of Dix & Eaton Incorporated, a public relations firm. "That interest may consist of a letter from the mayor or from city council."

Linton said four of the seven council people expressed interest in learning more about the feasibility of an interchange ...

The current public relations group, Dix & Eaton Incorporated replaced the previous firm Burgess & Burgess ...

Regarding negative campaigning [Stark/Jacobs spent almost $50,000 in the fall of 1998 in a successful effort to defeat Avon Commons] ... "This time around there have been entreaties that both projects should be allowed to stand on their own merit. If everyone abides by that, then PERHAPS both projects can stand on their own merit," Linton said."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 5-3-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon could get nature preserve

AVON -- ... the latest new development to hit Avon could be a 100-acre nature preserve.

And the best part of the deal, said Mayor Jim Smith, is that it won't cost Avon a cent. The unsolicited park proposal, which arrived on Smith's desk Tuesday, came from a non-profit group formed to preserve and create wetlands across the state.

Based in Columbus, the Ohio Wetlands Foundation works with developers, who must pay money into a fund used to create new wetlands if they want to build on land with areas designated as wetlands by the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers. The trade is called wetlands mitigation.

Because Avon has no land specifically set aside for the creation of new wetlands, developers who build on wetlands in Avon end up paying money into a fund used to create nature parks in other cities such as North Ridgeville.

That could all change, however, if the Ohio Wetlands Foundation joins forces with Avon.

''If the City of Avon is serious about wanting wetlands, we would be happy to build a mitigation bank in the city,'' said Jim Sutliff, the president of the Ohio Wetlands Foundation. ''I need a site badly. And we'd love to be up there with a site that is serving the Avon area.''

Sutliff said his group would pay for the land and all of the work done on it. Once the park is complete, it would be turned over either to the city or to the Lorain County Metro Parks.

The one caveat is that the land must have good soil, be flat, and must cost less than $5,000 an acre, Sutliff said.

''They want land that's cheap,'' Smith said. ''But if we can find a piece of property that's in the right price range, it could work. We'd be interested in it. We'd definitely be interested in it.''

Once the new wetlands are built, Sutliff said they form a stable ecosystem.

''After you get the water and the plants, the wildlife comes back,'' he said. ''It migrates there from other locations. You get very healthy wetlands and everything stays in balance.'' "

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 5-4-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"City officials support Avon Commons

AVON - Three city officials expressed their support yesterday for the proposed Avon Commons shopping center ...

Planning Commission member Paul Burik said the proposed plans are good for the community because it follows the master plan ...

''The vision of the master plan was to create magnets at the core of the city to attract economic vitality to Avon,'' Burik said. ''This project accomplishes that, plain and simple.''

Councilman Jack Kilroy praised Avon Commons for both its tax benefits and for the 'family friendly environment' he expects it to create.

Lastly, zoning board member Tim Nickum said ... ''This is smart economic development and well-planned growth for the City of Avon'' ...

Earlier this year, Councilman Shaun Brady and Planning Commission member Thomas Wearsch expressed their support for Avon Commons ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 5-6-99, By CHANEL CHAMBERS, Staff Writer

"AVON - The drive to vote 'yes'for the rezoning issue that will pave the way for Avon Commons received more endorsements this week.

Ward 4 Councilman Jack Kilroy and Planning Commission member Paul Burik both went on record Monday [5-3-99] in support of the 85 - acre retail development.

''We need to set our priorities on maintaining a solid tax base for this community and improving the quality of life,'' Kilroy said. ''We can do that with 1,000 new jobs and a development that will provide a family - friendly envrionment.'' ...

[Avon Citizens for Avon Commons] ... currently has more than 65 volunteers ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 5-8-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON -- Though developer Richard Jacobs has more than $5,000 left in the political action committee he formed to fight Avon Commons last fall, city officials said he does not appear to be using any of it to campaign against the shopping center this spring.

Jacobs, who has proposed a 500-acre complex of stores, restaurants, hotels and homes, spent about $50,000 to campaign against the rival Avon Commons last November.

A needed zoning change issue needed to proceed with development of the shopping center failed by 47 votes.

Since then, resident Bob Barnhart collected enough signatures to force a special June 1 election to revisit the proposal. Along with other Avon residents, Barnhart formed a political action committee to promote the Detroit Road shopping center.

But Jacobs appears to be staying out of the shopping center struggle -- even though the Lorain County Board of Elections reported that his committee has a balance of $5,050 leftover from the last election.

''I heard from a representative that they weren't going to jump into the fray,'' Mayor Jim Smith said. ''But I don't know if that's just idle talk.''

Jacobs Group Executive Vice President Tom Henneberry was not available for comment yesterday.

A third PAC, however, already has signs up throughout Avon ... Attorney Gerald Phillips, who campaigned against Avon Commons last fall, said the signs were kept after the November election. ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM (5-11-99) By Mike Sakal

"Avon rezoning still on track for June 1 vote

ELYRIA-- Two Lorain County Board of Elections members decided on Monday they could not stop a special June 1 vote on an Avon Commons rezoning initiative ...

"As of now, Avon is certified to have an election,'' board member Bob Rousseau said.

Because only two of the four board members participated in Monday's meeting, another session with a quorum will be needed to act on the complaint, Assistant County Prosecutor Gerald Innes said.

Rousseau said he was not even sure it was within the board's jurisdiction to take action on the complaint filed by attorneys Gerald Phillips and Timothy Grendel ...

Rousseau questioned whether the board had jurisdiction to rule on the complaint because Avon's city charter makes the Avon Clerk of Council responsible for verifying petition signatures ...

Of 2,433 signatures collected by pro-Avon Commons petition circulators, they deemed 2,075 of the signatures valid, [elections board director Marilyn] Jacobcik said, who is not a voting member of the board.

The ballot initiative required 1,979 valid petition signatures.

A second election board meeting will be scheduled soon so that a formal vote on the complaint can be taken, said Innes.

Board member Tony Giardini was absent from Monday's meeting and Thomas Smith did not participate, citing a conflict of interest. The board consists of four members, but can take a formal vote with three, Rousseau said. ...

An affidavit signed by resident Bryan Doss also was attached to the complaint. Doss said in the affidavit that he was attending school in Toledo when someone signed his name to a pro-Avon Commons petition.

But Avon clerk of Council Pat Vierkorn, however, has said Doss' signature was not counted as a valid signature on the petition ...

Depending on the outcome of the board's vote, Phillips said they possibly would take the dispute to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Grendel said he would be at the next board meeting. "The board hasn't recognized our right to present evidence,'' he said.

Absentee ballots for the special election already are available and can be obtained at the board of elections office at 115 Cedar St., Elyria [44035]."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 5-11-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"AVON - The Lorain County Board of Elections heard evidence yesterday, but did not take a vote on whether the June 1 special election for the Avon Commons shopping center will be held ...

Avon resident Bob Barnhart ... led a petition drive to put the 85-acre project back on the ballot ...

The board reviewed Phillips' complaints yesterday, but made no final decision.

''They [the Board] reviewed the 25 listed complaints and the majority of them were disallowed,'' Barnhart said. ''What [Phillips and Grendell] did, in my opinion, they just took from the law book every potential error that could have been made; and they hit a few.'' ...

Yesterday's hearing was further complicated when Lorain County Board of Elections Chairman Tom Smith removed himself because of a conflict of interest. Smith has served as an attorney for developer Richard Jacobs who is proposing a rival 500-acre commercial project in Avon.

Because board member Anthony Giardini was missing from the meeting, only two members were available to hear the evidence.

Phillips - who called the meeting a 'kangaroo hearing' - said he expects to have another opportunity to submit evidence and to have his hand - writing analysis expert testify ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE PLAIN DEALER, 5-11-98, By Rich Exner

"ELYRIA - The Lorain County Board of Elections might wait two weeks or more to decide whether there will be a special election June 1 in Avon ...

Acting Chairman Robert Rousseau said it would probably be at least a week before another meeting is scheduled. And the board might wait two weeks or more for transcripts of yesterday's discussions to become available, he said.

In the meantime, the board said absentee ballots were being distributed to people requesting them ...

Board of Elections Chairman Tom Smith removed himself from the issue ... Board member Tony Giardini was absent. John S. Blevins joined Rousseau as the only board members at the meeting.

Rousseau questioned whether the board had to vote on the challenge, since the board's staff said there enough valid signatures. But Innes said he believed a vote was necessary.

Complaints have not been resolved about whether people had to be registered to vote at the time they signed the petitions [as opposed to being registered before the petitions were filed]."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 5-13-99, By COLLEEN MYTNICK, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon plans go upscale

AVON -- A developer has changed his plans for the corner of Chester Road and SR 83 to offer more upscale dining and lodging options.

''This will be one of the most visible things you see when you exit route 83,'' said Jerry Seifert, a partner with Curie-Hall Investment Co. ''And we're trying to do the best we can with it.''

Formerly, a Microtel Inn and Suites, a Hawthorne Suites extended-stay hotel, and a Bob Evans Restaurant were slated for the 8-acre parcel of land.

The Bob Evans and the Microtel Inn and Suites may be replaced, however, by tenants which the developers hope can offer more to the community -- a Hampton Inn and a sit-down restaurant specializing more in lunch and dinner.

... Seifert said ... ''We're looking for a tablecloth restaurant that has breakfast, lunch and a nice dinner.''

The Hampton Inn is being considered as a replacement for Microtel because of the rooms and the amenities offered, Seifert said.

''I think (Hampton Inn) is a little better quality and the rooms are larger,'' Seifert said. ''And I think Hampton has one of the better breakfasts for travelers to enjoy -- almost a full breakfast.''

Both the Hawthorne Suites and the Hampton Inn would have about 80 rooms, Seifert said.

In addition, Seifert said his company is hoping to sign a convenience-type store and a bank for the development.

Curie-Hall hopes to break ground by late summer. The restaurant should open by spring of 2000, followed by the hotels, the bank and the convenience store.

''I think this will be a very nice front door to the city of Avon,'' Seifert said. ''And, of course, if Mitch Schneider is successful (in winning approval for Avon Commons) on June 1, I think the whole interchange will blossom.''"

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of THE MORNING JOURNAL, 5-13-99, By Taylor J. Smith

"We hope that our neighbors on Center Road will look at the facts. Voting against Avon Commons will not stop the construction of a sewer line to the western boundary of the Avon Commons site. First Interstate has paid for the expanded capacity of the pumping station at Avenbury to handle this flow, and the pumping station is now in the ground.

If Avon Commons does not use this sewer line, then the Avon Business Park and the Park Square Shopping Center will use it.

Avon Commons buildings would be screened from view from Detroit Road by a landscaped mound along the Detroit Road frontage. Avon Business Park and the Park Square Shopping Center buildings will front on Detroit Road.

There would be only one access to Avon Commons from Detroit Road near SR-83. Avon Business Park and the Park Square Shopping Center each will have there own entrances on Detroit with no turning lanes or traffic signals.

There will be a CVS pharmacy on the northwest corner of Detroit and Center Roads, and another commercial use will be found for the old Premier bank site on the northeast corner. If C3 zoning for Avon Commons wins on June 1, Center Road, as it opens on to the north side of Detroit, will be widened by First Interstate to create dedicated lanes for both right and left turns.

Detroit Road, west-bound from Center Road to SR-83, will have four lanes: a dedicated left-turn lane, a dedicated right-turn lane on to SR-83, and two through lanes. These improvements are not required with the Avon Business Park and the Park Square Shopping Center.

Avon Commons would have a landscaped buffer of a minimum of 85 feet from the property line. Included in this buffer are an 8-foot high board - on - board fence, existing woods, and additional landscaping.

A grade separation will result in the floor level of the retail buildings being at least 10 feet below the floor level of the homes on Center Road. Most Avon Commons buildings would be set back 145 feet from the property line, with a minimum setback of 115 feet.

Avon Business Park, on the other hand, will have a landscaped buffer of a minimum of 10 feet from the property line. Included in this buffer is an an 8-foot high board - on - board fence. Avon Business Park buildings will be set back a minimum of 15 feet from the property line.

Ridiculous law suits will not stop commercial development of our property. We want to do the right thing. We are asking our neighbors on Center Road to help us."

Today (5-13-99), Richard Jacobs announced that the CLEVELAND INDIANS are FOR SALE.

Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

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

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