Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
11-23-06 to 7-14-07

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11-23-06 Nagel design on way

2-11-07 Tap the brakes on Avon exit

2-14-07 100-acre Cleveland Clinic at Nagel Road

The Chester/Middleton option was presented during the Sept. 29 [2005] stakeholders meeting by David Maxwell of the Willow Creek subdivision near I-90.

"Why not create a split interchange?" Maxwell asked in September [2005]. "Half the traffic would exit at Jaycox and half at Nagel and meet in the middle. It would be less of an impact ...

 I90
interchange proposal

I 90 interchange proposal by David Maxwell

North-south roads feeding the interchange are shown in aqua.

Click here for a larger view.

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Taylor J. Smith, president of the Avon Historical Society, said Detroit Road, with many homes more than a century old, needed to be preserved.

''Regardless of where the new interchange is located, the important thing is not to destroy Detroit Road,'' said Smith. ''The key to solving the problem is having alternative ways to go from Jaycox to Nagel, besides Detroit.'' [south marginal -- Middleton - Avon Rd.; north marginal -- Chester - Clemens; both interchange marginals opening on Bradley.]

[Susan Swartz suggested that a Nagel Rd. interchange would serve Westlake while the Crocker Rd. interchange was being rebuilt as a SPUI (Single Point Urban Interchange). If that happens, access at Bradley Rd. will be critical; otherwise interchange traffic from Crocker Rd. will have to move along Detroit to Nagel. By that time, Crocker will also be a direct connection between I-90 and I-480. Traffic from Bay Village would have to move south on Bradley to Detroit.]

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Plain Dealer, 7-18-06, by Patricia Carey

``Take a regional approach to land-use development

Developers and Avon officials have a plan to spur economic development with a new interchange on Interstate 90: Kick in enough local money to entice state and federal governments to pay the rest (Plain Dealer, July 5, 2006). It's a "build it and they will come" dream.

But where will "they" come from? Most likely, the "new" businesses - with the jobs and tax revenue they produce - will come from Lorain, Cleveland, Akron, even Medina or Westlake. Research across the country has shown that highway-induced development tends to come at the expense of other communities in the same region, where homeowners are left to pay more for schools, road maintenance and other necessities ...''

Patricia Carey, Cleveland

Carey is Northeast Ohio director of Greater Ohio.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 11-23-06, By Mary Davies, Staff Writer

``Nagel design on way

AVON -- Possible designs for a new Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road should be ready for public inspection by mid-January [2007], said an engineer leading the project's planning.

Susan Swartz, of TranSystems, a Dublin, Ohio planning firm, told a nearly full City Council chambers on Nov. 16 [2006] her firm will spend the next several weeks completing preliminary studies and drafting design proposals.

"If you have concerns or questions, I encourage you not to wait until the public comment (meeting in January)," Swartz told the approximately 100 people who attended the meeting.

Project leaders and city officials want continuous public input to address in the planning stages as many potential problems as possible.

Other issues which still need more discussion and review include the impacts of the project on air quality, noise, speed limits, farming, connections between Avon and Westlake, upgrades to Chester Road and Detroit Road traffic ... [See "Area of new I-90 Interchange discussed at Master Plan review meeting"]

According to the traffic predictions, Nagel Road traffic south of the new interchange will boost 4 percent [compared to what?]. If that holds true, southern Nagel can remain two lanes, Swartz said ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-29-06, By Rebecca Turman

``TranSystems, city aggressively pursue interchange plans

AVON -- At the Nov. 16 [2006] Avon I-90 Interchange Project Stakeholder meeting, residents were updated on the timeline for the proposed interchange on Nagel Road and were given the opportunity to voice their concerns.

"We all know that if a new interchange is constructed, things won't stay exactly the way they are," said Susan Swartz of TranSystems, the company hired to study the proposed interchange. "A lot of people have said, `If you do it, don't let it be another Crocker,'" Swartz said. "We need to build it with characteristics that will last." "A lot of preliminary engineering and environmental studies remain before we will have lines on paper," she said. "Many approval steps are still required."

Swartz explained that TranSystems is still awaiting feedback from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). She added that ultimately, the Federal Highway Administration would have to give the final approval, which will be the hardest task.

"The next step is to set up design layouts," she said. "We're hoping to come out with proposed layouts in January [2007]," she said, adding that once layouts were developed, a stakeholders' open house would be held.

As far as interchange planning goes, Swartz said that TranSystems and the city of Avon are on an aggressive track. "You don't want people's lives to be in limbo," Swartz said of the stakeholders. "We're shooting to be completed with those items next summer and have big-picture decisions made early next year." The goal would be to get construction started in `08, end `09 and open by `10 Swartz and Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said. "It's aggressive, but theoretically possible," Swartz said.

The interchange will be privately financed as well as with Tax Incremental Financing, Swartz said. "If you wait to get federal money, it will take forever," Swartz said. Mayor Smith further explained that the interchange will cost about $15 million -- $5 million will come from TIFS and $10 million will come from private funding ...

"People said `it doesn't make sense to me how traffic is going to go down on Detroit,'" Swartz said of residents' responses to the traffic studies. She explained that people use Detroit strictly to get to I-90. "People will spend less time on Detroit because of having Nagel in the middle (between Crocker and SR 83)," she said. Swartz then explained how traffic would be affected on Detroit Road. "According to ODOT, all the areas that are the highest (traffic volume wise), will go down 7 percent," she said. "All the areas with lowest traffic will go up 4 percent." [relative to what? traffic in 2006? or traffic in 2030?]

Detroit Road wasn't the only concern of residents at the meeting. One resident expressed concern about Avon Road being used as a possible cut-through route. "When we did the earlier study, we showed Avon Road as closed," Swartz said. "Avon Road was open on the ODOT study.

Traffic volume on Avon near Nagel is essentially unchanged -- 2,300 vehicles a day with nothing and 2,120 with an interchange. [number of cars in 2006 or 2030?] It doesn't show a lot of cut through."

One resident brought up the fact that Westlake may close off Avon Road. Another resident confirmed the rumor when she held up a Westlake City Council agenda, calling for vacating Avon Road in the city of Westlake. Swartz said that was ironic because "they (Westlake) said they would close it if we (Avon) didn't put up an interchange."

Nagel Road was also an issue for some residents. According to Swartz, Nagel Road, south of the interchange will not have a high enough traffic volume to require four lanes to be built. "You could keep it two lanes," Swartz said. "North of the interchange is another story."

Throughout previous stakeholder meetings, residents have asked about air quality and noise affects of the interchange. Swartz told residents that these issues would be addressed and studied as part of the environmental study that still needs to be conducted ...''

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 2-7-07, By George Bliss

``...If Westlake closes their portion of Avon Road ... they should not object to connecting the approximately 990 feet ... from Just Imagine Drive [Chester Road] to Clemens Road, capable of carrying industrial traffic. This would eliminate a need for the proposed interchange at Nagel Road for years to come ...

I would expect some state or federal funds to be available since it is all part of the I-90 access ...''

George O. Bliss, Avon

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EDITORIAL from The Plain Dealer, 2-9-07

``Tap the brakes on Avon exit

What Avon sees as a crucial new high way interchange looks to others like a worsening of urban sprawl.

Today, the board of metropolitan Cleveland's regional planning body will discuss a proposed new interchange on Interstate 90 in Avon at Nagel Road. And it ought to formally call for a comprehensive study of the project's likely effects on the region's traffic, communities and economy.

Avon grew faster than any other town in Ohio from 1994 to 2004, Mayor James Smith points out. "We're going to get the people, anyway," he says. "I've got to move them." [In itself, a new interchange does nothing to move cars around Avon. What plans exist for building feeder streets along with the interchange? As it stands, only commercial development in the immediate vicinity of the interchange would benefit.]

The city's schools are struggling to support the surge in residents, and could use the revenue boost that new development around the interchange would bring. [Because of Tax Increment Financing, the Avon Schools would receive nothing.]

Development there, however, wouldn't affect just Avon. Nearby towns worry that they'll have more traffic rumbling down their streets. Communities closer to Cleveland worry that businesses and residents will flee farther west.

Greater Cleveland's population hasn't grown for decades, although development has surged and spread. In 2000, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission found that retail supply outstripped demand by 6 million square feet - meaning new stores largely suck business from old ones. [See Elyria Mayor says Jacobs group plan to build a ''mega-mall'' in Avon could erode Midway Mall.]

The Avon project would be unusual because the city and its business interests plan to pay for it, without state help. [TIF places the burden on Avon taxpayers.] That means engineers at the Ohio Department of Transportation haven't crunched data.

That makes a detailed study by an independent, knowledgeable body like the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency even more appropriate. It probably would take less than six months.

In any case, NOACA's blessing is required for all transit projects in the region. Its principles include minimizing the "adverse impact of incremental transportation investments on existing communities within the region."

This debate isn't just about an interchange. It's an opportunity to underscore the importance of regional planning. As fragmented as Northeast Ohio remains politically, our futures and fortunes are increasingly linked.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 2-10-07, by Sarah Hollander, Plain Dealer Reporter

``Agency plans first regional impact study

A proposed highway interchange in Avon will become a test case for the area's growing concerns about sprawl and hopes for regionalism.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency's board unanimously agreed Friday [2-9-07] to look beyond typical traffic details when considering a new Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road in the growing suburb.

The five-county planning agency will look beyond the immediate area and consider whether changes in traffic and development at the interchange would drain people and business from surrounding communities.

It's pretty monumental, actually," said NOACA member and Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland. She asked for the broadened study on behalf of western suburbs concerned about the spread of development in a region of stagnant population growth.

"I think this is going to broaden NOACA's perspective," she said.

The agency still needs to determine what to include in the study, and a vote on the project is probably several months away, NOACA Executive Director Howard Maier said. The agency has considered economic impact before for other projects but not in such a formal way, he said.

Avon says the new interchange will ease traffic congestion, improve safety and open vacant land for development and, consequently, a bigger tax base ... [See above.] However, it cannot be built without the approval of NOACA and federal and state officials ...

And while the population of Cleveland and some inner-ring suburbs may be shrinking, Avon is growing ...

NOACA's guiding principles support economic growth but also include some holistic ideas, such as enhancing quality of life [Charter Challenge to Detroit Road Preservation] in the five-county area and minimizing negative effects of transportation projects on the region's existing communities ...''

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

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-11-07, by MATT SUMAN, Morning Journal Writer

``New Avon I-90 exit faces look by NOACA

AVON -- To the dismay of some local public officials, a Northeast Ohio planning organization will examine how the proposed Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road could affect future development in the region.

When the interchange is completed, it would link I-90 and I-480 via Lear Nagel Road in North Ridgeville, Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney said. Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he would like to see construction of the interchange close to being done by the end of 2009.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency voted unanimously Friday [2-10-07] to take a further look at the interchange past typical traffic details, said Howard Maier, its executive director ...

Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland, a NOACA board member, said she asked for the further study Friday on behalf of communities that surround Avon. Western Cuyahoga County officials are concerned about how the interchange could affect future development, she said.

''Is it truly needed or is it sprawl?'' Sutherland asked ...

Maier said the agency, which must approve the interchange, wants to make sure a benefit to one community in the region does not harm others ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-14-06, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer

``AVON -- ... The Cleveland Clinic is interested in developing about 100 acres at a site near the interchange for a large medical facility of about 50,000- to 70,000-square-feet, [Mayor] Smith said. The preliminary plans presented show a medical facility and outparcels, including perhaps restaurants or a hotel ... [Just like the office - research park at Chagrin Highlands?]

Elyria Mayor Bill Grace ... is concerned about a potential mall coming to the area by the interchange ...

Grace said yesterday he was concerned about the amount of commercial development taking place in Northeast Ohio with a smaller population to support it. ''Clearly the status quo is not working in Northeast Ohio,'' Grace said. ''For 45 years, we've experienced no population growth yet we've expanded ourselves larger than we were with the same number of people.''

Grace said he did have concerns about the new interchange drawing economic development away from Elyria and other areas of the county. ''Businesses that may locate in this new development are businesses that may be in Elyria and other communities and may move to that location. Or businesses that maybe if it weren't for that development, may come to Elyria or other communities.'' ... [See Elyria Mayor says Jacobs group plan to build a ''mega-mall'' in Avon could erode Midway Mall]

NOACA Executive Director Howard Maier said the board has the right to ask for more information so it can make an informed decision ...

NOACA, a federally designated organization acts as a metropolitan planning organization for a five county area. Counties and cities in the metropolitan area have representation in NOACA which coordinates transportation and other types of planning. The proposed interchange must gain NOACA approval to move forward ...

Smith said the city has held several open meetings for stakeholders in the project and used them as an opportunity to answer any questions on the issue. He said NOACA is attempting to stall the project until the investors become frustrated. ''They're waiting for our ability to fund it to fail.''

Maier said NOACA is working on the project, and he understands that people often become impatient with the progress of their projects ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-14-07, by Joe Medici

``Agency study holds up I-90, 480 connection plan

... If the interchange at Lear Nagel becomes a reality, North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock said [we] will have to look at expanding Lear Nagel and Detroit roads to accommodate the potential traffic increase ... "We are working on widening South Lear Nagel (south of Center Ridge Road) but North Lear Nagel is still two lanes. Hopefully, we can widen South Lear Nagel by 2010, but we haven't worked on the north end yet." ...''

Contact Joe Medici at jmedici@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE fron The Morning Journal, 2-16-07, by MATT SUMAN, Morning Journal Writer

[Avon Mayor scoffs at revenue sharing]

``ELYRIA -- The Nagel Road interchange discussion at the Lorain County commissioners' meeting yesterday morning [2-15-07] got heated ...

Ted Kalo, Lorain County commissioner and a NOACA board member ... said he believes the revenue sharing would be sharing income tax money from any business that leaves a NOACA community to relocate due to the Nagel Road interchange. The income tax would be shared with the community the business leaves, he said ...

Hugh Shannon, governmental services coordination manager for the Cuyahoga County commissioners, brought up revenue sharing during the discussion about the Nagel Road interchange at last Friday's [2-9-07] NOACA meeting. Shannon did not return calls seeking comment yesterday [2-15-07] ...

Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, a NOACA board member, said he has issues with the Nagel Road interchange because of an economic impact on a region that has a stagnant population. ''Any such development is likely to be at the expense of another,'' said Grace, who is in line to become president of NOACA the year after next. ''It likely will have an impact on the Midway Mall area," he said ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE fron The Morning Journal, 2-17-07, by MATT SUMAN, Morning Journal Writer

``CLEVELAND -- Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo said county officials are not against an economic impact study for the Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, but he asked a committee of a regional planning group to get it done in 60 days.

The Nagel Road interchange, which has become unpopular with some officials in Cuyahoga County who fear it will be used to attract businesses from their county to Avon, was discussed yesterday morning [2-16-07] at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency's Transportation Advisory Committee meeting. NOACA must approve the $15 million project before construction begins ...

Howard Maier, executive director of NOACA, said the organization hopes to move quickly but could not guarantee Kalo's request to be ready in 60 days ...

Ronald Eckner, NOACA's director of transportation planning, said NOACA might have to hire an outside consultant to perform the economic impact study. But Kalo pointed out that it could be tough to agree on which consultant should do the study. ...

During the meeting, Lake County Commissioner Robert Aufuldish said the Crocker Bassett and SR 83 interchanges are both less than a mile from Nagel Road. ''All we're saving is one mile of driving,'' he said ...

The idea of revenue sharing -- if the interchange is built -- between Lorain and Cuyahoga counties as well as within Lorain County came up during prior discussions about the interchange.

''We've been talking about it in Cuyahoga County for a while,'' said Hugh Shannon, governmental services coordination manager for the Cuyahoga County commissioners' office ...

Kalo has said his understanding of revenue sharing is related to income taxes. If a company left one city and moved to another, the city that lost the company would get a portion of the revenue.

[Avon Mayor] Smith said he's not sure what revenue sharing might mean for the interchange. ''I really don't understand what they mean,'' he said. Tax revenue would pay off the debt for the interchange, Smith said. ''There's no money left (for sharing),'' he said. [And no money left for the schools. Meanwhile, Avon's credit will have been consumed.]

When the Cleveland Cavaliers moved their practice facility to Independence from Cleveland, Shannon said, an agreement was reached that part of the payroll taxes would be paid to Cleveland. Shannon, who works in Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones' office, said the commissioners are awaiting more information before deciding on whether to support the interchange ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-16-07, by Brad Dicken

``Cuyahoga County wants cut of Avon development

AVON -- A proposed new interchange at Interstate 90 and Lear Nagel Road could bring a lot of business to Avon, but not everyone wants to see all of the profits remain in the pockets of the city and Lorain County.

Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones has proposed a revenue-sharing agreement that would spread the tax money generated by the project to the other four counties that, along with Lorain County, make up the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency ...

Avon Mayor Jim Smith doesn't like the idea at all. "Why should we share our money with Cuyahoga County?" Smith asked ... "This is blackmail," Smith said ...

Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, a NOACA board member, said he has concerns of his own about what impact the retail development will have on all of the area's other retail outlets, including Midway Mall in Elyria.

Grace said growth in the Northeast Ohio region hasn't been managed well; while the greater Cleveland area has seen new retail and such built, it's relying on a population that isn't growing in tandem. So a regional approach isn't a bad idea, he said.

"Our success here in Elyria, Lorain and, in fact, the county, is intertwined with the success of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County," Grace said ...

Smith is ready with a back-up plan. He suggested that Lorain County withdraw from NOACA and form its own metropolitan planning organization, either by itself or with Erie County, if the county's interests aren't being given their due.

[County Commissioner Betty] Blair said that would hurt the county more than help it, but Smith insists it's an idea worth considering. "NOACA is only there to service the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County," he said.''

Contact Brad Dicken at bdicken@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 2-17-07, by Joe Medici

``AVON -- Last week, the board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency unanimously approved seeking an economic impact study before considering a new interchange at Interstate 90 and Lear Nagel Road in Avon ...

Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, who also is on the NOACA board, ... said the board and officials throughout Northeast Ohio need to reconsider how they look at development in the region to make sure that growth benefits everyone. "In the last 45 years, there has been no population increase in the greater Cleveland area, but there has been development and so unfortunately all of the communities are put into competition with one another," Grace said ...

Avon Mayor Jim Smith ... has suggested that Lorain County pull out of NOACA if the interchange plan gets rejected ...

Grace said he wants to see the study done to ensure the interchange would spur growth and not simply steal customers away from existing facilities, including Midway Mall in Elyria and complexes in surrounding cities. "Each time there has been development in this region, it has been at the expense of other areas because there has been no growth," Grace said ...''

Contact Joe Medici at jmedici@chroniclet.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-14-07, By Rebecca Turman

``On Feb. 9 [2007], Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) members decided to review the impacts of the proposed I-90 interchange on Nagel Road in Avon. NOACA is a federally designated metropolitan planning organization for five counties of Northeast Ohio, including Lorain and Cuyahoga counties ...

"They made a motion to study the economic impact," Lorain County NOACA member Elyria Mayor Bill Grace said. The study will give NOACA members more direction in making a recommendation for the interchange, Grace added ...

Grace [said], "... I am concerned about the interchange impact on the Midway Mall area." A representative from the Jacobs Group informed Grace that the land would probably be used for a Cleveland Clinic on approximately 100 acres ...

With or without the mall, Grace said he supports economic impact studies. "Northeast Ohio and Greater Cleveland have been struggling," Grace said. "There has been massive development with no growth. And recognizing the zero-sum game that we are in, there are negative consequences (of building a new interchange). There needs to be careful consideration ...

While discussing impacts, NOACA member and Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson-Jones brought up the possibility of revenue sharing ...

Regarding the possibility of revenue sharing, Grace said it would take continuous discussion before it could be considered. "I'm not sure that would be resolved in a timely way to address this request," Grace added ...

[Avon Mayor Jim] Smith thinks Lorain County should consider breaking free from NOACA and possibly join with Erie County in some way ...

No timeline has been established for the economic study, according to Smith, though the next NOACA meeting will be held March 9 [2007] ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-10-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer

``AVON -- After more than an hour of debate, the governing board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency voted unanimously yesterday to go forward with an economic impact study of the proposed Nagel Road Interstate 90 interchange in Avon ...

The board vote authorizes the NOACA's executive committee to seek a consultant to do the study, oversee it and report its results to the full board in September [2007].

Ron Echner, director of transportation planning for NOACA, said the study will focus on the city of Avon, Lorain County and the entire NOACA region, which consists of Lorain, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Medina counties.

The study will analyze the interchange's impacts on employment and wages, tax base and public services, Echner said. The budget for the study is about $100,000, board members said ...

Board members were shown a conceptual map of the proposed development near the proposed interchange of about 200 acres owned by the Richard E. Jacobs Group. The Jacobs Group's conceptual plans show corporate offices, retail shops and a medical center ...

If NOACA approves the project in the fall, Avon officials believe the interchange should be able to go on as scheduled to begin construction in spring 2008, Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza said.

NOACA must approve all highway projects, even those not being funded with government money, as Avon's interchange would be. After NOACA's approval, the interchange would have to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration.

Board member Paul Alsenas of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission said the study should look at macro issues and not ''traffic projections at specific intersections in one corner Lorain County.'' Another board member asked questions about urban sprawl and said the issue should be addressed on a regional basis ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 3-14-07, By Rebecca Turman

``AVON -- There were "ayes" all around at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) Governing Board meeting in Cleveland on March 9 [2007]. The board approved the request for proposals (RFP) for an economic impact analysis regarding Avon's proposal for the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road ...

The NOACA executive committee will have the power to review consultant proposals, select the consultant and provide oversight for staff and consultant. The cost of the consultant is not expected to exceed $100,000.

A timeline for the study was presented to the board as follows: March 9: board authorization; March 16: RFP mailed; April 10: proposals due; April 11-27: consultant selected; May 10: notice to proceed; Sept. 14: project completed ...

The board reviewed a conceptual site plan the Jacobs Group submitted for what could be put in at the corner of Chester and Nagel roads, including spaces for corporate offices and a medical center. A Cleveland Clinic coming to that area has not been confirmed ...

Elyria Mayor Bill Grace relayed his feelings about the interchange to the board as well. He spoke about the stagnant population growth in the area and the current economy in Northeast Ohio. "There clearly have been losers and winners," he said ...

During the meeting, Susan Swartz of TranSystems, the agency Avon hired to take on the project study, represented Avon. "Your vote does not make this (the interchange happen), but it might make it not happen," Swartz said, adding that the Federal Highway Administration has the final say ...

"If we don't build, what's going to happen?" [Swartz] asked ... I would question the value of the $100,000 and the extra six months.

You could agree to go forward and say `It's subject to the fact that we have these (economic impact) concerns.'" The Federal Highway Administration would have to make sure that TranSystems would address those concerns, Swartz added. [So in effect, TranSystems would do the economic impact study.]

Several board members questioned how accurate the traffic studies are that TranSystems conducted.

According to the timeline, NOACA will not see a final presentation of the economic analysis, if it proves to be feasible, until September 2007.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-11-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer

``WESTLAKE -- Two of the area's three major east-west highways will soon be connected via the Crocker-Stearns extension project between Westlake and North Olmsted.

Yet with the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, Lorain County won't be far behind in linking the two highways, via Lear Nagel Road.

Cuyahoga County officials say the Crocker-Stearns extension will alleviate traffic and facilitate commerce in western Cuyahoga County. When the $13.3 million project is completed in September 2009, the road will be the only north-south connector between I-480 and I-90 on the west side of Cuyahoga County.

Stearns Road will be widened from Lorain Road to I-480 before the end of the year, widening to six lanes ...

When Avon's Nagel Road I-90 interchange is completed, Lorain County, too, will have a direct link between I-480 and I-90 in the form of Nagel Road in Avon, which turns into Lear Nagel Road in North Ridgeville, Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney said ...

Through the engineer's office, North Ridgeville plans to upgrade Lear Nagel Road to concrete and widen it to four lanes, about a $5 million upgrade, Carney said.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith said the city has studied the traffic implications of the proposed interchange extensively, and the city is prepared to make any road improvements on Nagel Road that are necessary after its construction ...''

[Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will be used to pay off the $15,000,000 loan for the proposed Nagel Rd. interchange and does not include the much greater amount of money needed to widen Nagel Rd. to 4 lanes south to Mills Rd. to bring cars to the new interchange.

Revenue sharing has been suggested for the vicinity of the proposed Nagel Rd. interchange, for example when the Cleveland Clinic leaves Westlake for Avon. Avon's Mayor has been quoted as saying, "Tax revenue would pay off the debt for the interchange. There's no money left for sharing." And he is right. TIF would consume both real estate and income tax revenue to pay off the $15,000,000 loan for the interchange.

TIF would also consume Avon's credit, increasing the borrowing costs for the new police station ($5,000,000) and proposed recreation center with swimming pool ($10,000.000?).

At least with 100% tax abatement, Avon could keep the income tax; only the schools would lose. TIF takes everything. Avon would be further ahead not to build the interchange and collect the income tax from businesses that would be willing to locate in Avon's industrial area without a new interchange.

It has been suggested that the interchange consulting engineering firm, TranSystems, has not fairly considered the no-build option: ``If Westlake closes their portion of Avon Road, they should not object to connecting the approximately 990 feet ... from Just Imagine Drive [Chester Road] to Clemens Road, capable of carrying industrial traffic. This would eliminate a need for the proposed interchange at Nagel Road for years to come ..."

Worse than `failure to consider' are the destructive effects of the proposed interchange: After repealing previous cluster zoning ordinances, the Avon Council is being asked to pass one that could eliminate exisitng driveways on Detroit Rd. and Nagel Road. And a Charter attack has been initiated on Detroit Road. The Avon Law Director has suggested that the 2007 Charter Review Commission "may also want to look at the Detroit Road amendment for keeping only three lanes."

On November 4, 2003, the citizens of Avon voted for the Detroit Road Preservation Charter Amendment: "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 ... except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector public streets."

The appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere. Preserving Detroit Road is an important quality of life goal because Detroit Road is the setting for many of our churches, schools, and century homes.

A Master Thoroughfare Plan, paid for by the Jacobs Group, was presented by a URS traffic engineer to the Planning Commission on June 12, 2002. URS recommended that Avon put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road to carry traffic to an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

With 5 lanes permitted on Detroit Road, Avon could be required by the courts to rezone Detroit Road in a manner that is "constitutionally permissible." It could be argued that five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road make single family residential use impossible and that the entire length of Detroit Road should be zoned commercial or for apartments, now, even before another square foot of pavement is added.

Removing Detroit Road Preservation from Avon's Charter would nullify the charter amendment adopted on November 7, 2006, which requires an affirmative public vote to rezone residential property south of Detroit for commercial purposes. Using "constitutionally permissible," commercial and multifamily would creep south from Detroit Road.

Apartments on Detroit Rd. could add 15,000 people to Avon's build-out population. Avon has an area of 20.9 square miles. Parma has an area of 20.8 square miles and had a population of about 87,000 in 2003. Five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road would be consumed by the traffic generated on Detroit Road.

As far as an interchange at Nagel Rd. is concerned, `more' is not `better'. Another interchange will make travel more dangerous on I-90. Accidents in which a car crosses the median of I-90 into oncoming traffic will continue to rise unless concrete barriers are put up to separate the eastbound and westbound lanes. Why is there no money available for this obvious safety measure when it is proposed to spend $15,000,000 on another interchange?

Why is another off-ramp lane not added such as exists at Crocker Road to relieve rush hour traffic at SR 83? Why isn't the Chester Rd. -- SR 611 mess straightened out at I-90? Let's make some cost effective decisions to improve the quality of life in Avon, not degrade it.]

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

Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

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