Election Protest -- Sound Familiar?

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10-13-00 Supreme Court decides for Stark
10-14-00 First Interstate proposes a shopping center in Westlake
10-19-00 Another traffic study
10-26-00 Summit with Jacobs Revealed
10-25-00 Bloomindale Blast
10-27-00 A related action in North Ridgeville?


WESTLAKE - Voters will have not one, but two, chances to vote on downtown development proposals when two similar issues appear on the ballot in November.

Both issues relate to plans for a 75-acre, mixed-use development known as Crocker Park, just south of the Promenade of Westlake, to include residences, shopping restaurants and offices. City Council voted 4-3 last month to place the necessary zoning changes on the ballot.

The second ballot question stems from an initiative petition filed by Robert L. Stark Enterprises, the Beachwood development group that has proposed the project. It differs from the first issue in minor ways, but council was required by law to put it on the ballot once Stark obtained sufficient signatures ...

Bill Burges, a spokesman for Stark said ... that the developer wanted to ensure that the proposal would go to voters if council failed to act.

Doing an initiative petition was the safe thing to do, to protect against unforeseen problems, Burges said.

Events show that the precaution was wise, Burges said.

On Aug. 15 [2000], Westlake resident Stephen L. Huber registered a protest against the council-approved ballot issue. [Didn't Timothy Grendell and Gerald Phillips try something like this to stop the election of June 1, 1999, in Avon? Who was paying their fees?]

In a letter to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, [Huber] argued that the issue was improperly adopted by council and therefore should not be on the ballot ...

Huber works for another developer, the Richard E. Jacobs group. Stark Enterprises once planned to jointly develop a 500-acre project in Avon with the Jacobs company, but withdrew from the project in April 1999.

Huber did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Stark's petition was filed before Huber's challenge. Stark might have withdrawn it in deference to the council measure, Burges said, but decided to press ahead in case the challenge succeeded ...

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com


WESTLAKE - ... Last week, [Stephen L.] Huber objected to City Council putting a rezoning issue on the ballot for Crocker Park ...

Yesterday, Huber filed another protest with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections - this one aimed at a separate Crocker Park initiative that developer Robert L. Stark got on the ballot.

That raised questions about whether Huber was acting as a concerned Westlake citizen or as a concerned senior vice president of another development firm, Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc.

The Westlake-based Jacobs Group owns Westgate Mall in Fairview Park and Midway Mall in Elyria ...

Jeff Linton, a Jacobs Group spokesman, said Huber filed his protests at the request of concerned residents and because his company is a "significant corporate citizen." ...

What is more, Huber thinks 48 of Stark's 50 petition sheets should be deemed invalid because they did not alert circulators and signers to the penalty for election falsification.

The Board of Elections plans to review the protests at its Sept. 5 [2000] meeting.

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com


"Westlake residents seek to intervene in lawsuit

WESTLAKE - It s difficult to picture anyone wanting to be sued, but for seven Westlake residents, it makes perfect sense.

A citizens group known as Residents for a Greener Westlake has submitted a motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed Aug. 28 by Robert L. Stark and John Carney, the developers proposing a 75-acre project known as Crocker Park. If their motion is approved in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the residents will be listed as defendants, along with the city of Westlake and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

The residents - Ann Baldzicki, Debrina Cassano, Mary Demaline, Joanne Masino, Margaret Rowland, Mark Rowland and Stephen Huber - argue the city has not acted in their best interests during discussions of the Crocker Park proposal, which would bring new residences, stores, restaurants and offices to an area just south of the Promenade shopping plaza.

"We re just a group of residents that want to maintain the quality of life that we have in Westlake today," Margaret Rowland said. "We do not think Crocker Park fits into what is beneficial to us." ...

Residents for a Greener Westlake ... believe the council acted hastily in July when it put the zoning change on the ballot. As a result, group members circulated petitions to keep the issue off the ballot until November 2001.

"With this suit, developer Bob Stark and his partners are trying to end-run the city charter, strong-arm elected officials through threat of monetary damages, conveniently erase the errors and shortcuts in the process to date and force the rezoning issue on the residents of Westlake through a contrived, court-ordered settlement," Cassano said in a statement ...

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com


"Despite protests, rezoning issue will hit ballot

Westlake voters should have the opportunity to vote on a rezoning issue that could lead to the Crocker Park development, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections ruled last night [9-11-00].

The board s decision dismisses the challenges of two residents who oppose the rezoning of a 75-acre site just south of the Promenade shopping center.

Stephen L. Huber and Lorraine R. Baumgardner filed the protests this summer, maintaining the rezoning issue was put on the ballot improperly ...

Huber and Baumgardner, in addition to a citizens group known as Residents for a Greener Westlake, said the City Council rushed through the process of moving the rezoning issue to the ballot.

A second ballot issue stems from an initiative petition filed by the Crocker Park developers that the challengers insist was invalid.

The challengers, arguing the development would be a detriment to the city, collected more than 500 signatures on a referendum petition asking council members to postpone putting the rezoning question on the ballot until next year.

Those hopes were dashed after yesterday s 2-hour Board of Elections meeting.

"I am extremely disappointed that the support we have was found not to be sufficient," said Ann Baldzicki, treasurer of the citizens group. "We residents will continue to get out the real facts."

Lawyer Stephen O'Bryan, who argued the case on behalf of the protesters, said he would consider appealing the ruling ...

Although the elections board dismissed the protests of the two residents, Westlake City Council still must decide whether the referendum petition filed by Residents for a Greener Westlake is valid.

Zachary Paris, a lawyer for the Crocker Park developers, asked the city to declare the petition invalid because circulators failed to meet the Aug. 19 deadline ..."

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com


"Petitions filed too late, city says

WESTLAKE - It was business as usual in Westlake City Hall yesterday morning, but when an emergency council meeting adjourned, civility was thrown out the window.

Attorneys argued pointedly with one another while residents demanded to be heard above the din. The uproar followed council s decision to let the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections rule on whether referendum petitions should kick [the Stark] rezoning issue off the November ballot ...

Law Director David Harbarger said he believes the petitions are defective because they were filed with the clerk of council two days late ...

The petitions maintain that council did not follow proper procedure in July, when it put the rezoning proposal on the ballot after a 4-3 vote ...

Harbarger predicted the elections board would agree with his determination that the referendum petitions are invalid. No date has been set for that review."

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 9-21-00, By KEN PRENDERGAST, Sun Staff Writer

"WESTLAKE - ... Robert L. Stark Enterprises and the Carney Family, ... are withdrawing a property rezoning issue they placed on the ballot after the opposition tried to yank a nearly identical rezoning measure placed there by the city.

The developers put the second rezoning issue on the ballot just in case opponents were able to defeat the city's version.

Also, the developers are withdrawing a lawsuit filed against the city. The lawsuit would have combined the two nearly identical rezoning issues into a possibly court-ordered settlement to eliminate voter confusion.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections ruled against a complaint, filed by the opposition, that the city's rezoning issue was put on the ballot improperly. The city's rezoning issue will stay on the ballot.

The measure would rezone 76 acres of land south of the Promenade Shopping Center on Crocker Road to Planned Unit Development. However, Residents for a Greener Westlake, an opposition organization which Jacobs Group officials said they financially support, continues its frontal assault on the Crocker Park development.

In a writ of prohibition, Residents for a Greener Westlake is asking the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the election board's ruling. Writ of prohibitions require the Supreme Court to act quickly on the motion.

Residents for a Greener Westlake said they want the November 2001 ballot to include an issue on amendments to the zoning code that changed the PUD section to allow construction of Crocker Park. City Council has the authority to amend the zoning code, but residents can force a public vote on zoning code amendments ...

the scale of the $150 million project is an argument against it, ... "All the photos and artists rendering depicting a quaint and quiet downtown atmosphere cannot disguise the development for what it really is - a regional mall," said Ann Baldzicki, treasurer for the opposition group ..."


"WESTLAKE - Arguing that traffic along Crocker Rd. is already a problem, members of Residents for a Greener Westlake insisted yesterday it would only get worse if Crocker Park is built.

Passage of a rezoning issue in November would pave the way for a development of residences, shops, offices and restaurants on 75 acres south of the Promenade Shopping Center. It will also bring more drivers to an area already inundated with rush-hour traffic ...

Residents for a Greener Westlake have retained URS [Greiner] Corp., [URS Greiner is the same firm that generated Jacobs' study for Avon foretelling failure of the SR-83 -- I-90 interchange] a Cleveland engineering company, to analyze a study commissioned by Crocker Park LLC. ...

Member Ria Wollfert said some funding had been provided by the Richard E. Jacobs Group, a Westlake development firm, but she was "not entirely sure" how much it contributed ..."

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com

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"WESTLAKE - After three months of litigation, the Ohio Supreme Court has decided to keep a contentious rezoning issue on the November ballot.

The Wednesday [10-12-00] ruling echoed the recent opinion of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, which said it is up to Westlake to decide whether residents should have a chance to vote on the issue ...

Through mass mailings, full-page advertisements and twice-weekly protests near the site of the proposed development, Residents for a Greener Westlake argue Crocker Park would be bad for the city.

Meanwhile, Crocker Park LLC [Stark] has responded with its own campaign literature, as well as an informational videotape, which was sent yesterday [10-12-00] to every Westlake household.

Crocker Park spokesman Bill Burges said members of the citizens group are relying on scare tactics to garner support.

"In their fliers, they use traffic pictures that show West Coast-style gridlock, not traffic patterns at (the Crocker-Detroit) intersection or even in the city," Burges said ... [What goes around comes around]"

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 10-13-00, SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer October 13, 2000

[First Interstate proposes a shopping center in Westlake]

"WESTLAKE -- The Center Ridge site that Westlake rejected for both Super Kmart and Lowe's Home Improvement could be developed as a shopping center.

Mitch Schneider, the Pepper Pike developer building the Avon Commons shopping center in Avon on Detroit Road, announced plans to develop a 150,000-square-foot retail area just west of Porter Public Library.

Schneider submitted the project to Westlake's Planning Commission in August. He said yesterday he is hoping to make an informal presentation to city planners soon.

The site has already been the scene of two high-profile development battles -- both ending in failure for the developer.

In 1994, the Kmart Corp. purchased the land and applied to build a Super Kmart there. Angry residents flooded City Hall with their opposition and the city said no.

Kmart [represented by Timothy Grendell] sued, but courts ruled in Westlake's favor three times.

In 1999, Lowe's applied to build a home improvement store on the property, and the city again said no.

But Schneider is confident his project will find approval.

The developer, president of First Interstate Development, said he plans to bring four to six sit-down restaurants, a bookstore, an upscale grocery and other shops ...

The ''Westlake City Center'' would sit on about 30 acres, just west of the planned expansion of Porter Public Library. Kmart has already sold land for the expansion to the library.

Unlike shopping centers such as the Promenade at Crocker and Detroit Road, or Avon Commons, the shopping center is not meant to be a regional draw, Schneider said ...

Schneider promised a pedestrian-friendly center with attractive architecture and a host of high-end shops. No zoning changes are needed ..."



"WESTLAKE - Westlake real estate seems to be hotter than ever these days.

While controversy surrounds a proposed development known as Crocker Park, First Interstate Properties Ltd. this week announced its plans for a community shopping center in the middle of town.

"There s an awful lot of retail demand in Westlake," said Mitchell Schneider, president of the Pepper Pike development firm.

Schneider said the $20 million project, known as Westlake City Center, would be developed on land west of Porter Public Library, at Center Ridge and Dover Center roads.

First Interstate Properties has an option to buy 30 acres from Kmart Corp., which proposed a 24-hour complex for the area in 1993. At the time, the city argued the site was zoned for a neighborhood shopping center, not a superstore. Years of legal battles ensued, but the courts ruled in favor of the city.

The new proposal fits into the city's vision for the land and will not require rezoning. The development will include a grocery store, bookstore, several restaurants and 30,000 square feet of "upscale retail." ...

Schneider said Westlake City Center would draw people from close by rather than be a destination point for regional customers.

First Interstate Properties owns 2 million square feet of retail space, including Avon Commons in Lorain County and Willoughby Commons and Mentor Commons in Lake County.

Before the firm can break ground on its Westlake development, the city Planning Commission must approve the project. In an Oct. 6 [2000] letter to Planning Director Robert Parry, development manager Richard Carlisle submitted a conceptual site plan and requested a meeting to discuss the proposal. No date has been set for that review."

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com

NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 10-19-00, By KEN PRENDERGAST, Staff Writer

"Additional retail planned for town

WESTLAKE - City officials said they wanted a neighborhood retail plaza west of Porter Public Library, and they just might get it ...

... First Interstate Corp. has proposed a 135,000-square-foot retail complex and residential area called Westlake City Center. It would have 14 cluster homes, a grocery store no bigger than 40,000 square feet and from four to six sit-down restaurants. The remainder would be specialty shops.

"There's no big-box retail whatsoever," said Mitchell C. Schneider, president of Pepper Pike-based First Interstate. "This will be a community-based shopping center with an upper-end food store. The specialty retail would include things like a bookstore, apparel and other soft goods."

Schneider estimates the retail component will cost about $18 million to $20 million to build ...

No rezoning appears to be needed for the project. A total of 18 acres of land already is zoned for a shopping center, and 10 acres next to Westown Boulevard for the cluster homes. Between the homes and the shopping center would be a buffer, such as a landscaped mound and fencing, Schneider said.

"We'd like to have an informal discussion with the Planning Commission," he said. "That would help us get a sense of the commission."...

"This location is right at the center of the city of Westlake," Schneider said. "It's ideally situated for a community shopping center."

His company is developing Avon Commons, now under construction on Detroit Road in Avon. Unlike Westlake Town Center, Avon Commons is intended to be a regional facility, he said.

"We'd like to see a groundbreaking (of Westlake Town Center) in about 10-12 months, sometime late next summer or early next fall," Schneider said.

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[Another Traffic Study]

"WESTLAKE - Members of a citizens group insist that traffic problems caused by a proposed 75-acre development would require as much as $33 million in improvements, a claim backers of the project dismiss.

Citing additional congestion and road construction, Residents for a Greener Westlake hired URS Corp. to analyze a traffic study - and the city's review of that study - for an area just south of the Promenade shopping center. The original study was commissioned by Robert L. Stark and John Carney, the developers for the proposed Crocker Park.

According to the URS report, traffic generated by Crocker Park would overwhelm the intersection of Crocker and Detroit Road and the Interstate 90 - Crocker Rd. interchange.

"With this new data, now we can see that if Crocker Park is built, it s going to make an already badly congested area all but impassable," said Ann Baldzicki, the group's treasurer ...

Crocker Park spokesman Bill Burges said ... "I haven t seen the URS report, but I think what Residents for a Greener Westlake are doing here is just piling on every dollar they can possibly find and making the cost as high as they can to scare people." ...

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough said ... this was not the first time Crocker Park's opposition retained URS. In July, he said, the city received a URS traffic study commissioned by the Richard E. Jacobs Group, a Westlake-based mall development firm that has supported the efforts of Residents for a Greener Westlake.

Baldzicki has said the Jacobs Group agrees with her group that Crocker Park does not belong in Westlake. Jacobs Group owns Midway Mall in Elyria and Westgate Mall in Fairview Park.

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE SUN, 10-26-00, By KEN PRENDERGAST, Staff Writer

[Summit with Jacobs Revealed]

"WESTLAKE -- Shortly after the Richard E. Jacobs Group began financially backing a small residents' organization to defeat Crocker Park, the planned unit development's developers sought a meeting with the Jacobs Group.

Crocker Park developers Robert L. Stark and John Carney wanted to meet with Jacobs to learn why his national real estate company, based in Westlake, was against their project.

Ultimately, Stark did not attend the late-August meeting; the reasons for that depend on who is asked. However, both Carney and Jacobs acknowledge they discussed whether to form a partnership to pursue a new Crocker Park project.

That's where the similarities end, in terms of accounts of the meeting.

Carney, who is vacationing in Asia, could not be reached for comment. But his brother, Jim A. Carney, a managing partner in the family's development firm, said Jacobs' opposition was due to the inclusion of a "top end" department store in Crocker Park's development plan ...

Carney said Jacobs didn't invite Stark to the meeting. Further, Carney said Jacobs asked his brother "how comfortable he was with Stark as a partner." Jacobs, he added, then offered to become a 50/50 partner with Carney, as long as some changes were made to the Crocker Park plan, such as having less office space.

Jacobs said only part of that was true.

"I did inquire as to whether there was any opportunity for me to join with them in an effort to design and develop a different and more feasible project," Jacobs said in a prepared statement.

Regarding Stark's lack of invitation, all Jacobs said was that neither Stark nor anyone from his firm attended the meeting. Jacobs said the meeting ended "without resolution when it became clear to me that there was no adequate plan in place to address the significant volume of traffic the proposed project would generate."

But Carney denied Jacobs raised the issue of traffic.

"He doesn't give a darn about the traffic, which he knows isn't a problem," Carney said ...

In a nationwide sale of Jacobs' malls, Stark said, Rouse Co. reportedly is in discussion with Jacobs to buy Westgate Mall in Fairview Park. Rouse owns Beachwood Place, which has the only Nordstrom's in Greater Cleveland.

A Rouse spokeswoman at their Baltimore headquarters did not return phone calls seeking comment.

By some estimates, the Jacobs Group spent more than $100,000 on advertising and attorneys fees to block Crocker Park. Jacobs Group officials said they are fighting the project because they are a "good corporate citizen." ...

Anne Baldzicki, a Falls Oval resident and member of Residents for a Greener Westlake, said the money Stark and Carney are contributing to traffic improvements isn't enough. She said nearly $30 million in road projects are needed to handle the 13,000 cars a day expected from Crocker Park ...

"The bottom line is, it doesn't make a difference whose study is quoted -- the traffic numbers are astronomical," said Kathy Beal, a resident of Macon Court, just west of the Crocker Park site. "We can get traffic through (the Detroit-Crocker intersection), but you have to have a 16-lane intersection. Is that what people want?" ''

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[There is no honor ...?]

"Developer blasts Jacobs over snub by Bloomingdale's

WESTLAKE - Don't apply for that Bloomingdale's credit card just yet.

An executive for Federated Department Stores Inc. - the parent company of Bloomingdale's - has dismissed the notion that the high-end retailer wants to open a store in Westlake.

Last Thursday, developer Robert L. Stark announced that Bloomingdale's was one of five department stores interested in a spot in his proposed Crocker Park project. The development would bring residences, offices, shops and restaurants to 75 acres just south of the Promenade shopping center.

The next day, Westlake-based developer Richard E. Jacobs contacted Federated executives, said Jeffrey LeBarron, who works for the Jacobs Group. What followed was a letter from Carl Goertemoeller, Federated's operating vice president for real estate, to Carla Lally, Stark's director of leasing.

In that letter, Goertemoeller indicated that Federated was not in active negotiations with Stark and his partners, James A. and John J. Carney. He also asserted, "Bloomingdale's does not have an interest in your Westlake project." ...

Jean Coggan, a spokeswoman for Federated, said yesterday that the company looks at new store opportunities as they are presented by developers. Stark speculated that as soon as a Plain Dealer article listed possible Crocker Park tenants, "Jacobs got on the phone and beat them up.

"(Jacobs) is using scare tactics, bullying tactics, LIES AND MISTRUTHS," Stark said. "All of those things relate to the protection of someone's interests. It's so outrageous." ...

In the end, though, Coggan said, "We evaluated the Westlake site, as we do hundreds of sites each year, and determined that this project was not in keeping with Bloomingdale's expansion strategy."

Paula Weigand, spokeswoman for Nordstrom, said, "We're interested in the Cleveland market, but my understanding is that there s nothing happening in the immediate future."

The only Nordstrom store in Greater Cleveland is at Beachwood Place ..."


[A "BLATANT MISCHARACTERIZATION" by any other name ...]

"Although I oppose the proposed Crocker Park project in Westlake and have contributed financially to the residents group opposing it, I have insisted that no personal attacks be directed at Robert L. Stark or his partners. In light of the unfair, unwarranted accusations he recently directed at me in this newspaper, I have no choice but to respond.

In the Oct. 25 edition of The Plain Dealer, Stark blatantly accuses me of "using scare tactics, bullying tactics, LIES AND MISTRUTHS."

His outburst was prompted not by any statement made by me, but by an official of the Federated Department Stores, who stated flatly that Bloomingdale's "does not have an interest" in locating in Crocker Park. This directly contradicts Stark's claim, also reported by The Plain Dealer, that he was in active negotiations with Bloomingdale s.

In other words, Stark got caught telling a "BLATANT MISCHARACTERIZATION" - to repeat the words of that Federated official.

But the embarrassment he should have felt instead became anger toward me.

As a developer who has worked closely with major department store firms for many years, I immediately became suspicious when I read his claim that Bloomingdale's - as well as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Jacobson s - were "competing" to locate at Crocker Park. So, I picked up the phone to check for myself.

Federated expressed surprise at being used by Stark and quickly sent his leasing representative a letter confirming the absence of any interest in Crocker Park on the part of Bloomingdale's. Your reporter contacted the other four retailers mentioned, and not one of them confirmed Stark s assertion that "active negotiations" were under way.

Stark's statements simply reflect a lack of experience in dealing with department store companies. Department stores decide where they will locate and when they will open. I know this as a result of my experience in negotiating more than 200 agreements with them.

In reality, Stark's experience is in the strip shopping center business. This does not come as a surprise to Westlakers, who recall the promises Stark made about the Promenade several years ago. Stark claimed to have serious interest from another department store - Bonwit Teller - and upscale tenants including Laura Ashley, Eddie Bauer, Hemisphere, Williams Sonoma and Bunce Brothers. None of those retailers have opened there.

Nor are these the only examples of Stark making exaggerated claims. His Crocker Park advertising has continued to claim - incorrectly - that the project has the backing of the Sierra Club.

Finally, Stark questions my motives for getting involved in this issue, which deeply affects Westlake, a community in which he neither lives nor has chosen to locate his new corporate headquarters. As a longtime corporate citizen of Westlake and a major economic stakeholder in the community, I feel I have every right to express my opinion on this important issue."



"... Jacobs has been in attack mode from the moment my partners turned down his attempt to strong-arm his way into the Crocker Park project ...

He sued to deny the people of Westlake the opportunity to vote on Issue 183. He was defeated at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and twice before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Jacobs has funded Residents for a Greener Westlake and used it to spread misinformation and DOWNRIGHT LIES about Crocker Park ...

He had specialty retailers called who were committed to Crocker Park, and asked for confidential documents in a heavy-handed way.

And then he homed in on Bloomingdale's. We were in active discussions with them until Jacobs provoked them into releasing a private letter to the media ...

Jacobs should take care of his own projects. Westgate has deteriorated significantly. Someone with his experience should spend more time cleaning up his own back yard instead of spreading dirt in someone else's.



[Is it possible that Stark and Jacobs BOTH are right?]

COMMENTARY from THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 10-27-00, By Barbara Carmen, Dispatch Metro Columnist

"Mall baron Dick Jacobs is being accused of brandishing the gold knuckles again, this time in Cleveland, where he's bankrolling a citizens group to knock down a competitor with a ballot issue.

... Jacobs' earlier loss at Polaris might portend trouble in Cuyahoga County.

Was it just last year that the Northland Mall owner led a ballot fight against Herb Glimcher's mall?

Fighting on the November ballot is becoming a tradition for Jacobs, like hiring a mall Santa. The leaves are falling; time to organize.

"What's Glimcher's number?'' asked Robert L. Stark, Jacobs' latest retail rival.

Stark said Jacobs initially tried to elbow his way in on Crocker Park ...

"Jacobs told my partner, 'What do you say if I take 50 percent, and the other two of you take the rest?','' Stark said. "Then he says, 'It's nothing personal. It's only business.' Who writes his lines -- the people from The Godfather?'' ...

Jacobs has publicly acknowledged feeding money to a citizens group fighting the rezoning for Crocker Park.

"They call themselves 'Residents for a Greener Westlake,' '' Stark said. "We call it 'Residents for a Greener Estate Plan.' ''

Here, Jacobs subsidized Citizens to Save Northland, a failed ballot effort to renege on infrastructure money for Polaris Fashion Place.

That mall is being built.

Jacobs is consistent. The Plain Dealer reported he's banned most buses from pulling up to his Midway Mall in Lorain County. He tried this a decade ago at Northland.

Lost then, too."

E-mail: streffin@plaind.com


"Toy-sized green footballs emblazoned with the words, ``Here comes the Crocker Road BLITZ!'' were tossed into the home team crowd at the Westlake High School football field last month.

It was political theater by Residents for a Greener Westlake, a citizens group, to attack the traffic linked to the proposed $200-million Crocker Park development, which relies on passage of a ballot issue Nov. 7 in the suburb.

Not to be outdone, developers Robert Stark of Beachwood and the Carney family of Westlake, who are proposing the project for 70 acres on the southwest side of Crocker and Detroit roads, are firing their own volleys. They've sent three slick, colorful mailings to residents, and they recently mailed a videotape touting the project.

``We're talking to anyone who'll listen,'' Mr. Stark said. Both sides are erecting yard signs and taking out half- and full-page ads in local weekly newspapers."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE TELEGRAM, 10-27-00, By Melissa Dittmann

[Didn't Phillips try something like this to block Avon Commons?]

"NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- A meeting Thursday called by attorney Gerald Phillips ended abruptly after Phillips refused to answer some questions posed by residents and city officials.

Phillips represents a group of residents who were able to get a proposed charter amendment on the Nov. 7 [2000] ballot that would change the procedures for approving developments ...

Phillips has filed a motion with the Ohio Supreme Court asking that taxpayers pay his fees, which are estimated at $30,000.

If approved, the amendment would require Council to place planned community developments or COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS totaling 10 acres or more to a citywide vote for final approval.

The amendment contains a ward provision, which means that one vote above 50 percent in one ward of the city where the development is to occur can veto the development."

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"Westlake voters approve Crocker Park project

Westlake voters yesterday approved a developer's proposal [YES 8,296 -- NO 6,701] to build Crocker Park, a 75-acre downtown development ...

"We are excited," said Crocker Park developer Robert L. Stark ...

Jeff Linton, a spokesman for the Richard E. Jacobs Group, which opposed the development, said the vote was expected to be close.

"The closeness shows there were widely held concerns over whether this is the best thing for Westlake," Linton said ..."

E-mail: jtinsley@plaind.com


Diane V. Grendell, a state representative forced to seek a new career because of term limits, has landed a new job -- judge on the 11th District Ohio Court of Appeals.

[Timothy Grendell, a Chesterland Republican, succeeded his wife, Diane, in the 68th District: Grendell (R) 26,765, Fanger (D) 17,396, Evan (Libertarian) 1,769]

[Diane] Grendell, a Republican, won handily yesterday over challenger Lynn B. Griffith III, a, Democrat, [139,403 to 115,858] ...

Grendell, 55, will be the first person to sit in the newly created fifth seat on the 11th District Court ...

When Grendell takes office next year, ... her office will also be in a new district courthouse in Warren, which hears appeals of lower court cases in Lake, Portage, Geauga, Ashtabula and Trumbull counties."

E-mail: agarrett@plaind.com

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE TELEGRAM, 11-8-00, By Melissa Dittmann

"Ridgeville charter change loses ...

NORTH RIDGEVILLE-- ... The group's proposed charter amendment was voted down. [YES 3,936 -- NO 4,998]. It would have changed city methods in approving certain developments ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE TELEGRAM, 11-10-00, By Kristin Yarbrough

"NORTH RIDGEVILLE-- City officials are accusing an attorney of filing an election fraud complaint to gain support for his cause on Election Day ...

Gerald Phillips ... filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission contending that a campaign in opposition to the now-defeated charter amendment for the city violated election practices.

But when city and Community Care officials arrived in Columbus Thursday [11-9-00] for the hearing, they found Phillips had withdrawn his complaint, Law Director Eric Zagrans said ..."

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