Sep
14

Last night’s city council meeting

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

Carter Lumber property – Council approved the plans for Summit Pentecostal Church to relocate from Munroe Falls to the former Carter Lumber facility near the Graham Road/Route 8 interchange. There are some traffic issues, given the location of the egress driveway, but the church will be using a traffic control police officer, to ensure a smooth process before and after its Sunday morning and Thursday evening services.

Salt problems – The City of Stow — along with almost every other municipality and government body in this area — is facing a salt problem. We are part of a buying consortium, which has been instructed by its Ohio suppliers that only 85K tons of the consortium’s 170K-ton requirements will be available for purchase — and at a 38% price increase. The good news is, Stow is prepared. Our domes are full of 9,500 tons. We are requesting bids from out-of-state suppliers. The price increase is going to hurt (possibly a six-figure budget impact), but not as bad as it might have, had we not been prepared for the supply fluctuation.

Auditor’s award – Ohio auditor Dave Yost’s office presented Stow with his auditor’s award, with distinction. This is an award given to less than 5% of the 6,000 government entities that Yost’s office audits. It’s the “gold standard of record keeping.” Congratulations to Finance Director John Baranek and his team for this honor. Stow residents can be confident that we are doing things right to protect tax dollars.

Duplex legislation – Council took action on the duplex legislation that I proposed. The legislation had two purposes. First, I wanted to tighten up the circumstances where a developer can build a multi-family structure inside a predominantly single-family neighborhood (“Section 1”). Second, I wanted to allow a property owner to rebuild a duplex after a fire (or other event of involuntary destruction), even if the duplex was grandfathered-in as a pre-existing and non-conforming use (“Section 2”). The legislation required 5 votes to overcome the rejection by Planning Commission. … Recognizing that council was not likely to agree on Section 1, I made an amendment to remove it–so we could still pass Section 2. The amendment passed, and the legislation (containing only Section 2) received a favorable 4-2 vote (Lowdermilk, Adaska). Unfortunately, it required 5 votes. So it will not be effective.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on September 27.

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.

Meeting Notes

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