Last night’s city council meeting

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

Downtown Stow – By a 6-1 vote (Adaska), Council agreed to move forward to seek proposals on developing a Downtown Stow. You can view the bid package by clicking here -> (18 0917-Request For Proposals-Draft-wAppendix (1)).

Bob Adaska voted no, stating that he wants to preserve the greenspace. I think we all want to preserve the greenspace, but we also want it to be usable. I don’t see people going onto the City Center property to spend recreational time. We could change that.

To address some frequently asked questions:

What’s next? Sometime in November, we will review any proposals we receive, and we will seek extensive public comment on them. After 3 readings, we will choose one (or none). This project has the potential to define our city for decades. It has the potential to affect quality of life for tens of thousands of people. I want it to be done right.

How does this impact the SKiP park rebuild? If we link up with a developer, we may ask the developer chip in on the several hundred thousand dollars that are required. If we don’t link up with a developer, we can then press forward with obtaining a rendering of the new playground and collecting donations. Either way, SKiP is getting rebuilt.

How much taxpayer money will this cost? We do not anticipate using significant city money. In fact, that’s why we are bringing in a developer, who will use its own funds.

Why are high-end rental units being considered? There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I anticipate that the developer’s plans will include some high-end rental units, which are necessary for the project to be financially enticing to a developer. If the project ultimately contains high-end rental units, it won’t be because the city wants them. It will be because the project cannot move forward without them. It’s way too early to determine how many units, if any, will be included.

Issue 1 – Last week, I came out in opposition to Issue 1. At last night’s meeting, the entire city council joined me in a formal resolution. Law Director Zibritosky persuasively demonstrated how Issue 1 is bad for criminal justice, bad for rehabilitation, and bad for law enforcement.

If Issue 1 is passed, you won’t get more than a misdemeanor (i.e., no significant jail time) for possessing enough fentanyl to kill 10,000 people. At that point, we are not talking about drugs; we are talking about a weapon of mass destruction.

Issue 1 gets a “A” for having its heart in the right place, but an “F” for execution on that plan.

Route 8 – Starting Monday, ODOT will begin to mill down Route 8 North, from Graham Road to the Ohio Turnpike. The speed limit will be 55 MPH. Thankfully, it will be 3 lanes for winter, and the heavy construction will begin next year.

Another positive note: Over the next 6-8 weeks, they will begin installing traffic signals at the Seasons Road exit. For anyone who has waited to get off Route 8 at Seasons Road during rush hour, you’ll understand the importance of that.

Zoning legislation – Two weeks ago, Council rejected my legislation to allow a property owner to rebuild a property that is a non-conforming zoning use, after the property’s involuntary destruction. Put another way, it’s my opinion that you should get to rebuild if a fire destroys a duplex that was built before duplexes were deemed improperly zoned in that neighborhood. It’s a matter of basic fairness. It also helps save our administrators time and taxpayer dollars, as lenders commonly need assurances before loaning money secured by a property that is a pre-existing, non-conforming use.

Two weeks ago, we needed one additional vote, and didn’t have it. But I implemented a seldom-used procedure known as the motion to reconsider, which allows a councilmember to change his/her vote in the meeting that immediately follows the meeting at which the original vote was taken. Brian Lowdermilk made the motion to reconsider his “no” vote, and Bob Adaska also voted “yes.” Ultimately, the legislation passed last night by a 7-0 vote.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on October 11.