11-6-03 The voters spoke
11-17-03 They are not performing charitable work
11-19-03 Avon Moves Toward I-90 Study
4-19-04 First "stakeholder meeting" on proposed interchange will be 4-29-04
Avon, November 4, 2003, General Election
#1: Proposed Ohio Constitutional Amendment (Adopt Section 2p of Article VII for the purpose of creating jobs, economic growth)
Avon Council At Large (Elect 3)
Jo Anne Easterday 2,089
Larry J. Hoekstra, II 2,190
Jack Kilroy (Write-in) 304
Larry Kroeger (Write-in) 382
1st Ward Council:
Lee E. Belardo 246
Mark Julius 516
Debbie Schulz 207
2nd Ward Council:
Carol A. Hartwig 407
Dennis McBride 461
3rd Ward Council:
Timothy E. Nickum 614
4th Ward Council:
Gerald T. Gentz 712
#9: Avon Local School Dist (repl. and decrease .7ml - replace 1.25 mills, 5 yrs., renovat., remodel, rehabilitate, furnish etc. sch. dist.)
#18: Avon City (Ord. No. 119-03 - Charter - Art. XIII, Sec. 9, Detroit Road Preservation)
#19: Avon City (Ord. No. 120-03 - Charter - Art. XIV, Creating a Landmarks Preservation Commission)
#20: Avon City (Ord. No. 121-03 - Charter - Art. VI, Sec. 4, Amend Civil Service Commission Removal)
#21: Avon City (Ord. No. 122-03 - Charter - Art. IV, Sec. 12, Amend Legislative Authority)
#22: Avon City (Ord. No. 123-03 - Charter - Art. V, Sec. 7, Dir. of Parks; Salary, Benefits, Duties)
#23: Avon City (Ord. No. 124-03 - Charter - Art. VII, Sec.2(b), Concurrence of Legislative Authority for Planning Commission actions)
School Board (Elect 2)
Nancy A. Healey 563
Ray Henry 550
Kimberly M. Herbst 381
Ruth Ann Keller 1,420
John P. Keshock 826
Mary Angela Marsiglia 1,699
Karen E. Wagner 901
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-6-03, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer
``AVON -- The voters spoke, casting their vote in favor of changing the city's charter on six issues, but one change in particular, limiting how much [the pavement on] Detroit Road can be widened, has brought mixed reaction.
"Obviously it's an excellent result," said Taylor `Jack' Smith, who was chairman of the Charter Review Commission ... "All the people who worked on this deserve a lot of credit."
There were 2,074 voters in favor of limiting Detroit Road expansion to no more than 36 feet wide or more than three lanes and 1,604 voters cast their vote against the proposed amendment, according to complete but unofficial election results.
Prior to the election, pavement on Detroit Road could be widened to 48 feet and four lanes, with recommendations being made from a traffic study that it be widened to five lanes to carry cars to a proposed Interstate 90 interchange. ...
Councilwoman at-large JoAnne Easterday said that "the people spoke" but she had faith that future city councils would have made the right decision about making changes to Detroit Road. [Those who have faith in government should remember that all seven members of Lakewood's Coumcil, at the urging of Mayor Madeline Cain, voted to take homes from people by eminent domain and sell the property to a private developer.]
"I'm glad they all passed except for Detroit Road," said Larry Hoekstra II, adding that while he didn't necessarily agree with it, if it's what the voters want then he supports the issue. Hoekstra was a member of the Charter Review Commission and is one of three newly elected council members.
"I was pleased with the charter amendments ... all of them," said Councilman at-large Jack Kilroy. People voted to preserve the city, he said, explaining that the byproducts of development such as loss of open space and traffic congestion probably contributed to approval of the change ...
"That's the people's choice," said Mayor Jim Smith, explaining that he didn't think the widening limitation would have a great impact on Avon right now. "Traffic is moving pretty well at this point, but if it does get bad on Detroit Road, the charter amendment can always be looked at and voted on again," Smith said.''
[Avon officials should not wait to be cornered into expensive and stupid desperation before addressing the need for more lanes of pavement to move cars around Avon. Waiting until the only alternative is to trash Detroit Rd. will force Avon into a Mayfield situation and a buildout population of more than 80,000.]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-6-03, By Jesse Tinsley, Plain Dealer Reporter
``Mayfield Hts. penalty still unknown
MAYFIELD HEIGHTS -- Cuyahoga County Probate Judge John Corrigan yesterday refused to release appraisals that could tell Mayfield Heights taxpayers how much the city might owe for blocking retail development in the 1990s ...
Developers Larry Goldberg and Milton Wolf won a lawsuit against the city in 1996.
They argued residential zoning for 22 acres next to Interstate 271 north of Mayfield Road deprived them of their right to develop the property.
The city appealed the case to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled for the developers in April 2002.
The court ruled the city's zoning amounted to a seizure of the property and ordered Mayfield Heights to compensate developers for the lost use of the land ...''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-7-03, By Jesse Tinsley, Plain Dealer Reporter
``Developers say they're due $11 million
MAYFIELD HEIGHTS -- Developers who were blocked for years from building stores on 22 acres they owned in Mayfield Heights say the city owes them nearly $11 million for the lost use of the land.
That's more than $1,000 per home in the city of 19,000 residents.
And interest is accruing at a rate of about $2,000 a day, according to one appraisal report released yesterday.
"This is startling," said Mayor Margaret Egensperger. "There is no way the city can raise that kind of money ..."
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the city's residential zoning for the 22 acres was an unconstitutional taking of the land from developers Larry Goldberg and Milton Wolf. The ruling required the city to pay the developers for the lost use of the land ...
A Cuyahoga County Probate Court jury will ultimately decide on the amount that taxpayers must reimburse developers ...
The developers' appraisers, Calabrese, Racek and Markos Inc. and Roger D. Ritly, set the losses at $8.99 million plus $1.8 million in interest between June 1995 and April 2001. The numbers are based on commercial rents charged in the vicinity for each of the six years ...''
[Click here for more on the Mayfield decision.]
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-12-03, By Julie A. Short
``Charter Chairman pleased as all six amendments pass
AVON -- It was a long road for members of the Charter Review Commission, but in the end, the people spoke and passed all six issues before them on the Nov. 4  ballot.
"Avon is a special town; there are a lot of good people," Commission Chairman Taylor "Jack" Smith said. "A lot of credit goes to the members of the Small Town Avon Committee -- all those who donated money and let their names be used in the ads. I would especially like to thank the members of the Charter Review Commission."
The hot issue among the six items on the ballot dealt with preserving Detroit Road. Issue 18 received 2,074 votes in favor of the measure and 1,604 against.
"Despite none of the local newspapers endorsing the issue, we were still able to receive the votes," Smith said. "It was clear to the thinking people of Avon that without maintaining Detroit Road as a setting for schools, churches and century homes, that their value, i.e. culture, ascetics and beauty would be diminished."
Issue 18 puts in the city's charter the language to preserve Detroit Road (SR 254) by prohibiting council and planning commission from widening the pavement on Detroit Road to more than 36-feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three lanes, or to use funds under the control of the city for such widening or division, except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector streets.
Smith would like city officials to consider the formulation of a vehicle access street grid [ -- ] roads in the city with no private driveways ... to move traffic throughout town.
"People are beginning to realize that we have a problem moving 15,000 residents through the city; imagine what happens when 65,000 people live here," Smith said.
Issue 19, the Landmark Preservation amendment to the charter, passed with 2,577 "yes" and 1,031 "no" votes.
Passage of the amendment calls for the formation of a Landmarks Preservation Commission that would conduct a survey to establish a register of Avon's landmarks and raise community awareness of Avon's history and historic resources.
The owner of a property which is designated as a landmark may appeal to the Landmark Preservation Commission to have the property removed from the register of landmarks.
No person or governmental body owning a registered landmark shall demolish said landmark without a demolition permit issued by the commission. The commission shall issue a demolition permit no later than six months after receiving the application of said permit.
"We hope the city begins to move on this as soon as possible," Smith said. "The William's home is in danger, even though it is on the National Registry. Local protection is important. It is key that the city starts working on a survey immediately."
Other charter changes that met with voter approval include the civil service amendment (Issue 20) pertaining to a change in wording. Currently the charter states that the mayor may at any time suspend any commissioner for inefficiency ... provided, however that such suspension shall not become final without the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of the legislative authority.
The words "suspend" and "suspension," are being replaced with "remove" and "removal." Final vote count showed 2,432 in favor and 845 against.
The legislative action amendment (Issue 21) deals with affirmative votes needed to pass legislation and the number of votes needed to suspend the rules to act on legislation. Currently, the charter states "each emergency measure shall contain a statement of the necessity of such an emergency action, and shall require the affirmative vote of three-fourths of the membership of the legislative authority for the suspension of rules and for its enactment."
The proposed amendment removes the phrase "for its enactment," so that all that is needed for an enactment is a majority vote. Final vote totals were 2,128 for and 1,097 against.
The parks director amendment (Issue 22) will place the position in line with other director appointments. The mayor shall appoint the parks director with the concurrence of a majority of the membership of the legislative authority, not to exceed the mayor's term of office. The mayor may remove the director of parks from office, but such removal shall not take place without the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership of the legislative authority. The vote total was 2,361 for and 995 against.
Finally, voters were in favor of adding the words "Unless otherwise provided by ordinance," to the sentence "all plans, recommendations and regulations made by the planning commission shall be submitted to the council for approval before the same shall be considered official," ... Voters approved Issue 23 with 2,071 votes for it and 1,145 against.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-17-03, By Joan Mazzolini, Plain Dealer Reporter
[They are not performing charitable work]
``Independence has lost more than $150,000 a year because the Cleveland Clinic believes it shouldn't pay property taxes on its medical clinic in the suburb.
The Clinic's stance - that it is exempt from property taxes because it is a nonprofit organization - has cost Beachwood more than $400,000 a year. Westlake, which also has a Clinic facility, loses $82,000 a year ...
Schools receive the majority of the county's property tax money. The less money they see from commercial owners, the more they have to seek from residential owners by placing tax increases on ballots.
"Schools are being killed left and right on property taxes," said Michele Mills, treasurer for Beachwood schools.
"At every turn, our funding is being challenged and limited. And we have to keep going back to the homeowners." Mills is leading several suburban school districts in a fight against the Clinic ...
Mills argues that the Clinic's Cedar Road facility - bought in 2000 for $50.7 million from bankrupt Primary Health Systems - continues to serve as a doctor's office. She said people who have appointments and insurance, or can pay, see physicians there. Primary Health, which was a for-profit organization, paid property taxes on the building.
"They are not performing charitable work there. Maybe in other places, but not there," Mills said of the Clinic. "They bought the building, but doing that shouldn't negate them from paying taxes." ...
Mills noticed a decrease in tax revenue last year and realized the Clinic had cut its payments of about $400,000 on the Cedar Road center. She saw a similar pattern in Independence, Westlake and other communities where it had opened clinics.
"One school's trouble is all schools' trouble," Mills said ...
Allen Sluka, treasurer for the Independence schools, doesn't dispute that ... businesses have a right to contest their property taxes. But their properties still receive city services, such as police and fire protection.
Meanwhile, Sluka is trying to figure out how to make up the money the Clinic isn't paying on its medical clinic.
"It's a major hit," he said. "Our options are to start cutting or ask residents for more money."''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-19-03, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer
``Avon Moves Toward I-90 Study
AVON -- Next week City Council will decide whether to award to TranSystems Corp. a contract for an Interstate 90 [interchange] justification study, a study that would be funded with a combination of money from the city and area businesses, according to Mayor Jim Smith.
The mayor has recommended TranSystems, a transportation company with offices in Cleveland and headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., be awarded a contract for the justification study that will look at whether an interchange is needed, possible locations and its impact on the community.
When a contract is awarded, several area businesses have agreed to make financial contributions toward the study, according to Smith. Six companies have committed to contributing money for the justification study, including the Richard E. Jacobs Group, Henkel Consumer Adhesives, Discount Drug Mart Inc., Wonder Machine, North Coast Bearings Inc. and Bearing Tech LTD, according to minutes from a finance committee meeting held earlier this month.
The largest financial contributor to the study is the Jacobs Group, committing $50,000, followed by Henkel at $25,000, according to the finance committee minutes.
Combined, the six companies have committed about $85,000. The remaining money for the $149,000 justification study will come from both the city's general fund and from money collected over the past several years for road studies, according to Councilman Mark Julius, Ward 1, a finance committee member. About $38,000 would come from the general fund and $27,000 from the road study money ...
A concern that was brought up at the finance committee meeting was making sure that companies donating money weren't trying to gain any favors in the outcome of the study through their donation, he said ...
The ordinance awarding a contract to TranSystems to conduct the justification study will appear on the City Council agenda next week [11-24-03] for emergency approval, according to Ellen Young, clerk of council.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-25-03, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer
``AVON -- A study on whether a new interchange is needed on Interstate 90 can begin, now that City Council has awarded the contract to TranSystems Corp. Council voted unanimously last night to award the contract for the justification study to TranSystems, the transportation company recommended for the study by Mayor James Smith.
The study will also look at where an interchange could be located and what impact it would have on the community.
Six companies have committed to contributing money for the justification study ... The largest financial contribution is from the Jacobs Group, at $50,000, followed by Henkel at $25,000 ...
TranSystems has offices in Cleveland and headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
In other business, council voted to advertise for bids to purchase and install a pedestrian bridge at Jaycox Road just south of Summerhill Drive. Right now children riding their bikes in this area have to go into the road, Smith said in earlier discussions on the bridge. Council also voted to purchase three police cruisers through the state cooperative purchasing program.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 12-11-03, By BRIAN HORN, Staff Writer
``Engineer picked for I-90 study
AVON -- TranSystems, a consulting engineering firm, has been approved by City Council to do the Interchange Justification Study for the city. The study will indicate if another interchange is needed for Interstate 90, and if so, where would it be located.
"The Ohio Department of Transportation has a 14-step process and we've been hired by the city to accomplish the first four steps, which is like the planning phase of it," said Rick Rockich, vice president of TranSystems.
The study will cost $149,000, of which $38,000 will come from the city's general fund and $111,000 from area businesses, according to city Finance Director Robert Hamilton. The justification study not only gives the advantages and disadvantages of putting in an interchange, but also the alternatives to constructing one.
"What we will be doing is meeting with representatives from the business community, neighborhood groups and public officials, what we call a stakeholder group, to talk about what they perceive is the problem that's trying to be solved by a change in access to I-90," said Susan Swartz, TranSystems manager of transportation and environmental planning ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 4-5-04, By Brad Dicken, Staff Writer
``AVON -- A drive down Jaycox or Lear-Nagel roads between Detroit and Chester roads can be pretty relaxing right now. Only a handful of homes and businesses line the two roads and few drivers travel them other than local residents.
That could all change once a traffic engineer completes a study later this year that examines whether one of those roads would make an ideal spot for a new Interstate 90 exit.
Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he thinks the interchange is necessary to sustain the rapid growth of not only his city, but also Avon Lake and North Ridgeville.
Last year, he said, Avon built 403 homes, North Ridgeville built 422 and Avon Lake built 265. Those numbers show no signs of slowing down. "Within the next three to five years, the need is going to become greater and greater," Smith said ...
The $148,000 study, funded by the city and several local businesses, is looking not only at the need for the interchange, but when it will be needed and the best location. Council has never been able to agree on the best location for the interchange.
Howard Maier, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency, said his agency's board has had little to do with the interchange, but will eventually have to vote on whether to allow it to be built. It would also have to be approved by the federal government. But from previous interchange projects he's worked on, Maier doesn't expect the process to run completely smoothly. "Anytime we have made modifications to the interstate system, there's controversy," he said. "We'll just have to deal with it as it comes along." ...''
Contact Brad Dicken at bdicken@@chronicletelegram.com
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-14-04, By Krista Schultz
''AVON -- ... TranSystems [Corporation] will evaluate the area bounded by Detroit Road to the south, Walker Road to the north, SR-83 to the west, and Crocker Road to the east ...
The first city stakeholder meeting will be April 29 at 7 pm, [Mayor Jim] Smith said. The meeting will be held at Avon City Hall on Chester Road ...''
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 4-14-04, by George O. Bliss
``Avon's Proposed Interchange
First of all, it seems fairly obvious that if Chester Road/Just Imagine Drive were extended a few more feet to Clemens Road, a new interchange would not be necessary for years to come.
The powers that be (City of Westlake, Ohio, Department of Transportation, or "??") have already, and are continuing to do an excellent job of keeping traffic moving to and from the South Crocker exit. This south side entrance and exit is working remarkably well, in spite of the city of Westlake's efforts to concentrate traffic coming from the west onto Detroit Road only. Three times, I have seen this traffic from Avon back up from Bradley Road 900 feet to the west entrance of Walden Drive.
It is even my understanding that Westlake applied for and won ownership of the county road (Avon Road) from the Cuyahoga County Commissioners so the city administration can close it at will! Admittedly, Crocker north appears to suffer some overload at present, however, realize that it is still all single lane in each direction, and in most cases not even one turning lane!
At present, no serious effort has been made by the city of Westlake to alleviate any of the Detroit Road traffic by providing alternate passage into Westlake by a connection to a widened Clemens Road with adequate turning lanes, [ connecting Clemens to Chester Road (Just Imagine Drive) ]. which by the way, impacts zero houses in Westlake. Also, the cities of Westlake and Avon could cooperate to soften the sharp jog on Schwartz Road at the county line.
Now if all of the above suggestions are ignored, and the city, county and state powers that be still want to spend taxpayers' dollars on an unnecessary interchange between two existing interchanges five miles apart, some neighbors and I feel that the ideal location has to be at the county line. This location will provide access toward the west for Bay Village and northwest Westlake as well as for those going east from Avon and Avon Lake.
I have been told that Westlake fears further loss of businesses jumping over into Avon if access to Crocker/I90 is improved. First, the facilities left behind in Westlake are still there and could and should be utilized by other growing businesses similar in size to the ones when they came to Westlake. Secondly, the larger parcels of land in Avon will soon be sold off and this issue will be moot.''
Very truly yours, George O. Bliss Avon, OH
More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon
Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon