Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
Ohio -- 2-5-03 to 5-6-03

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2-20-03 Charter Review Commission recommends no more than three lanes on Detroit Road

3-5-03 Charter Review Commission sets agenda

3-20-03 Charter Review Commission recommends Landmark Preservation

NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-5-03, By Julie A. Short

``AVON -- Last week council members made the decision not to adopt changes to the city's Master Thoroughfare Plan to construct an interchange on I-90.

During many public meetings ... Avon historian, Taylor "Jack" Smith, has raised questions regarding the interchange ...

Regarding the 4-3 vote of the defeated ordinance, Smith noted that there are still questions that need to be answered.

"I think council should have all studies completed and all the important questions answered before making the Nagel Road interchange part of the Master Thoroughfare Plan," he said.

"What will this interchange cost Avon, both in dollars and in quality of life?" [ The cost of the interchange should include the cost of bringing cars to the interchange]

Smith also voiced concerns regarding industrial development. "I'm all for industrial development, but, despite repeated requests, the Avon administration has not come forward with even one letter from a manufacturing company saying they would locate in Avon if there were an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road," Smith said.

"Such an interchange would make big box stores possible or the type of development on Rockside Road in Independence, but this has nothing to do with industrial development." ...

Smith has a problem with the interchange if it means constructing five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road ...

"As soon as the Nagel Road interchange becomes part of Avon's Master Thoroughfare Plan, five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road also becomes part of the plan because of the URS statement of necessity," Smith said. URS is the Akron-based company that conducted the Master Thoroughfare Plan study.

"The URS plan would turn Detroit Road from Colorado to the Westlake line into something like Lorain Road in North Olmsted," Smith said.

"It would be difficult to resist rezoning Detroit Road commercial from SR 83 to the Westlake line if five lanes on Detroit Road becomes Avon's official plan. Before a square foot of pavement is added, a landowner could argue in court that five lanes make single-family residential use impossible."

Smith also raised additional questions ...

"What is planning commission doing to get Chester Road continued through Bradley Road all the way to Clemens?" he asked. "This way industries and others can access I-90 at both Crocker and SR-83 without having to backtrack."

An alternative ... is a commuter rail that Smith is in favor of. "On a commuter train to Cleveland, one could read and enjoy the ride, in contrast with spending hours in traffic gripping a steering wheel," he explained.

"Because diesel fuel can be made from American coal or soybeans, and because of 9/11, we should consider an approach that does not rely on gasoline." Council members have already passed a resolution in support of a commuter rail line.

The main reason given for council's defeat of the ordinance was the unclear placement of the interchange.

"I need to know exactly where it will be and also, who controls the land," Councilman Gerald Gentz said. "If we are talking Nagel specifically, there is already too much traffic as it is. I want to hear other options." ...

After the vote came down, Smith was glad council members decided to revisit the issue and not add it the Master Thoroughfare Plan at this time.

"I agree with Councilman Kilroy, there is no rush for this (interchange)," Smith said. ... NO QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED ..." ''

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 2-22-03, by Taylor J. Smith

The Avon Charter Review Commission has voted to recommend to Council to place on the ballot the following Detroit Road Preservation charter amendment:

"Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road (also known as State Route 254 or North Ridge Road) in the City of Avon to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes, or to use funds under the control of the City for such a widening or division, except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector public streets."

Here are some reasons for this recommendation:

Ten years ago, during the creation of Avon's latest master plan, the highest priority of the citizens was to preserve Avon's small town atmosphere.

The appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere; and it should be protected in the most fundamental way possible, in Avon's Charter.

Detroit Road should not be at the mercy of an overnight "emergency" Council vote. At this important time in our history, many Avon citizens have stepped forward to preserve our town. We believe that the future of Detroit Road should be decided by a vote of the people, not in some back room.

Preserving Detroit Road is part of a larger struggle to decide if our future will be progress or decay. Progress is the continual increase in the richness and variety of that which informs our lives. Some of this information is made visible by our surroundings -- the homes, churches, and schools which embody our history.

Examples of decay can been seen in some larger cities -- disrupted schools that no amount of tax dollars can fix and roads without beauty and tradition jammed with enraged drivers.

Education has always been important to Avon: "Gladly would we learn and gladly teach." To accomplish this, we need the landmarks of our heritage. Detroit Road is a treasure of these landmarks; and, by providing them a beautiful context, visibly informs us of our history.

Many new residents appreciate the safe homes and good schools which are the products of Avon's heritage. They are willing to give back to our community by trying to preserve that which makes Avon unique. Let us all work together in this Bicentennial year for a better future.

The writer is Chairman of the Avon Charter Review Commission and President of the Avon Historical Society

Contact the Avon Historical Society at 934-6106.

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-21-03, By Andrea Might

``AVON -- Members of the Avon Historical Society are using their majority on the city's Charter Review Commission to pursue the society's agenda, including not widening Detroit Road, according to [council candidate Larry Hoekstra] ...

Larry Hoekstra said the historical society was trying to push its issues through the system in the form of changes to the city's charter ... "I think council made a mistake when they were choosing the Charter Review Commission."

The charter panel's first three meetings have been devoted almost solely to discussion about whether Detroit Road should be widened, according to Jean Fischer, a member of both the charter commission and the historical society.

Fischer said most commission members are in favor of limiting Detroit Road to three lanes ...

If the commission votes for the limit, it will be sent to City Council, and subsequently the voters. The proposed changes would appear on the ballot next November [2003].

"They're about ready to pass that. We agreed to a turn lane, so it would be three lanes," Fischer said. "The charter issues are so we can get it on the ballot for the people to vote. Council can pass an ordinance, but that can be changed without a vote." ... "I think the ones that are against the preservation of Avon are more interested in development," she said ...

The Charter Review Commission was called this year because the charter requires one at least every five years, and the last time the charter was reviewed was in 1998.''

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 2-25-03, by Tyalor J. Smith

In your editorial of 2-24-03 you wrote:

"We don't have a problem with trying to preserve Avon's rich heritage and its small town atmosphere. But the purpose of a city charter is to define a city's basic rules of government ...

Detroit Road is also a state route. It is a major artery in the county. Avon could be opening itself to legally sticky entanglements if a charter-limited vision of Detroit Road clashes with future traffic needs in the eyes of the state and neighboring communities ..."

Everyone is entitlted to their opinion of the purpose of a city charter. We believe that the appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere; and it should be protected in the most fundamental way possible, in Avon's Charter. We also believe that the voters should make this decision.

The words of the recommended Detroit Road Preservation Charter Amendment were carefully chosen to avoid any possible conflict with the State:

"Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road ... to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes, or to use funds under the control of the City for such a widening or division ..."

There is no restriction on the State using Ohio tax dollars to put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road. But we should make it difficult to do such a thing to ourselves. Detroit Road should not be at the mercy of an overnight "emergency" Council vote.

Westlake and Sheffield may decide to have five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road in their towns. Everyone is entitled to pursue their own quality of life goals. Let the voters of Avon decide the future of Detroit Road in Avon.

The writer is Chairman of the Avon Charter Review Commission and President of the Avon Historical Society

NEWS ARTICLE from the Chronicle Telegram, 2-03, By Brad Dicken, Staff Writer

``AVON -- Five out of the nine members of Avon's Charter Review Commission want to change the city's laws to prevent Detroit Road from expanding to five lanes.

It's something the Commission's chairman, Jack Smith, thinks will help preserve the historical integrity of the city. "We want to make sure that the pavement on Detroit Road will be no wider than 36 feet and not divided into more than three lanes," he said. "It will help protect our century homes like Stone Eagle Farms and the Tree House Restaurant." ...

The Commission, which began meeting last month, will put a number of issues on November's ballot as part of the review of the charter that takes place every five years ...

Some intersections may have to be expanded to five lanes, and the city may eventually expand the road to three lanes in some places, including the cramped downtown area between state Route 83 and state Route 611. Jack Smith said he has no problem with that, but wants to make sure City Council can't just decide to expand to five lanes overnight with emergency legislation ...

Councilwoman JoAnne Easterday, At large, said she doubted the current Council would do that, but isn't certain future Councils would agree with that. "It depends on what their vision of Avon is," she said ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-26-03, By Brad Dicken

``AVON -- Despite suggestions that the city charter isn't the place for rules addressing how the city's roads should function, the chairman of the Charter Review Commission is pushing to include an amendment that would mandate the addition of new roads.

Jack Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, wants the change because he fears the city doesn't have the infrastructure to deal with the growing amount of traffic it faces.

"It's hard to go from place to place without having to rely on Avon's original country road system," he said.

The city, the fastest-growing in the state, is already 30 percent developed. Smith said that without a plan it will soon be difficult to plan for new roads to accommodate the expanded growth. At a rate of 300 new homes each year, with two cars per home, he said the traffic is already getting thick.

"That's about 7,200 linear feet of cars a year being added to our roads," he said ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-5-03, By Julie A. Short

``Charter Review Commission sets agenda

AVON -- Since being appointed in January, the new members of the Avon's Charter Review Commission have been busy discussing possible additions/changes to the city's charter.

Chairman Taylor "Jack" Smith recently outlined four possible items that could appear on a future election ballot for residents to consider. Any changes to the city's charter must be put before residents for a vote.

"We've already had one recommendation and that is that Detroit Road not be widened to more than three lanes," he said.

"The second item is to create a Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure the preservation of historic structures. Landmark Preservation should be part of the city's charter. If someone wants to tear something down, they would have to go through the commission. This will require a study to research which buildings would qualify."

On the subject of Detroit Road, Smith believes the road is a "fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere" and needs "fundamental protection" within the charter.

"Those who do not want Avon protected in the charter are willing to sacrifice these roads," he said.

The third item the Charter Review Commission is considering is a limitation on building height.

"Avon does have an ordinance that restricts building height, however we are concerned if an I-90 interchange is put in, the area will look like Rockside Road in Independence," Smith said. "Big buildings will do this. We want to make sure the buildings cannot exceed a certain height. The only way to do this is by a vote of the people."

Finally, Smith would like to see the creation of a "vehicle access street grid." The commission will recommend to council that future collector and arterial streets throughout the city have no private driveways except as planning commission grants through special use permits.

"If we wait much longer to accomplish this, there will be more blocking developments that make this impossible," Smith explained. "If we wait until all roads are blocked, the only roads that will be available are Avon's original country roads."

Smith went on to calculate that given Avon's current rate of growth at approximately 300 homes per year, with two cars per household, there will be 7,200 linear feet of cars, bumper to bumper [added each year].

"It is impossible for our country roads to accommodate our traffic growth," he said.

"The people who are very much in favor of fast development in Avon are against preserving Avon."

The commission is working on approximately 35 additional minor changes (wording) to the charter. He hopes the committee can agree on the placement of at least 10 items for the election ballot, including those outlined above.

A number of the items listed above have been criticized publicly of late that they do not belong in the city's charter. Smith denounces those claims.

"The charter deals with quality of life issues," he said. "These are quality of life issues. I think everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Put it to a vote of the people and let them decide."

Smith cited the city of Oberlin in his quality of life defense.

"Other communities address quality of life issues," he said. "When Oberlin was setting the creation and operation of a new hospital, they put it to a vote of the people. That's the way we feel about preserving Detroit Road. We should not trash it unless the people vote to trash it." ...

The members of the Charter Review Commission are: Jean Fischer, Stan Hawryluk, Larry Hoekstra, Charles Huene, Laurence Kroeger, Russell McLaughlin, Jill Renuart, Matthew Smith and Taylor Jack Smith. Alternates include John Morog and Jim Muzzy.''

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 3-1-03, By Gregory Saltis

``It seems to me the idea of a ban on closed meetings between developers and members of Avon City Council is reasonable and prudent ...

Seventy-five years ago, stoplights were not needed in Avon since few if any cars were seen here. Twenty-nine years ago, such bans were not needed since developers were not greedily eyeing up Avon for personal gain.

Presently, cars and developers seem to abound in Avon; and formal measures are required to manage both.

One drive through the heart of Avon will tell anyone that a city planner is sorely needed. The lack of a city planner has resulted in something less than the people of Avon deserve.''

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 3-5-03, By Debi Loebich

``Avon ... has gone through tremendous efforts to preserve its small town character ... They have beautifully combined and embodied the past and present with respect and dignity, insuring the vital benefits each has to offer ...

The widening of Detroit Road through Avon will disrupt this ... It is my hope that the past will be respected at this present crossroad.''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 3-11-03, By Brad Dicken

``AVON -- Three members and two alternates resigned Monday [3-10-03] from the city's Charter Review Commission ...

Jack Smith, the commission's chairman and president of the historical society, said Renuart and the other members who resigned oppose preservation amendments that have been proposed ...

Council appointed nine members and three alternates in January and had expected the completion of the charter review 150 days after Jan. 30. John Eldred, who was also named an alternate, resigned before he attended any meetings.

Law Director John Gasior said that among the options are dissolving the commission, appointing more members to fill the vacancies or simply allowing the commission to proceed with six members.

"I m not going to make any snap decision on what I think should be done here," he said.

"The charter is silent on what constitutes a quorum," Gasior said, "but since a majority of the commission remains, it may be able to continue functioning."

Smith believes that as long as there is a majority of the nine members required under the charter, that should be enough to keep it active ...

Smith contends that dealing with preservation issues in the charter will prevent Planning Commission and City Council from making changes overnight.

In addition to the Detroit Road proposal, [commission members] have suggested limitations to building height, building new roads to prevent the expansion of existing ones and the creation of a landmarks preservation commission ...

Those who resigned said only the landmarks commission should be included in the charter ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at

LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 3-13-03, by Taylor J. Smith

The reaction of some members of the Avon Charter Review Commission to a discussion [meeting on 3-6-03] of a possible vehicle access street grid amendment was dramatic. However, if there seem to be more cars on the roads now with 14,000 residents, what will things be like when there are 45,000 people living in Avon?

Although it may not be obvious to everyone, more lanes of pavement will have to be put down in Avon to move the increasing population around our town. Questions to be answered are: Where will these new lanes of pavement be laid? How much will they cost? and Who will pay for them?

As new land developemnts pour more cars onto Avon's original country road system, as a last resort, in desperation, the residents might vote to tax themselves to add lanes to these original roads. This approach, adopted under the most unfavorable circumstances, is the most expensive approach.

For example, expanding Detroit Rd. to five lanes of pavement from Colorado to the Westlake line, as recommended by the URS traffic engineer, would require that sidewalks, sanitary sewer lines, gas lines, and water lines be torn up. In addition, the telephone poles would have to be moved.

As an alternative, Middleton, from Jaycox Rd. (Avenbury) east to as close as possible to the Westlake line, could be designated a vehicle access street with no individual private driveways. It would run back of the developments.

No sidewalks, water lines, gas lines, or sanitary sewer lines would be required since only cars and trucks would be using such a street. Electricity could be provided from intersecting public streets coming out of the developments.

These lanes of pavement would be much less expensive than lanes of pavement added to Avon's original country roads; and Detroit Rd. would be protected from desperation measures.

The most interesting question is Who pays for these new lanes of pavement? If they are added to existing roads, the residents must pay for them; and, as is now the case, new land development projects would pay nothing to alleviate the traffic problems they create throughout Avon.

If these lanes of pavement are put down on new streets (vehicle access streets) the Ohio Supreme Court decision in the Beaver Creek case allows Avon to require new land developments to pay their fair share.

We are running out of time to create a vehicle access street grid. Blocking developments are popping up in various places. We need the vision to act before it is too late.

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-18-03, By ANDREA MIGHT, Morning Journal Writer

``AVON -- City Law Director John Gasior yesterday said the Avon Charter Review Commission can continue ...

''I believe the only conclusion you can reach from the language in the charter is that as long as the commission has a quorum, it can continue to conduct its business,'' Gasior said.

Gasior said council did what it was supposed to do per charter when it appointed nine members to review the charter ...

When the members were seated by Jan. 31 and began meeting in February, council's responsibilities were met, he said.

The charter commission's chairman, Jack Smith ... said he was pleased with Gasior's decision.

''I think the law director came to the only possible conclusion,'' he said. ''I'm very pleased because the charter review commission has important work to do in trying to preserve Avon.'' ... ''

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal by Taylor J. Smith

The Avon Charter Review Commission has voted to recommend to Council to place on the ballot the following Landmark Preservation charter amendment:

``A Landmarks Preservation Commission shall be created and shall consist of four (4) members who are residents of the community not holding other municipal office or appointment. One member shall be appointed by the Mayor, one by the Avon Historical Society, one by the French Creek Development Association and one by the Avon Garden Club. All appointments shall require the concurrence of the majority of the membership of the legislative authority.

If any organization is unable to make its appointment, the Commission, with the concurrence of the majority of the membership of the legislative authority, shall designate another Avon organization to make an appointment.

Members of the Commission shall serve for a term of four (4) years except that of the first four (4) members appointed, the mayoral appointee shall be appointed for a period not to exceed the term of the Mayor, the Avon Garden Club appointee shall serve a term of one (1) year, the Avon Historical Society appointee shall serve a term of three (3) years, and the French Creek Development Association appointee shall serve a term of four (4) years,

A vacancy occurring during the term of any member shall be filled by the Mayor or appointing organization. The Mayor may remove any member with the concurrence of two-thirds (2/3) of the legislative authority. Unless otherwise provided by ordinance, the members of the Commission will serve without compensation.

Duties and Powers

The Landmarks Preservation Commission shall cause to be conducted a survey to establish a register of Avon's landmarks to raise community awareness of Avon's history and historic resources.

The owner of a property in Avon, which is designated a landmark, may appeal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to have the property removed from the register of landmarks.

No person or governmental body owning a registered landmark shall demolish said landmark without a demolition permit issued by the Commission. The Commission shall issue a demolition permit no later than six months after receiving the application for said permit.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission shall perform such other duties as may be imposed upon it by this Charter and by ordinances and resolutions of the legislative authority which shall appropriate each year a sufficient sum to carry out the duties of the Commission.''

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

Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

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