Stark/Jacobs survey Avon

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"Avon riled by Jacobs phone poll

AVON -- A phone survey sponsored by developers Richard Jacobs and Robert Stark has confused some residents and angered at least one councilman, who said the survey asked too many questions not related to their project.

The survey polled residents on whether Mayor Jim Smith is trustworthy, their opinion of developer Mitchell Schneider's proposed Avon Commons shopping center and the popularity of anti-Avon Commons attorney Gerald Phillips, said Councilman Shaun Brady.

A spokesman for The Jacobs Group said he could not release a copy of the phone survey questions to The Morning Journal because it is ''private information.''

At Monday night's council meeting, however, Brady discussed his concerns with Thomas Henneberry, an executive vice president with The Jacobs Group.

''It just seemed there were a lot of other questions not related to your project,'' Brady said. ''I think it's important that you and your company refocus the way you do business in Avon.''

The survey was merely designed to ''see how our presentations are being received in the community,'' Henneberry responded. ...

Brady, however, said The Jacobs Group has been too active in trying to discredit the rival Avon Commons shopping center. A political action committee formed by Stark and Jacobs spent $50,000 last November on its campaign against the 85-acre project.

''I want the people to be able to judge these projects on their own merits and not be harassed into submission by a group with a lot of money,'' Brady said. ...

Mayor Smith said he received about seven calls from residents concerned about the survey. Two callers were under the impression the city of Avon had financed the phone calls, he said.

''Some of them weren't happy with the types of questions,'' Smith said. ''One of the ladies told me they insinuated the city of Avon was putting on this survey and wondered why I was spending tax dollars to put on this survey.'' ...

Jeff Linton, a spokesman for the Jacobs-Stark team, said ... Jacobs and Stark ... are not identified as the sponsors of the survey. ...

Before they can proceed, they need city support of an interchange feasibility study and must also have most of their land rezoned.

City Council on Monday [3-15-99] night denied the request for the interchange study. Council has not yet reviewed any rezoning request for the project."



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