Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
9-15-07 to 10-12-07

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  • 9-15-07: NOACA postpones vote

  • 10-8-07: Another Nagel Vote Delay?

    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.]


    LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Morning Journal, 9-20-07, By Mike Mishlan, Avon

    ``I'd like everyone to keep in mind that if businessmen such as the Jacobs Group are willing to pay for a project like a highway interchange, then try to imagine the other projects just waiting to happen which could consume the whole Nagel Road area in Avon.

    Semis and cars, not a bed of roses, to say the least.

    I'm sure most people are familiar with North Olmsted's Lorain Avenue area, I-480 and Great Northern area ... a hotbed of blacktop and exhaust fumes.

    Jobs? Some. Environment? Could suffer and most likely will. The problem is, people are part of the environment. Can we do things with 50 to 100 years in mind instead of five to 10 years? ...''



    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?''

    Written by: Oldtimer on March 5, 2007


    Title: Re: Elyria against Interchange

    ``As Mayor Jim Smith has pointed out, there will be nothing to share: All taxes, property and income, will be used to pay off the TIF bonds. Tbe expected golden goose is the Clinic locating on the Jacobs property -- but there is no Clinic - Avon contract; so we will be building the interchange on speculation.

    The Clinic has stated they will build on the Jacobs property whether or not there is an interchange; so why not skip the interchange and just collect the income tax from the Clinic doctors (the Clinic does not pay property tax)?

    It seems almost deranged for Avon to build an interchange that will bring cars from Ridgeville north on Nagel Rd. to I-90. It will be a worse traffic mess than SR 83.''

    Written by: Oldtimer on September 19, 2007.

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-15-07, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Nagel interchange vote postponed until Oct. 12

    AVON -- A vote that could have allowed the city of Avon to move forward with a new Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road has been postponed to Oct. 12 [2007].

    The 38-member governing board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which must grant approval before ground can be broken for the interchange, had scheduled a final vote yesterday [9-14-07]. Avon officials, however, felt that board members did not have enough time to review copies of the final report on the project, which studied the consequences by 2030 of either building or not building the interchange.

    Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he requested the postponement ...

    Yesterday's NOACA meeting included a presentation from D.B. Hartt Inc., Silverlode and Oxbow Engineering, three consultants who have been studying potential impacts from the proposed interchange for months. Their final report, which ran to 50-some pages, was issued about a week ago ...

    [Oliver Henkel, chief external affairs officer for the Cleveland Clinic said] The clinic intends to build a 170,000-square-foot family health care center on 40 acres of land near Nagel Road, whether the interchange is built or not ...''

    [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, 9-15-07, by Brad Dicken

    ``CLEVELAND -- Despite a consultant's report that says a proposed new Interstate 90 interchange in Avon won't have a significant impact on development in the region, Elyria Mayor Bill Grace continues to oppose the interchange plan.

    "The clear losers in this scenario are the city of Elyria, which I represent," Grace said. "I would also say the city of Westlake is a loser."

    Grace isn't alone in his opposition to the $19 million interchange which would be built with money from the city of Avon, private business and a tax agreement, and could be open for traffic as early as 2009. Many Cuyahoga County officials also oppose the plan, saying it would steal business from their communities and increase urban sprawl.

    A planned vote on the interchange by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency set for Friday was delayed until next month at the request of Avon ...

    Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo said negotiations are under way to cut a deal with opponents of the plan, including the Cuyahoga County commissioners, to change their minds ...

    Grace, one of the few Lorain County officials who opposes the plan, said he believes that the creation of a new interchange would draw retail and other businesses that do well at highway access points away from Elyria and other communities. Some of that business could come from Midway Mall, which has already lost one anchor store this year.

    J.C. Penney, which has a location at the mall, recently announced plans to open another store on state Route 83 in Avon. Grace said he doubts the Midway Mall location will survive for long with another store so near.

    Grace also told his fellow NOACA members that since the consultant didn't believe there would be any real impact on development once the interchange opens, there was no reason to build it. The effect on Midway Mall is obvious, he said.

    "Absent of it helping, it's going to hurt," he said ...

    Kalo said he's hopeful that the interchange will be approved, although if a deal can't be worked out and Cuyahoga County commissioners invoke their power of a weighted vote, which would allow them to count each of their votes as four votes, it could spell the end of the plan.

    But whether the Cuyahoga County commissioners will be able to use a weighted vote is up in the air.

    Geauga County Commissioner Craig Albert said that since not every member of the 35-member NOACA board is elected, the law allowing weighted votes might not apply and each member's vote should count only once. A legal opinion is expected by the time the NOACA board meets again Oct. 12 [2007] to decide the issue.''

    Contact Brad Dicken at


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 9-15-07, by Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer Reporter

    ``Cleveland Clinic chief Dr. Toby Cosgrove made a personal appeal Friday for a new I-90 link in Avon, even as Cleveland officials warned the project would foster the flight of wealth from the region's struggling core.

    Cosgrove spoke briefly Friday morning to the five-county body that could decide next month whether the $19 million interchange is a go.

    The Clinic wants to build a health center near proposed on- off ramps at Nagel Road, on 40 acres owned by the Richard E. Jacobs Group. The area sits between Interstate 90 exits at Crocker Road in Westlake and Ohio 83 in Avon.

    The proposed interchange has stirred passions and politics at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. A 38-member board of the agency typically works in obscurity, deciding how millions of dollars in transportation money is spent in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Lake and Geauga counties.

    The board is comprised of the region's top elected leaders, including commissioners from the five counties and the mayors of Cleveland, Lorain and Elyria.

    Their views differ on whether a new Avon interchange will help or hurt a region whose anchor city is hemorrhaging population to the suburbs. So the board approved a $100,000 analysis of the project's economic impact. A consulting team led by D.B. Hartt Inc. detailed its conclusions at a NOACA meeting Friday, and quickly came under fire.

    David Hartt said the interchange would have "no material impact" on surrounding communities. Nearly 3 million square feet of industrial, retail and office space - and nearly 9,000 jobs - would shift from those communities to Avon by 2030, Hartt said.

    Those shifts are tiny, when compared to the regional economy as a whole, Hartt noted. And the study did not account for the reoccupation of the space left vacant when businesses shift to the Avon interchange, Hartt said.

    But in an analysis of the Hartt study, Cleveland city planners noted that tiny shifts of business, over time, have hurt Cleveland and inner-ring suburbs.

    "The harm to the region is more akin to a 'death by a thousand cuts,' bleeding the region's core of its strength and vitality," the city's critique said.

    Elyria Mayor William Grace said he opposed the interchange, in part because the new retail will hurt Midway Mall. Elyria and Westlake would be among economic losers if the interchange opens, while Avon benefits, Grace said ...

    Commissioner Tim Hagan has said he asked the Clinic to increase its funding for medical treatment of the county's poor. There has also been talk of sharing new taxes from the development across city and county lines.

    Cleveland and Cuyahoga County members of NOACA could control next month's vote. They can call for a vote weighted by population, giving them two-thirds the board's vote. Normally, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials account for half of the board vote.

    Geauga County Commissioner Craig Albert questioned the legality of the weighted vote.

    He argued that some Cleveland and Cuyahoga County members of NOACA - such as Cleveland's planning director - are not popularly elected and should not be allowed to cast a weighted vote.

    For more information on the Avon interchange proposal, go to''

    [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 ]

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 10-8-07, by Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer Reporter

    ``Mayors, Cuyahoga issue ultimatum on proposed I-90 interchange

    Share taxes or we'll vote no ...

    The Cleveland area's top elected leaders say they will vote to block a proposed Interstate 90 link in Avon unless the region's fastest-growing suburb agrees to share income taxes from development at the site.

    Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County commissioners say they are ready to take a dramatic stand against the on-off ramps proposed at Nagel Road, a project they say typifies the sprawl that has sucked wealth from Cleveland and its suburbs.

    "We agree that approval of this project must be contingent upon a revenue sharing plan that addresses the negative economic impacts on surrounding communities," read a statement released Friday by Jackson, Cuyahoga County Commissioners President Tim Hagan and Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland, president of the Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers Association.

    Their threatened vote against the $20 million project could come at a meeting Friday [10-12-07] of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

    The agency's 38-member board decides on projects affecting interstates. Its membership includes elected leaders from Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Lake and Geauga counties ...

    Avon Mayor James Smith says Cleveland-area leaders are being selfish and unfair to his Lorain County suburb, which borders Cuyahoga County.

    Smith met last week with Chris Warren, Cleveland's regional economic development director, but rejected suggestions that Avon share income taxes from the site for 10 years.

    Smith said he's ready to talk about sharing taxes from development across the region - a concept that's being pushed by some mayors - but not with this project ... Warren said he's hopeful a revenue-sharing deal can yet be worked out with Avon.

    Jackson and Cuyahoga County officials fear not only the loss of businesses and taxes to the Avon development, but also the added cost of traffic congestion and road improvements that nearby communities, like Bay Village and Westlake, would bear.

    In a hard-hitting critique of the Hartt study, Cleveland officials said the impact of new suburban interchanges is "akin to a 'death by a thousand cuts,' bleeding the region's core of its strength and vitality."

    Cuyahoga Commissioner Hagan said he has watched with chagrin as the county's population has shrunk by several hundred thousand over the last 25 years.

    "We provide the sports venues, museums and entertainment," Hagan said. "People from Lorain, Lake and Geauga benefit from those facilities, but the people of Cuyahoga County have paid for them."

    Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones said he hopes Friday's vote can be delayed for another month, to allow talks on tax sharing to continue. "The benefit of new development needs to be shared with parties in the region who will be adversely affected," Jones said ...

    On Friday, Cleveland Planning Director Bob Brown, chairman of NOACA, called for a vote that's weighted by how population is distributed among the five counties. It would give Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials up to two-thirds of the board's vote. Normally, Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials account for half the board vote.

    In recent years, battles flared on the NOACA board over the widening of I-90 and I-71, which Cleveland-area officials viewed as fostering sprawl. Ultimately, the board approved the projects.

    Faced with the prospect of NOACA voting down Avon's proposal, Smith said he and other unhappy officials in Lorain County have discussed leaving NOACA. At the least, a vote blocking the project "will create total distrust among [NOACA] members," Smith said.

    Whatever happens, the dispute has heightened the call for NOACA - or some regional body - to craft a collaborative vision of how the region should grow. "We are sorely in need of a regional economic development authority, a planning body, whatever," said Mayor Sutherland of Bay Village.''

    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 10-8-07, by Tom Breckenridge, Plain Dealer Reporter


    ``Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency won't show its muscle, critics say

    A powerful regional agency, panned for its narrow focus on roads and bridges, decided last year to look at the big picture with a $100,000 study of the region's economy. But before the year was done, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency directed the money to a more-urgent need - the study of another road project.

    And that, NOACA's critics say, illustrates a problem: An agency with the potential to push solutions for our regional woes, especially urban sprawl, instead sticks with its basic transportation-planning duties.

    "The agency could well take a more muscular stance on a wider range of issues without a whole lot of pushback," said a frustrated Bob Layton, an economist who retired from NOACA last year.

    In the fifth installment of The Plain Dealer's "A Region Uniting?" series, we look at whether one of our oldest examples of regional government might lead us into new, more-progressive cooperative initiatives such as tax sharing or controls on growth.

    NOACA is a "metropolitan planning organization," set up under federal law to give local leaders a voice in transportation planning. While maintaining a low profile, it has been among the region's most powerful bodies for nearly 40 years.

    The agency's 38 members include the commissioners from Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Geauga and Lake counties, as well as the mayors from Cleveland, Lorain and Elyria. Each year, they decide how to spend about $40 million in federal money on roads, bridges, pub lic transit and bike ways.

    NOACA's top board members and staff say critics expect too much. The agency is limited in what it can tackle by federal rules. And new projects would require more money at a time when transportation dollars are shrinking. "What we try to do is what's within our purview, what we can implement," said Howard Maier, executive director of NOACA.

    But critics say the agency could and should do more to rein in one of our great challenges - urban sprawl.

    NOACA projects that the 2.1 million population of the five counties it oversees will be unchanged in 2030, yet Cuyahoga County will have lost 120,000 more residents. That means more wealth and employment drained from Cleveland and inner-ring suburbs, while outlying cities bear the cost of growth, including new streets, utilities and schools.

    To counteract the effect, Layton urged his agency in June 2006 to look at tax sharing. In a memo titled "Everybody knows the boat is leaking," Layton proposed pooling, and then sharing, a chunk of property taxes from new development across county lines. Needy cities would get more money, and the tax sharing would blunt the tax-break battles and poaching that cities engage in to lure businesses, Layton wrote.

    A regional council in Minneapolis-St. Paul oversees a similar tax-sharing program. The Northeast Ohio mayors group is paying $135,000 to study the idea. But Layton's proposal went nowhere at NOACA ...

    NOACA's narrow focus drives regional thinkers like David Beach to distraction. Beach and others say the agency should be educating the public about development trends and crafting options for growth ...

    "We should be creating a vision for the kind of communities we want, not just moving cars further and faster," said Beach, head of EcoCity Cleveland, which advocates for development balanced with nature ...''


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-9-07, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Interchange votes hinge on sharing of future taxes

    AVON -- After more than a year of study and debate, the proposed interchange for Interstate 90 at Nagel Road comes to a final vote Friday [10-12-07] by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the planning group that authorizes interstate improvements for Lorain, Cuyahoga, Medina, Lake and Geauga Counties.

    But in a surprise last-minute move, three members of the NOACA governing board have pledged to vote against the interchange unless Avon agrees to share future taxes from business growth at the exit. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan and Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland all signed a statement expressing their intentions to defeat the interchange unless Avon shares tax revenues.

    Avon Mayor Jim Smith said the idea of sharing taxes came up while he was talking last week to Chris Warren, chief of regional development for Cleveland. Details on the plan were in short supply, Smith said ...

    If approved, the interchange construction, estimated to cost $19 million, would be fully funded by the city of Avon and the Richard E. Jacobs Group, a real-estate developer that owns 212 acres near the proposed exit.

    The Cleveland Clinic intends to build a 170,000-square-foot health care center on 40 acres near Nagel Road and I-90, even if the interchange is not built ...''


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-10-07, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

    ''Blair, Kalo threaten to pull county out of planning agency over Cuyahoga demand to share tax income

    ELYRIA -- Two Lorain County commissioners are threatening to pull the county out of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, whose members will vote Friday on the proposed Nagel Road interchange at Interstate 90 in Avon.

    Commissioners Betty Blair and Ted Kalo are displeased with demands by Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials to share tax revenues on future development at the interchange. They also take issue with a request for a weighted vote on the proposal, and have asked the Lorain County Prosecutor's office to explore how the county can join another organization ...

    Normally, each of [NOACA's] governing board's 38 members has one vote. But last Friday [10-5-07], Cleveland Planning Director Robert Brown, who is also the president of the NOACA governing board, asked for a weighted vote on the interchange.

    Maier said a weighted vote apportions more votes to representatives of more densely populated entities, including four votes to each Cuyahoga County commissioner. Two votes each would be given to the Cuyahoga County engineer, a Lake County commissioner and a Medina County commissioner.

    The suburban Cleveland communities of North Royalton, Solon, Bay Village and Brooklyn Heights would each cast 1.85 votes. But no additional votes would be allotted to Lorain and the three votes accorded to Geauga County representatives. The governing board will decide Friday whether to have the weighted vote.

    In addition, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland and Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan signed a statement resolving to vote against the interchange unless Avon agrees to share future tax revenues on business development at the site ...

    Kalo emphasized that other road projects underway in Lorain County must not be jeopardized by any action taken. State Route 57 though the city of Elyria and Oberlin Avenue from Cooper Foster Park Road to US 6 in Lorain are both scheduled for major improvements, he said ...''


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 10-10-07, by Brad Dicken

    ``Interchange heads toward showdown

    AVON -- Sabers are rattling over whether to build a proposed interchange off Interstate 90 in Avon.

    Cuyahoga County officials are worried the interchange will increase urban sprawl and drain money from Cleveland and Cuyahoga County communities. They're threatening to vote against the plan when it goes before the full board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency on Friday.

    Avon and Lorain County officials are threatening to abandon NOACA and strike out on their own if the vote goes against the interchange. Neither side seems inclined to back down ...

    Last week, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan and Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland gave Avon an ultimatum -- agree to a revenue-sharing deal or the combined votes of Cuyahoga County would come down against the project ...

    In their statement, Jackson, Hagan and Sutherland insist that without a revenue-sharing plan, the negative economic repercussions will be severe, possibly including increased retail and office competition, more wear and tear on roads and greater urban sprawl.

    "It is clear to me that approval of this project must be contingent upon a revenue-sharing plan that would help mitigate the impact of migrating business and infrastructure improvements in the I-90 corridor from Cleveland to Elyria," Sutherland wrote in a separate statement ...

    Geauga County Commissioner Craig Albert said the feud over the Avon interchange, which he supports, isn't enough to force him to pull his county out of NOACA, but he's thought about it.

    "We've talked about what's the point of being in NOACA, but we've never talked about leaving, because what's the alternative?" he said.

    Kalo said the county could form its own metropolitan planning organization, link up with other counties that have grown disillusioned with NOACA or even join the Erie County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

    Steve Poggiali, transportation planner for the Erie County MPO, said although his organization handles planning in the part of Vermilion that falls in Lorain County, he hasn't discussed a merger with Lorain County officials.

    Such a merger would only make sense, he said, if Lorain County were to bring additional federal highway dollars with it ...

    NOACA's Maier said if Lorain County were to leave, it would create a logistical nightmare for projects already in the pipeline. "It would be a lot of heartache for a lot of people and cost a lot of money," he said ...

    In a response from the city of Cleveland ... officials said the interchange and other infrastructure improvements for outlying areas will bleed "the region's core of its strength and vitality." ... Cleveland's response also says that urban sprawl affects the region by weakening the vibrancy of the central city in an area and making it less attractive to developers ...

    Smith predicts bad things for the future of NOACA if the weighted vote is used to shoot down the interchange. "Probably in two years, it will end up being (NOACA's) demise," he said.''

    Contact Brad Dicken at


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 10-11-07, by ALEX M. PARKER, Morning Journal Writer

    ``Avon mayor offers compromise on tax sharing for new I-90 interchange

    AVON -- Heading into tomorrow's planned vote on the contentious proposed Nagel and Interstate 90 interchange, Avon Mayor Jim Smith is offering a compromise, meeting some of the revenue sharing demands of the project's Cleveland-area critics.

    According to Smith, a Joint Economic Development zone would be formed if Cuyahoga County officials approve the interchange. Avon will split income tax revenue it gets from any businesses which move from west side Cuyahoga County cities, who are members of the JED zone, to land by the interchange ...

    The interchange project has sparked a firestorm of controversy on the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, a metropolitan planning organization made up of officials from Lorain, Medina, Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties ...

    Under Smith's proposal, Cleveland, Lakewood, Fairview Park, Rocky River, North Olmsted, Bay Village and Westlake would join Avon in the Joint Economic Development Zone Agreement.

    If any businesses relocated from any of those cities to the area around the interchange, Avon would agree to share half of the extra income tax with the affected city for five years, unless the property was refilled with another business.

    The JED zone covers the area from Jaycox Road east to the county border, and from the border of Avon Lake to I-90, also including an area south of I-90 along Nagel Road.

    The Cleveland Clinic, which has said it plans to a build healthcare center at the interchange, is exempt from the agreement, because it has said building the facility is not contingent on the interchange.

    The income tax sharing would only kick in if a business that relocates has a payroll of more than $1 million. The agreement would last for 15 years.

    Avon would also agree to limit any tax abatements for the area to 75 percent. In exchange, Westlake would agree to keep open Avon Road, which it has previously threatened to close at the border of the two cities ...

    ''This is an extremely positive sign, and I'm very hopeful that we will be able to come to an agreement that will benefit everybody,'' said Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland.

    Sutherland said she would still need infrastructure improvement to deal with increased traffic from the interchange ... But Smith said he was done with negotiating ...

    Even though all of the city's councils in the JED would likely have to approve the agreement for it to take effect, Smith said he still hoped NOACA's vote on the interchange goes forward tomorrow.

    Smith said that if NOACA did not approve the measure, Lorain County would likely leave the organization and look at other options for highway projects.''


    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 10-11-07, by Brad Dicken

    ``Avon proposes tax-sharing plan

    AVON -- The city is willing to cut a deal if it means a proposed new interchange off Interstate 90 will get built. Avon officials on Wednesday said they would agree to limited revenue-sharing with several Cuyahoga County cities if the interchange survives a planned vote on Friday [10-12-07] by the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.

    The proposal would create a Joint Economic Development zone among Avon, Cleveland, Lakewood, Fairview Park, Rocky River, North Olmsted, Bay Village and Westlake that would last for 15 years.

    Under the terms proposed by Avon, the city would give up half the income tax revenue on any business with a payroll of more than $1 million that relocates near the interchange from one of those cities. The tax money for each business would be shared for five years after it moves into the area.

    The amount of what would be paid could lessen over that time if another company sets up in the space left behind by the business that moved to Avon. The proposal also would limit tax abatements for new commercial and industrial properties around the interchange to 75 percent ...

    The members of the Development Zone Would seek county, state and federal funding to improve nearby roads, which are expected to be affected by development in the area, the agreement said.

    Cuyahoga County Administrator Dennis Madden said the proposal still needs to be reviewed by the commissioners and others affected by it. "We would not see a positive vote on the plan unless there was some kind of revenue-sharing," he said. "We would want to take a close look at the proposal."

    Excluded from the revenue-sharing agreement Avon has proposed is a 170,000-square-foot medical campus that the Cleveland Clinic plans to build near the site of the proposed interchange -- whether the interchange goes up or not.

    Avon's proposal also would require Westlake to keep open all roads between the two cities, which have been fighting over Westlake's desire to close Avon Road -- located near the proposed interchange -- for years.

    Notably absent from the proposed development zone are any communities from Lorain County, including Elyria. Elyria Mayor Bill Grace opposes the interchange, saying it threatens the survival of Midway Mall and his city's economic health.

    "We can't do it for everyone who opposes it," Smith said, adding that if the new interchange isn't built, then development at existing interchanges closer to Elyria -- and in more direct competition -- will increase.

    But Grace said speeding up development at those interchanges will actually cut competition, because once they're developed, it will make the mall area more attractive for future development ...

    The final part of Avon's proposed agreement would require the communities involved in the development zone to push for the creation of a regional economic planning organization, similar to what NOACA does for transportation.

    But Lorain County's continued participation in NOACA remains in some doubt. Kalo, Smith and Lorain County Commissioner Betty Blair all have questioned the wisdom of remaining with that organization, particularly if the interchange is voted down ... "No matter what happens, I think Lorain County should really be looking at an exit strategy to get out of NOACA," [Smith] said.''

    Contact Brad Dicken at

    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

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

    Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

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