7-15-07 Nagel Rd. Interchange Progress Report
8-22-07 Public forum on the Nagel Rd. interchange on 8-22-07
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-11-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer
... 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.]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-15-07, by ALEX M. PARKER, Morning Journal Writer
[Nagel Rd. Interchange Progress Report]
``AVON -- Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he disagrees with some of the assumptions underlying a report which estimates how much growth the proposed Nagel Road Interstate 90 interchange would cause -- claiming it overestimates how much growth the [interchange] would cause.
Smith said the report, the second ''Progress Report'' of an economic assessment submitted to the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, overestimates the impact the interchange will have.
The full report will be completed in September , when the NOACA board is expected to vote on whether to approve the project. Avon officials hope to break ground sometime in 2008.
''There's some things there in error. We'll have some people refute some of the things that were said,'' Smith said.
In particular, Smith disputed a claim in the report that the interchange would create more commercially zoned land, [mostly on Detroit Road], claiming an amendment to Avon's charter would keep most of the land in its current zoning, unless it was put to a public vote ...
The economic impact study is the latest step in getting approval from NOACA, which is made up of government representatives from throughout its area, which includes Lorain, Medina, Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties ...
The interchange would be paid for by the city of Avon and the development firm Jacobs Group, but the city must still seek NOACA approval before beginning the project.
The most recent report, conducted by consultants D.B. Hartt and Silverlode Consulting Corp., predicts economic growth in Lorain County and Avon if the interchange would be completed.
The report estimates Avon will see an additional $3.3 million in payroll taxes by 2030 because of the project, and Lorain County will have an additional $1,177,044 annually from property taxes by 2030 ...
In addition to the rezoning issues, Smith said he didn't agree the report's conclusion that Henkel could expand its facilities by 400,000 square feet -- regardless of whether the interchange is passed or not ...
Smith blasted NOACA for requiring the economic study at all -- claiming it had never been used before for a road project.
''I think Lorain County should break away from NOACA, and go over to the Huron and Erie and Sandusky areas,'' said Smith. ''We're the little fish in the big pond, and we're just going to keep getting the stick over our head. Lorain County is not treated as fairly as the city of Cleveland.''''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 7-14-07, by Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer Reporter
``AVON -- ... Avon and Lorain County will see a nice bump in jobs and taxes if an [I90] interchange opens at Nagel Road, a consultant group reported Friday [7-13-07] to the region's transportation-planning body. But consultants have yet to delve into the flip side of Avon's gain.
By September , D.B. Hartt Inc. and Silverlode Consulting Corp. are scheduled to report to the five-county Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency on the project's economic impact, including which Cleveland-area cities would suffer from the opening of an Avon interchange.
NOACA must decide whether the interchange is a go ... But officials in Westlake, which could lose Cleveland Clinic offices, and other suburbs in western Cuyahoga County oppose the new interchange.
Cleveland-area officials always fret that new interstate links in outer-ring suburbs hasten the flow of residents from the region's core.
The consultants' preliminary analysis showed that Avon would see $8.8 million in new payroll taxes annually by 2030 if the interchange is built.
If it's not built, taxes would grow by only $5.5 million a year, consultants said.
[In other words, Avon could make an additional $3.3 million per year in payroll taxes by 2030 if an interchange is built at Nagel Road] ...
Avon would pay $6.3 million of the estimated $19 million price tag. The Jacobs Group, which owns 212 acres nearby, would pay $6.3 million, [When?], while new property tax from the Jacobs' development would cover the rest. [Not only property tax but also income tax would be used to pay off the Tax Increment Finanacing debt.
Avon's Mayor has been quoted as saying, "Tax revenue would pay off the debt for the interchange. There's no money left for [revenue] sharing." And he is right. TIF would consume both real estate and income tax to pay off the $15,000,000 [or more] loan for the interchange.]
"It's a double-edged sword," Smith said. "It's great to see the benefit, but we have to make all the improvements along 90 to accept traffic from other cities." [such as traffic from North Ridgeville coming down Nagel Road] A new interchange would greatly influence how the surrounding 1,000 acres would be used.
Some 440 acres would go to homes, with average market values of $325,000. Up to 110 acres would go to retail [mostly on Detroit Rd.], consultants said.
Without the interchange, 600 acres would go to residential and only 18 acres to retail, Hartt and Silverlode reported.
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan worries that the interchange will pull wealth from the Cleveland area, a classic symptom of urban sprawl.
Commissioners also pay for the MetroHealth Medical Center, which could lose patients in western Cuyahoga County to a new Cleveland Clinic campus, Hagan said ...
Cleveland is likewise concerned the new interchange will hurt, said Bob Brown, the city's planning director and president of NOACA's board.
"As people and jobs moved out of the urban core, the entire region - not just the central city - has become less competitive and less vibrant," Brown said in a prepared statement.
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-17-07, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer
``I-90 interchange has ups, downs
AVON -- A proposed interchange for Interstate 90 in Avon could improve that city's tax revenues, but the windfall might come at the cost of jobs and people in greater Cleveland, according to Cuyahoga County officials.
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones said Avon's plan to build the interchange at Nagel Road could spur a westward exodus.
''It's a classic example of the suburbs versus the inner city,'' Jones said. He was reacting to a July 13  progress report from D.B. Hartt Inc. and Silverlode Consulting Corp., which estimates the economic impact the interchange would have by the year 2030 ...
''I'm waiting for the final report from Hartt, which will show the upside and downside,'' he said. ''Who will benefit, and who will suffer. If 100 people benefit and 100 are harmed, then we must ask the question should we support it regionally?''
David Hartt, president of D.B. Hartt Inc., said another progress report, due Aug. 10 , would estimate the costs associated with development stemming from the new interchange. That report will try to calculate how many new jobs will be created by development spurred by the interchange, and how many jobs would simply be shifted from another location.
It will also estimate the costs of other services needed, including maintaining and upgrading state and county roads in the area [such as widening Nagel Road].
Cuyahoga County Administrator Dennis Madden said he would be alert to possible problems. ''Cuyahoga County is losing population over the long term,'' he said. ''We need to be very careful how we deal with proposals that potentially impact our tax base negatively.'' ...
The Jacobs Group, which owns 212 acres near the planned interchange zoned for retail, industrial and office use, would pay $6.3 million; the city of Avon would pay $6.3 million; and the remaining $6.3 million would be covered by future property taxes [and income tax -- Tax Increment Financing] from the Jacobs Group development.
[How will Avon make the bond payments if the proposed Jacobs developmnet does not happen?]
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency will vote on the Nagel Road interchange Sept. 14 .''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-11-07, by KATE GIAMMARISE, Morning Journal Writer
[Public forum on the Nagel Rd. interchange at 6:30 pm on Aug. 22, 2007, at the Spitzer Center at Lorain County Community College]
``ELYRIA -- The Cleveland Clinic has asked members of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to approve construction of a controversial interchange at Nagel Road and Interstate 90 in Avon.
At yesterday's NOACA board meeting [8-10-07], a Clinic representative read a letter in favor of the proposed interchange from Oliver C. Henkel Jr., executive director of government and community relations for the hospital system ...
The Clinic supports the project because it has reached an agreement to acquire 40 acres of land near the proposed interchange [from the Jacobs group], and in the coming months plans to design and build a 170,000- square-foot outpatient facility, according to the letter read at the meeting ...
Following the Clinic's comments, NOACA's Director of Transportation Planning Ronald Eckner said the agency's Transportation Advisory Committee will be meeting next week to discuss the Avon project.
Typically, the committee makes a recommendation to NOACA about projects, though Eckner said he is not sure if the committee will make a recommendation in this case, as another study about the interchange is still being performed.
In May , NOACA selected consulting firm D. B. Hartt Inc. to perform an economic impact study, which is scheduled to be complete by mid-September. It is analyzing land use, the expected level of development by 2030, anticipated traffic and truck use and changes in the community tax base.
The results of the study will be presented at the next meeting at 10 a.m. Sept. 14  at the NOACA office, 1299 Superior Ave., Cleveland ...
NOACA is hosting a public forum about the interchange from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Spitzer Center at Lorain County Community College.
More information about the project is available online at www.noaca.org/avoninterchange.html.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 8-11-07, by Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer Reporter
``ELYRIA -- The region's largest employer left no doubt Friday where it stands in the controversy over a new Interstate 90 link in Avon - the Cleveland Clinic wants it to gain a foothold in the hot eastern Lorain County market.
Despite fears the Avon interchange would suck wealth and jobs from Cuyahoga County, the Clinic asked a highway-planning body Friday to approve the $19 million interchange proposed for Nagel Road.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency heard the Clinic's appeal, as well as a consultant's preliminary finding that the new I-90 link would not significantly affect Cleveland's and Cuyahoga County's ability to compete for jobs and investment in the region.
Cleveland-area officials weren't overjoyed with either pronouncement.
"Obviously, there's a concern that this will result in a loss of development in an area that's already economically disadvantaged to an area that's not," said Bob Brown, Cleveland's top planner and chairman of NOACA's governing board.
The board, comprised of leaders from five counties, could vote next month on the project ...
In a letter to NOACA, the Clinic said it wants to build a 170,000-square-foot outpatient center. The Clinic said it has outgrown a 78,000-square-foot facility in Westlake and could not find space to expand. A new facility in Avon won't have much impact on Westlake operations or the 450 employees, said William Peacock, a top construction planner with the Clinic.
Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough is skeptical. He said Clinic officials gave him a "courtesy" visit this week. "They said they would keep a significant presence, but they didn't define what they meant," Clough said.
Clough said he and other mayors in western Cuyahoga County are concerned about the loss of retail and industry to a new Avon interchange.
Clough said 10 companies have already made the short jump to the Avon area for cheaper, tax-abated land, leaving Westlake with hundreds of thousands of square feet of vacant industrial space ...
Controversy over the interchange prompted NOACA to conduct an unprecedented study of the new interchange's economic impact on the region.
Preliminary findings show that the interchange would draw about 1.3 million square feet of new retail, office and industrial space from Cuyahoga County by 2030. That translates to about 5,000 jobs, the study showed.
But the study cautioned ... denying the interchange probably wouldn't change the region's historic pattern of sprawling growth, the study said, nor would it affect the pace of business relocations.''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-11-07, by Stephen Szucs
``ELYRIA -- A proposed Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon won't damage the economies of neighboring communities, according to a preliminary report issued by a consultant looking at the plan ...
The D.B. Hartt Inc. economic assessment report, which examined existing traffic and development patterns along I-90 in western Cuyahoga County and Lorain County, said sprawling development in the area -- both industrial and residential -- would progress naturally whether an interchange is built or not.
"It is unlikely that the denial of the interchange will materially alter the development patterns compared to what has been and will likely occur in the future," the report stated. "Development will continue to respond to market demand."
The Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc. has already proposed a 220-acre site north of I-90 for development and will take on a third of the costs associated with the interchange's $19 million price tag. The remaining costs will be split between bonds paid for by the city of Avon and tax incremental financing [TIF] ...
The report also suggests providing a regional transit connection in Avon to help link riders to Cuyahoga County and beyond. Ron Eckner, NOACA's director of transportation and planning, said connecting to the rest of the region could help spur the approval the interchange needs.
The 38-member NOACA board, made up of public officials from Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Medina and Geauga counties, is expected to vote on the issue Sept. 14 .
Elyria Mayor Bill Grace sits on the board but remains unconvinced the interchange can have a positive effect locally -- for the region or even the city it'll call home. "I'm skeptical," he said. "I'm not sure I see the benefit to Lorain County, or the benefit even to Avon."''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-18-07, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer
I-90 interchange at Nagel Road gets OK by advisory panel
``AVON -- Supporters of the proposed Nagel Road interchange for Interstate 90 in Avon came one step closer to putting shovels in the ground yesterday when an advisory committee of a five-county agency voted in the project's favor.
The Transportation Advisory Committee of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency [NOACA] voted 19 to 11 in support of the interchange yesterday [8-17-07] ... and it should be recommended to NOACA's governing board, which is scheduled to vote on the project Sept. 14  ...
The NOACA transportation advisory committee includes Lorain County commissioners Ted Kalo and Betty Blair, Lorain County Engineer Ken Carney, Avon Lake Mayor Rob Berner and Lorain County Assistant Administrator Ron Twining, -- all voted in favor of the interchange ...
NOACA includes representatives of Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties. The agency has to approve the interchange before work can begin, even though the city of Avon is not asking for any state or federal money for the project. Current plans call for the city and The Jacobs Group, which owns 212 acres near the proposed interchange, to share the $19 million cost of the project.
D.B. Hartt, a consultant studying potential economic impacts of the interchange on northeast Ohio, is due to submit a final report Sept. 7 -- [the] governing board will have a week to study the report before making its final vote Sept. 14. If the governing board grants approval to the interchange, Avon could start construction as early as spring 2008 ...
A public forum to discuss the interchange project will be hosted by NOACA Wednesday, Aug. 22  from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Spitzer Conference Center of Lorain County Community College.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-18-07, by Stephen Szucs
``CLEVELAND -- An interchange on Interstate-90 at Nagel Road in Avon has inched another step closer to being built.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency's Transportation Advisory Committee Friday [8-17-07] voted 19-11 in favor of the interchange.
The 38-member NOACA board, made up of public officials from Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Medina and Geauga counties, is expected to vote on the recommendation Sept. 14  ...
An overview of the impact study, along with alternative development scenarios and preliminary assessments of the direct and indirect impacts of the interchange, will be presented at a public forum 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday [8-22-07] at Lorain County Community College's Spitzer Conference Center.''
Contact Stephen Szucs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COLUMN from the Plain Dealer, 8-20-07, by Michael K. McIntyre, Plain Dealer Columnist
``Let's make a deal:
The issue is cars, but the method is horse trading.
The Cleveland Clinic, which plans a 170,000-square-foot medical center off Nagel Road in Avon, wants a new I-90 exit nearby. Cuyahoga County commissioners, though, have the influence to block the new interchange.
The facility, in Lorain County just over the Cuyahoga County line, would be the catalyst for a Jacobs Group development that Cleveland-area leaders fear will pull more wealth from Cuyahoga County.
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan says he's scheduled to meet with the Clinic's government-relations chief, Oliver "Pudge" Henkel, Thursday. Hagan says he's undecided on the project but will float a revenue-sharing approach that would have a portion of revenues from the Clinic's Avon facility coming back to Cuyahoga County to help defray indigent care at MetroHealth Medical Center, which the county subsidizes.
Commissioners have juice with the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the five-county body that approves projects on local interstates. Under NOACA rules, commissioners could call for a weighted vote, boosting their bloc of votes on the Avon interchange from three to 12. Those votes, along with votes from other Cleveland-area leaders, could be enough to block the Avon interchange. The Clinic says it will build on the site, even with no interchange.''
[Why should Avon obligate itself for TIF bond payments if the proposed Clinic facility will be built without them?]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-23-07, by Shawn Foucher, The Chronicle-Telegram
``Cuyahoga officials voice opposition to I-90 interchange
ELYRIA -- City officials from Cuyahoga County said Wednesday that a proposed Interstate 90 highway interchange at Avon's Nagel Road has the potential to rob their communities of existing business and future growth.
More than 150 people turned out at Lorain County Community College's Spitzer Conference Center for a public forum hosted by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the organization heading up a study to measure the project's potential economic impact.
NOACA consultant Steve Weitzner ... said the project will have no "material impact" on the region's overall economy ..., [but] officials from areas outside Lorain County aren't so sure.
"I don't agree at all with your statement that there will be no material cost to the surrounding communities," said Bob Parry, Westlake's director of economic development.
Perry and Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough said Weitzner's claims that the project won't be a detriment to areas on Avon's periphery, such as Westlake and Cleveland, didn't match the reality.
Clough, Perry and Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli said growth in Avon will mean existing and future development will be siphoned away from their areas.
Clough said five Westlake companies recently left his town and moved to Lorain County to cash in on handsome tax breaks.
The result for Westlake, Clough said, has been 500,000 square feet of vacant office space ...
The study is designed to measure the economic and other development the interchange could trigger, and compare two scenarios -- life with an interchange and life without an interchange.
Weitzner said the interchange's construction could result in an additional 1.4 million square feet of office space and 680,000 square feet of industrial space in Avon over the next 23 years -- all within a 1,400-acre area near the proposed interchange.
It could also create more than 9,000 new jobs in Avon over that 23-year period, and more than $4 million a year in tax revenue, Weitzner said.
Many local officials at the meeting, including North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock, lauded the interchange project as being good for Lorain County.
Gillock fired back at Cuyahoga County officials who opposed the project, saying the interchange's financial rewards shouldn't be shared with Cuyahoga County cities because they never shared money from their developments -- such as Westlake's Crocker Park -- with Lorain County communities.
NOACA consultant David Hartt said the finalized study will be released Sept. 7 . The NOACA board's 38 members -- made up of officials from Lorain, Cuyahoga, Lake, Medina and Geauga counties -- will review the study on Sept. 14.''
Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or email@example.com.
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 8-23-07, by Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer Reporter
``I-90 link in Avon divides western suburbs
Avon wants it; Westlake fears it
ELYRIA -- North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock says a new Interstate 90 link in Avon would help speed his residents home.
But Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough says it could hasten the exit of businesses from his town.
The view of a $19 million interchange at Nagel Road in Avon depends on what side of the Cuyahoga-Lorain border you live on, if a Wednesday night hearing is any indication.
About 100 people listened intently to a report on the economic impact of the proposed interchange, presented at Lorain County Community College by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.
The five-county transportation planning body could vote on the controversial interchange next month ...
[Consultant David Hartt told the crowd] ... nearby areas, including western Cuyahoga County, could lose 5,000 jobs and 1.3 million square feet of development to Avon by 2030, the consultant's report showed. But the losses would be recovered, or back-filled, by the shifting of businesses over time, Hartt said ...
Cleveland-area leaders were skeptical. Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli argued that urban sprawl is sapping Cleveland's quality of life.
"The sucking sound coming out of Cleveland isn't measurable?" Brancatelli said.
Hartt's study projected nearly 2 million square feet of office and retail developing around the interchange, a scary prospect for Westlake's Clough and his planning director, Bob Parry. Their western Cuyahoga County suburb, a short drive from the proposed interchange, already has some half-million square feet of available office space.
"I don't agree at all . . . that there's no material cost" to areas outside Avon, Parry said ...
The Cleveland Clinic is lobbying hard for the new I-90 link because it's planning a 170,000-square-foot medical facility on 40 acres of the Jacobs land.''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-23-07, by KATE GIAMMARISE, Morning Journal Writer
``ELYRIA -- A proposed interchange at Nagel Road and Interstate 90 in Avon would have positive benefits for Avon and no material adverse impacts to the region or surrounding communities, according to an overview of an economic study presented at a public forum last night [8-22-07] ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 8-29-07, By Rebecca Turman
``Residents, area officials speak their minds about proposed I-90 interchange
AVON -- The grand room of the Stocker Center and Lorain County Community College was filled on the evening of Aug. 22 with 100-plus community members and regional officials convening to discuss the heavily debated topic of the city of Avon's proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency is scheduled to vote on the interchange on Sept. 14 . The public forum was held to update community members on the status of the review.
The evening became heated with public comments, heavy with an east (Cuyahoga County) vs. west (Lorain County) mentality, after a presentation was made by NOACA Executive Director Howard Maier and the economic impact analysis study was presented by D.B. Hartt, Silverlode Consulting and Oxbow, who have been working on interchange study since authorized by NOACA in May.
David Hartt, of D.B. Hartt explained to the audience that the study "focused on `likely' outcomes, not ‘hoped for' outcomes." Collectively, D.B. Hartt, Silverlode and Oxbow, as explained at previous NOACA meetings, believe that the interchange will clearly "have positive benefits to Avon and no material adverse impacts to the region or surrounding areas."
During the meeting, North Ridgeville Mayor Dave Gillock expressed his support for the proposed interchange. Though Gillock said the new interchange would "negatively impact traffic flow on Nagel Road," he said it would ultimately help North Ridgeville residents get to and from work more quickly, as many work in Cuyahoga County and need I-90 access.
Title: [I-90 -- Nagel Road interchange]
``... North Ridgeville often uses Avon roads to get to I-90; so according to an article in the Plain Dealer on 3-4-07, 4000 "new homes in the next 10 years" x 2 cars/home = 8000 more cars.
According to the PD, NR has "18 subdivisions under construction." Planning, anyone? How do these cars get to I-90?''
Building an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, which will attract more Ridgeville cars into Avon, seems almost insane.
Written by: Oldtimer on March 5, 2007 7:05 AM]
"I will protest, with all my ability, any consideration of sharing any new taxes generated with Cuyahoga County," Gillock said in response to the rumor that Cuyahoga County will be looking for tax kickbacks from the developed area should the interchange get the go-ahead. Gillock mentioned that the idea was ridiculous, adding that Lorain County didn't ask for money from Westlake when Crocker Park was built.
Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli questioned whether population shifts were calculated into the economic shifts during the meeting. "The sucking sound coming out of Cleveland isn't measurable?" he asked the consultants.
Joe Calabrese, CEO and general manager of the Greater Cleveland RTA, had some concerns about the study, regarding public transportation. "I really think a point has been missed," Calabrese said. "I know, about a week before this (new interchange) opens, I'll be getting calls saying `I need to get to work.' We need to provide some associated public transportation."
Several Avon residents spoke out during the meeting. Karen Quisenberry, who lives on Schwartz Road, said currently there is a huge flow of traffic coming from North Ridgeville, and traffic backs up from Detroit Road to Schwartz Road at high impact times. "Be aware of that," she said.
An Avon resident on Stoney Ridge Road told the consultants she didn't think a new interchange would help traffic. "The only road that we have all the way through Avon, east and west, is Detroit Road," she said. "We need another road that goes from Westlake all the way through Sheffield Village."
Earlier in the meeting, George Bliss, of Avon, suggested that Westlake and Avon look at opening up Just Imagine Drive [Chester Rd.] (Avon) to Clemens Road (Westlake). "I think that's an option that needs to be looked at," Hartt said, though adding that he didn't believe it would qualify as an adequate substitute for a new interchange.
During the meeting, Westlake's planning director and mayor laid out their concerns about the interchange. Westlake Planning and Economic Development Director Bob Parry questioned the final conclusion of the study, that it won't adversely effect the region."
Parry voiced concern that building the interchange would result in an "over-supply" of retail in the region. "In the area of industrial development, in Westlake, we now have 367,000 square feet available for lease," Parry said.
"Over the last decade or so, the city of Westlake has lost five (industrial companies) (to Avon) because of tax abatements. Out of those five companies, four of those buildings are vacant today, 200,000 square feet. You don't get backfill in old buildings. There will be vacancies and a loss in taxes (should the interchange be built). I don't agree at all (that it won't affect the region).
Steve Weitzner, of Silverlode, responded to Parry's concerns. "I'm familiar with some of the relocations," he said. "Incentives tend to be short-lived. Most industrial companies move because the facility doesn't meet their needs anymore. If there is a weakness in what you have to offer, then you need to address that."
Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough said he spoke with many of the businesses that left the city. "I guarantee (their decisions to move) were based on incentives," he said.
Clough also addressed some of the other issues he has with the interchange, including Cleveland Clinic's intent to build a facility in the immediate area. "If that interchange is not built, there will be no Cleveland Clinic there," he said.
Clough also spoke about the road improvements that would be needed once the new interchange went in. "It's easy to put in an interchange without addressing ancillary roads," he said. "We are still spending millions on Crocker." ...
Rumors of Cuyahoga County NOACA board members exercising their right for a weighted vote during the final decision of the interchange were addressed during the meeting as well. "There is a provision in NOACA's code of regulation for voting that goes back 20 years," Maier said. "While it is permitted (due to Cuyahoga County holding 2/3 of the population in the NOACA region), I can only recall once or twice, in 19 years, that it was used. I can't predict whether we'll have a weighted vote or not. We'll see where it goes. Just because you have a whip doesn't mean you'll use it."
The consultants will submit a final study to the 38 NOACA board members from Lorain, Cuyahoga, Medina, Geauga and Lake counties on Sept. 7, giving them one week to review before a decision is finalized. Lorain County board members include Avon Lake Mayor Rob Berner, Commissioners Betty Blair and Ted Kalo, County Engineer Ken Carney, Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, New Russia Township Trustee Frank Pakish and the Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin.
For more information on the progress of the interchange study and upcoming NOACA schedules regarding the interchange, visit
Individuals can also make comments on NOACA's Web site regarding the interchange by e-mailing them to
More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon
Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon