New condo development approved

Here are my notes from last night’s meeting:

New condo development – Council unanimously approved a zoning certificate for a new condo development off of Gilbert Road, and just west of Lowe’s and Wal-Mart on the west part of town. It will include 55 four-unit buildings. Each unit will cost about $200K and will have between 1,500 and 1,600 square feet. The tract is 70.4 acres, but will maintain 45% greenspace. The developer will target empty-nesters and senior citizens. It is a $20 million investment. As with the Dollar General issue, the property was already zoned to permit this sort of development, and therefore, council was without authority to issue a blanket denial. But council made some revisions to the plans that satisfied the residents who own property nearby the development.

Council contingency funds – Each year, the budget allocates to council $15K for miscellaneous purposes. Many years, we do not use the money, and it goes back into the general fund. This year, we donated $500 to the UpClose program, which allows Stow-Munroe Falls students to visit Washington D.C. and learn about the federal government. Last night, we donated $500 toward Stow’s police K-9 fund. We then, at Matt Riehl’s suggestion, transferred the balance of the contingency fund toward repairing storm-water issues in Stow.

Dispatch updates – We have a new prospective member of the dispatch Council of Governments: the Summit County sheriff’s office, which dispatches for Summit’s townships and villages. At one point, Hudson considered joining the COG, but has now backed out, according to Mayor Kline. The membership now stands at 4 (Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge and the County). The law directors are busy collaborating on legislation and bylaws. The finance directors are putting together a budget. Expect to read a lot more about this topic from January through March.

Primary Election date – As you might have read in the Beacon Journal, I have proposed to move Stow’s primary from September to May. Two main reasons: (1) It will give overseas military a better opportunity to get their ballots completed and submitted on time. (2) It will cost somewhere between 40-50% less. If Stow held its 2015 primary in May, instead of September, it would have paid about $20,000 instead of about $34,000. The ABJ’s Paula Schleis did a good job explaining the proposal in more detail (see link above). This proposal must go before the voters in 2017. I plan to give it a full 3 readings before council votes whether to place it on the ballot.

Next Meeting – Council will hold its organizational meeting on January 3 at 8 p.m. The next regular meeting will be January 12. Until then, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Saying goodbye to Colt

Here are my notes from last night’s meeting:

K-9 officer Colt – Last month, Stow lost a valuable member of its police force when K-9 officer Colt died of Leukemia. Since then, the community has poured out its support for our department and his partner, Sgt. Steve Miller. Council made a proclamation last night in Colt’s honor. We also received a $1,500 donation from the Rubber City Kennel Club toward our K-9 program, which still includes Spectrum and Mingo. These K-9s are a great police benefit, both in obtaining evidence and apprehending suspects. But they also provide an invaluable benefit as a community relations tool. We will miss Colt and are grateful for his service. I would be all in favor of getting Sgt. Miller another dog.

Overtime for Police/Fire – Council approved an extra $50K in overtime for the police department and $10K for the fire department. The police department needed the extra funds because of various officer illnesses, paternity leaves, and departures. The total overtime will be $400,000. The total fire department overtime will be $282,500. Between the police and fire departments, it amounts to almost $2,000 per day. Way too high.

New industrial building – Council approved a new 220,000 sq. ft. industrial facility on Prosper Drive. It will be occupied by Mickey Thompson Tire, which is moving from its nearby facility. (The current facility is now looking for a new tenant.) This is a nice development for our city, and it’s a win to keep Mickey Thompson here–something we have worked on through the CIC. … One issue that arose with this project is the fact that our zoning code required 379 parking spots, when about 2/3rds of that is sufficient. This causes unnecessary expense for the developer and it also takes up unnecessary greenspace. Planning committee chairman John Pribonic indicated his willingness to fix the code in this regard. I’m with him.

Leaf pickup – The city will begin making its second pass at District 1 on Monday.

Storm water fee – The finance department reported last night that residents have been receptive to the additional $2 fee included in the October bills. This small amount of money will be used to do a lot of good, and hopefully prevent some of the devastating flooding we saw a few years ago.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on December 8. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving! Our community has a lot to be grateful for.

Meeting Notes

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