Avon Citizens Committee 2006

1-12-06 Letter to Avon residents

4-11-06 Charter amendment proposed

4-19-06 Planning Commission meeting on 4-19-06

6-27-06 Council Legal Committee to consider charter amendment for rezoning

10-12-06 Yes on Issue 18

Thank you for your interest in the Avon Citizens Committee 2006 PAC!

The Avon Citizens Committee 2006 is a Political Action Committee (PAC) that was formed by Avon residents to educate and protect our residents against irresponsible re-zoning decisions in our city.

We strongly believe in the concept of the 'Master Plan' as the official policy for zoning in this city. Deviation from this plan and allowing variances could result in a domino effect of additional zoning variance requests that the city would be virtually forced to grant or face litigation. We believe this would diminish the quality of life and property values here in Avon. [Property values in Avon depend on how much people want to live here; they will go down as the quality of life in Avon is degraded.]

With only approximately 50% of the land in Avon developed, this issue affects everyone in our city, not just those in proximity to the current issues. With plenty of available land zoned for commercial use, it is our strong opinion that re-zoning is not the proper course of action for our city.

To be clear: We are not, nor do we believe that most Avon residents are not, 'anti-commercial development'. We support responsible commercial and industrial growth in Avon that follows the Master Plan. We understand that in order to thrive as a city and support our infrastructure, we need the tax revenue created by development.

[The fallacy of industrial and commercial development is that for whatever we get, the increasing residential development reduces everyone's slice of the pie, so that each year, as individual families, we are worse off than before -- school-wise, tax-wise, road-wise, and also in general quality of life.]

Included in this site is a lot of information that will help educate and inform you about the current state of affairs in Avon.

Please look around and get informed!

If you would like to contribute to our cause or volunteer to help, please contact us by ... sending us an email to the following email address:

accinfo@acc2006.org

Or by making a check payable to Avon Citizens Committee 2006 and mailing it to PO BOX 401, Avon Ohio 44011

Thank you for your support!

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Letter to Avon residents from ACC2006.org

Dear Fellow Resident:

A few years ago, when the Avon Commons development was going to referendum, our City's leaders promised that no further commercial development would occur south of Detroit Road. That promise is reflected in the City's "Master Plan," which is the official zoning policy of the City.

During the past two years, the former City Council courageously upheld that promise and defended the City's Master Plan in an effort to control commercial development and overall growth. While their decisions were not always popular, the former City Council recognized that deviating from the Master Plan would set a dangerous precedent and jeopardize the City's ability to uphold the Master Plan in the future ...

Read the complete contents of this letter at ACC2006.org

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Current Focus Issues for ACC2006.org

Lake Pointe Construction

Greg Romes, owner of Lake Pointe Construction, has asked the city to re-zone 22 acres of land on the southeast corner of Detroit road and State Route 83 from residential to commercial. He has submitted a plan for a large shopping center to include a 'big box' retailer along with several small retail stores as well. We believe that his development as proposed, is a completely inappropriate use of the land and is a significant deviation from the Avon Master Plan that it the official zoning policy of the city.

Gamellia Construction

Mr. Shafer has asked the city to re-zone several acres of land on the northwest corner of Middleton and Detroit Rd. from residential to commercial. He has also submitted a plan for a shopping center. We believe that this development, as proposed, is an inappropriate use of residential land and will result in significant additional traffic congestion in the area of the city that even our city leaders have called 'the worst traffic situation in Avon'.

School Bus Garage

The Avon School Board has asked for special use permit to build a school bus service garage and 40 parking spaces for the Avon City Schools bus fleet on the Southwest corner of the Avon Heritage Elementary School property on Detroit Road. The City of Avon wisely declined this request.

Unfortunately, the school board decided to ignore the law and proceed with this project. The City of Avon and the Avon School Board are now involved in litigation to solve this issue. Amazingly, Avon residents are footing the legal bill for BOTH SIDES of this ridiculous dispute.

It is inexplicable to this committee why the two major elected bodies in the city (City Council and the School Board) have not yet amicably solved this issue without litigation and inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

That being said, we believe this request is an inappropriate use of the land that the school system will need for expansion in the future and exposes students and faculty to potentially dangerous particulates from the fumes of 40+ school busses.

Contact us:

Send an eamil to accinfo@acc2006.org

Or make a check payable to Avon Citizens Committee 2006 and mail it to PO BOX 401, Avon, OH 44011

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LETTER from the Avon Citizens Committee 2006, 4-11-06

The purpose of this letter is twofold. First we are seeking public input with respect to a potential amendment to the Avon City Charter. The amendment would require a citywide vote to rezone property from a residential to commercial zoning classification within the City of Avon. Secondly, we would like to update you on the current status of the interchange and other rezoning matters.

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Avon Charter Amendment

The Avon Citizens Committee 2006 is considering whether to pursue a charter amendment for the City of Avon. The charter amendment would require a citywide vote to approve the rezoning of parcels zoned residential to any form of commercial zoning within the City of Avon.

Similar provisions are in place in several nearby communities such as Broadview Heights, Brecksville, Seven Hills, Independence, Bay Village, and others. While these amendments vary, they have one common theme. They require public vote when a residential to commercial rezoning request occurs. In our view, this type of charter amendment eliminates any potential surprises about what is being planned near your neighborhood.

Last night at the April 10th Council meeting the ACC learned that the City is seating members for a charter review committee to review the Avon Charter. The committee will be seated in November. It was suggested that the ACC might wish to have a member on that committee. We have advised the Mayor that Clark Perrin would be pleased to sit on this committee and to assist with the Avon charter review.

ACC 2006 needs your input. Please complete the attached questionnaire and return it to us within two weeks so we can compile the results and determine what course of action to take.

Your investment of time, postage stamp, and an envelope, may be the best investment you ever make to protect your property and its value!

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Status Update

School Bus Service Garage: City Council recently granted the School Board a special use permit on an "Emergency Basis" thereby denying the citizens the opportunity to take the matter to referendum.

Currently, the School Board is pursuing a second round of quotes to construct the garage on the Heritage campus. The first round of quotes exceeded the School Board's projected cost and were therefore all rejected. Many residents continue to oppose the construction of the bus garage due to the overall projected cost (approximately $1.0 million dollars). Residents should continue to voice their concerns directly to the School Board.

I-90 Interchange: The City Council voted to go ahead with the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. Again, City Council voted on an "Emergency Basis" thereby denying the citizens the opportunity to take the matter to referendum.

Heritage Village: "Heritage Village" is a joint venture by Gamiella Construction & Schafer Construction. They plan to construct a shopping center and restaurants on the former Piazza green house property. The Court recently ruled that the current zoning (R-2) is unlawful and ordered the City of Avon to rezone the property to a constitutional zoning classification. The ruling was expected since the City's hired expert testified that the current R-2 zoning was not appropriate.

In fact, the City did not defend the R-2 zoning classification. The Planning Commission met and discussed this issue on Wednesday, March 19th. The Planning Commission determined that the property should be rezoned to C-2 with restrictions. This rezoning was passed and is now in the hands of the City Council. The first public reading occurred Monday, April 10th.

City Centre: City Centre is a proposed "big box" development by Lake Pointe Construction, owned by Mr. Greg Romes. It includes approximately 25 acres on the southeast corner of Detroit Road and State Route 83. "C-2" rezoning was requested on the Detroit Road parcels and the first few Route 83 parcels. "C-3" or "Big Box" rezoning was requested on several remaining southern parcels down Route 83 not far from Bentley Park.

City Council recently voted to rezone specific parcels prior to completing the litigation. This project was sent back to Planning Commission. The Planning Commission met and discussed the issue on Wednesday, March 19th. During discussions, the Planning Commission presented a drawing allowing for C-2 zoning on the Detroit Road parcels and the northern most parcels along Rt. 83.

The southern parcels down Rt. 83 remain zoned residential R-2 (it is on these southern parcels Mr. Romes wanted to put a 125,000 sq. ft. "big box" rumored to be Lowe's or Value City Furniture). The key issue, that remains pending, is what City Council will do with these southern parcels. ACC will continue to strongly oppose the rezoning of these southern parcels.

The Planning Commission indicated that a vote would be taken at the April 19th meeting when Mr. Romes and his attorney plan to present Lake Pointe's revised development plan. It is ESSENTIAL that all residents attend this meeting, as this will be a pivotal point in the future of this project. We must make our views known to Mr. Romes, City Council, and the Planning Commission.

Please mark your calendars: 6:30 pm, April 19th, Avon City Hall.

Any assistance you can offer to the ACC 2006 will be sincerely appreciated. Each mailing, such as this, costs the ACC between $1500.00 and $2000.00. Assistance, suggestions, comments and opinions are welcome and may be sent to Avon Citizens Committee 2006 at the address on the questionnaire.

Thank You, The ACC 2006

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Charter Amendment Questionnaire

Please take a moment to [print out and] complete the following questionnaire. This page should be returned to the Avon Citizens Committee 2006, P.O. Box 401, Avon, Ohio 44011

With respect to a Charter Amendment:

_ I support a charter amendment

_ I do NOT support a charter amendment

With respect to signing a petition to put a charter amendment on the November ballot:

_ I would be willing to sign such a petition

_ I would NOT be willing to sign such a petition

If you are willing to sign a petition for the Charter Amendment please complete the following:

Names of each registered voter at this address:

Address:

Ward:

Other Comments:

Please return this questionnaire to the Avon Citizens Committee 2006, P.O. Box 401, Avon, Ohio 44011

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[Original Letter] Paid for by The Avon Citizens Committee 2006, Tim Bresnahan, Treasurer, P.O. Box 401, Avon, Ohio 44011

Visit us at http://www.acc2006.org

Email us at accinfo@acc2006.org

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 5-17-06, By Julie A. Short

``ACC presents survey results

AVON -- ... As the meeting concluded, Council President Clinton Pelfrey asked if any members of the audience wished to speak. Avon Citizens Committee (ACC) Co-chair R. Clark Perrin approached the microphone with results from the recent survey commissioned by the ACC.

The committee sent letters to all registered voters in the city of Avon asking them two questions:

  • Whether they support or do not support a charter amendment for the city of Avon, and

  • whether or not they would sign a petition supporting a charter amendment for the city of Avon.

    The charter amendment would require a citywide vote to approve the rezoning of parcels zoned residential to any form of commercial zoning within the city of Avon.

    According to Perrin, the ACC received 723 responses, although he did not mention exactly how many were mailed. The survey's citywide results show that 7.20 percent of the registered voters responded. Eighty-nine percent support a charter amendment and 10.50 percent do not. As a result of the above noted figures, the ACC plans to pursue a charter amendment.

    ACC members created the survey in response to recent rezoning request including one made by Greg Romes (Lake Pointe Construction), who has asked the city to rezone property located at the southeast corner of Detroit Road at SR 83 from residential to commercial. Romes hopes to build a retail center. The case is currently in litigation.

    Law Director John Gasior informed council members that the pretrial date for the Romes case has been changed from June 13 to June 22 [2006] at 2 p.m. "This change was done by the courts," Gasior said. "None of the parties involved requested the change."''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 5-16-06, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Group says citizens want vote on rezoning requests

    AVON -- Results of a survey conducted by a local political action committee ''clearly'' show the city's support for a charter amendment requiring a citywide vote on certain rezoning requests, a member of the group told City Council last night.

    The Avon Citizens Committee 2006, a political action committee created last year out of concern for rezoning issues, sent out about 6,000 surveys asking if voters were in favor of an amendment requiring any residential-to-commercial rezonings to be put to a vote, according to committee member R. Clark Perrin. Of the 723 surveys returned, nearly 89.5 percent would support such an amendment.

    ''People are more informed than we expected,'' said Perrin. ''The results clearly suggest that voters favor a charter amendment.''

    Perrin said the survey was motivated by a rezoning requested by Greg Romes, president of Lake Pointe Construction, who has asked the city to change about 22 acres at the southeast corner of Detroit Road and SR 83 from residential to commercial. Romes hopes to build a retail center at the busy intersection.

    Romes' request, first approved by the city's planning commission last June, was denied by council after much debate last December. In October [2005], the city's planning consultant, Mark Majewski, issued a report saying residential use for the property was no longer suitable. In January, Romes sued the city to rezone the acreage.

    Two months ago, City Council referred Romes' request back to the planning commission, which offered a compromise of commercial zoning for about two-thirds of the parcel. The case remains in Lorain County Common Pleas court. The next hearing is scheduled for June 22, but council is scheduled to have a public hearing and vote on the compromise offer June 12 [2006].

    After last night's meeting, Perrin said Seven Hills, Brecksville and Bay Village have measures in their charters similar to his group's proposal ...''

    sallyn@morningjournal.com

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 4-26-06, By Julie A. Short

    ``Planning commission recommends revised Romes plan

    AVON -- Planning commission members voted 5-0 last week [4-19-06] in favor of a referral recommending city council approve the rezoning of property located at the corner of SR 83 and Detroit Road from R-2 to a constitutionally permissible zoning [C-2]. The rezoning request must ultimately meet with council's final approval.

    City council voted on March 6 [2006] to send Greg Romes' (Lake Pointe Construction) rezoning request back to the city's planning commission for review after the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas ruled on Feb. 28 in favor of Village at Creekside's (Schafer Development and Gamellia Construction) request to rezone 14 acres of property between Middleton and Detroit roads from residential to commercial [C-2].

    Although the two rezoning requests are different, Avon Law Director John Gasior said Judge Edward Zaleski has also been assigned the Lake Pointe Construction (Greg Romes) case, which initially had requested to rezone approximately 22 acres at the southeast corner of Detroit Road and SR 83 from residential to commercial.

    "While there is no court order at this time [regarding the Romes lawsuit] in light of how the courts ruled on the Schafer case, council deemed it necessary to move forward with Romes," Gasior said in March. Only 14 acres of the entire 22 acres is currently being reviewed, under C-2 standards.

    Planning commission viewed three options for the positioning of the possible commercial property and voted unanimously to refer "option 1" to council. Still up for debate is whether or not the line to the south of the property should run parallel to Detroit Road [or perpendicular to SR 83.] "Your own planner, Mr. Majewski, said the line could run perpendicular," Bentley Park resident Tom Berges said. "He said that makes sense. You can pull the tapes."

    Many in attendance voiced concern that if the line runs parallel, it will give Romes a few more feet of property to develop. Romes was not in attendance during the meeting, nor was his legal counsel John Slagter of Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP. A representative from the law firm was present and told the commission that the line does not go down far enough.

    "We are talking about the effects of commercial creep," Bentley Park resident Brian McKendry said. "At some point Mr. Romes is going to have to address the citizens of Avon. Why can't we know what development is going to be here." Gasior told the audience that the rezoning is being done by council. "Mr. Romes could sell," Gasior said. "We don't know what the plan for development would be. We are not doing it (rezoning) at his request." McKendry countered stating that, as a resident of Bentley Park, planning commission should be cognizant to keep the buffer as far away as possible from the subdivision.

    Fellow Bentley Park resident Jon Pinney agreed. "Although this is not the scenario we had always dreamed of, it's essential to all who live in the area, to hold the line and defend the city's case," Pinney said. "This is defensible. My law firm and two others agree. This is the only fair result for everyone involved. It's not fair to have a big box as a neighbor. It is so important to hold that line or the city will lose control."

    Several members of planning commission agreed a straight line [perpendicular to SR 83] would be "more defensible." Council will discuss planning commission's referral at its next work session May 1, [2006]''

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    TO: DENNIS McBRIDE & CRAIG WITHERSPOON

    DATE: TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2006

    TIME: 7:30 P.M.

    PLACE: COUNCIL CAUCUS ROOM

    SUBJECT: DISCUSSION OF CHARTER AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE SPECIFIC AREAS SOUTH OF I-90 TO BE REZONED PLACED ON THE BALLOT FOR RESIDENTS TO VOTE FOR OR AGAINST THE REZONING

    DANIEL URBAN, CHAIRPERSON

    Cc: MAYOR SMITH, DIRECTORS, COUNCIL MEMBERS

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 6-8-06, By MARY DAVIES, Staff Writer

    [Council Legal Committee to consider charter amendment for rezoning]

    ``AVON -- City Council's legal committee soon will begin discussing possible support for the Avon Citizens Committee 2006's push for a charter amendment requiring citizen vote for some rezonings [to commercial] ...

    A recent ACC survey showed nearly 90 percent of more than 700 respondents citywide will support a charter amendment requiring voter approval of requests to rezone residential property to commercial use. Exactly what a proposed amendment would include has yet to be decided ...

    ACC leaders expect to talk with Council Legal Committee members about the possibility of applying charter amendment protection to all residential property south of Interstate 90. [Mayor] Smith proposed residential land south of Detroit Road only ...''

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    LETTER TO THE EDITOR, 10-12-06, by R. Clark Perrin

    ``Subject: Issue 18 -- Proposed Charter Amendment -- City of Avon

    On November 7, 2006 the voters of Avon will have the opportunity to pass or reject issue 18, a proposed amendment to the Avon Charter. The amendment states, "an affirmative vote of the majority of the electors voting thereon before any ordinance passed by City Council authorizing the rezoning of any residential property south of Interstate 90 to a classification other than residential property be deemed effective." There are three defined exceptions.

    In short, this amendment requires an affirmative public vote to rezone residential property south of I-90 for commercial purposes.

    I have attended nearly every Avon City Council meeting for the last 1 and years. I have listened to arguments on both sides of this issue. I believe:

    This amendment does not demonstrate a lack of confidence in our elected officials. It simply adds to the difficulty faced by commercial developers attempting to invade our residential neighborhoods. This amendment will assure the awareness of the public anytime commercial developers are attempting to invade our residential neighborhoods. There will be NO SURPRISES. This amendment transcends the election of future Councils and Administrations providing security for all Avon residents.

    I fully support responsible commercial development in Avon. The Master Plan for the City provides hundreds of acres north of I-90 specifically for this purpose. Commercial development in this area promotes the fiscal health of the City. I commend Mayor Smith and his administration for their efforts in this area.

    At the Avon City Council Meeting August 14th, 2006: "Mayor Smith stated that he was in favor of the Charter amendment regarding rezoning when it goes on the ballot. He said he thought that when people invest the money in a home in the city of Avon, they want to feel secure in the zoning around them."

    Nearly a year ago I introduced the subject of a Charter Amendment at a City Council meeting. I was seeking action, which could be taken, to protect all Avon residents from experiencing unwanted "commercial creep" into their residential neighborhoods.

    I am pleased that the Avon City Council has placed this amendment on the November 7th ballot. At the Avon City Council Meeting August 14th, 2006, the vote was [unanimous "aye".]

    Is this amendment a guarantee? No! Commercial developers have the right to test all zoning ordinances through litigation. This amendment, however; may be as good as it gets.

    Avon will not be the first community to adopt such an amendment. Many of our neighboring communities and other Cleveland suburbs has adopted similar legislation for the same reasons.

    For your sake, for your neighbor's sake, and for the health of our City please vote yes on issue 18, The Avon Charter Amendment.''

    R. Clark Perrin, Avon

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