Aug
10

Notes from last night’s City Council meeting

Here are my comments and notes from last night’s meeting of Stow City Council:

New Economic Development Activity – Over the past decade, we have made Stow into one of the most business-friendly cities in Ohio. We didn’t do this for the sake of business alone–but for the sake of our residents, who will not need to worry about a tax increase or a cut in services thanks to our strong income tax base. Here are a few new developments:

  • The Circle-K convenience store at the corner of Stow and Fishcreek roads will be renovated. The building was 40 years old, and it shows. Sales had slipped 30% over the past few years. It’s a $3.9 million project, which will help our schools and make the corner look more attractive. Construction will begin sometime next spring/summer.
  • Stow will be the new home to the corporate headquarters of Great Trails Council – Boy Scouts of America. There will be 29 employees with a total payroll of $1.5 million. The group is moving from Akron to a building at 4500 Hudson Drive (across from Ellsworth).
  • Stow also landed the corporate headquarters of ACRT Services, which conducts vegetation management work and meter reading for utilities. There will be 50 employees and payroll of $5.5 million. ACRT will fill a vacancy at the Clunk Building, near the Stow Courthouse.

Charter Amendment – Last month, Mayor Costello proposed an amendment to Stow’s charter to impact term limits in two ways: (1) Not count a partial term toward an elected official’s 8-year limit. (2) Prevent an elected official from resetting his/her term limit clock by resigning from an office early.

In my opinion, the language would have confused voters. I offered an amendment to Jim’s original proposal, which was adopted. The proposal needed 5 council votes to get on the November ballot; it got only 4. I voted “yes” because I thought it was a fair question to ask the voters.

I predicted that Jim’s proposal lacked the requisite 5 votes, so I came prepared with a second version of the charter amendment–a version that would only address the second issue (preventing an elected official from resetting his/her term limit clock by resigning from an office early).

This second version did pass, by obtaining 5 votes. Voters will have the opportunity to decide the issue on November 6. I believe it’s a common-sense language clarification. It reaffirms this community’s desire to have meaningful term limits.

Dangerous Dog Ordinance – Council unanimously approved an amendment to our dangerous dog ordinance. A dog-bite victim will now have the opportunity to be heard in an appeal, just like the dog owner can be heard. Giving due process rights to victims is a welcomed trend lately (see Marcy’s Law, adopted into the Ohio Constitution in November 2017).

Fox Den Update – Good and bad news about Fox Den Golf Course. First, the bad: Course condition has suffered as the course’s water well has run dry. Council approved a new well, which will be drilled in October. Now, the good: The course earned $221,000 in revenue during July–the best month on record. I also think we made the right decision by reconstructing holes 5 and 6. Hole 5 was one of the goofiest holes in Northeast Ohio until we converted it to a par 3 (and hole 6 into a par 5).

Goodbye, Steve 

Council honored Steve Ivanov, who ran Steve’s Professional Dry Cleaners for 50 years, and is now retiring. Steve is the epitome of the American Dream. He emigrated from a socialist country, served in Vietnam, opened a small business, worked incredibly long hours, and enjoyed great success. God bless Steve and his family.

Other notes

  • Stow will present Summer Sunset Blast on Sept. 1-2, with live music, food, adult beverages, a petting zoo and fireworks. Click here for more details. It’s a great event.
  • City council will meet next on Sept. 13.
Jul
27

Last night’s City Council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

Duplex zoning

In my opinion, we have two problems with our zoning laws when it comes to duplexes. First, they can basically be dropped in anywhere there is a vacant lot–including neighborhoods that otherwise have no multi-family or rental housing. Second, because only 10% of the city’s existing 534 duplexes meet the existing setback restrictions, 90% of them are considered a legal non-conforming use–so that if one burns down, it cannot be replaced.

We are examining legislation, at my request, that would fix both of these problems. Duplexes would no longer be permitted in single-family neighborhoods. And if an existing duplex is damaged, it can be replaced.

Graham Road resurfacing

Next year, Stow and Silver Lake are teaming up to repave Graham Road between the railroad tracks and Elm Road. The project will cost about $1 million, and the state is providing $700,000 of that. It’s a very necessary project, and probably should have happened a couple of years sooner.

SKIP Playground

I proposed legislation to create a committee that would ultimately provide the guidance for rebuilding Skip Playground. To my surprise, this was offensive to one non-profit in Stow that wanted to take the project on by itself. Of course, it does not need to be a city-created committee, but it needs to start moving. I won’t tolerate any delays, given the terrific amount of momentum the project has. I urged my colleagues to provide alternatives to my proposal.

National Night Out

Our police and fire departments will be hosting National Night Out on August 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a bounce house, slide, police vehicles, raffle, food, face painting and more.

Next meeting

Council will meet next on August 9.

 

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