City voters will be asked on Nov. 5 to choose between two candidates vying for the Ward 1 City Council seat.
Incumbent Councilman Douglas A. Magill is being challenged by Solon Planning Commission Chairman Eugene Macke Bentley. Both have been on the campaign trail going door to door discussing city issues.
Mr. Bentley, 57, said he has been discussing such issues as detention basins, trees needing cut down and snow plowing in the ward, among other issues. Larger things like Issue 65 also come up while speaking to residents, Mr. Bentley said, and he is in favor of the rezoning.
Mr. Magill, 70, who is seeking his second term in office, said there is generally an attitude of concern when it comes to Issue 65. That issue, on the Nov. 5 ballot, is proposing a new zoning category that would allow a mix of restaurants, retail, offices and residential in a 21.76-acre area along Aurora and Solon roads including the former Liberty Ford dealership site.
“I think we need to rezone that area, there’s no question about it,” Mr. Magill said, but more thinking needs to go into the plan, especially with the apartments proposed. Mr. Magill said he does not think young professionals would choose to live in them and the senior citizens would have the option of the Omni senior living development that is being built on Kruse Drive.
“I think we need to take a step back and rethink what goes there,” Mr. Magill, who is a national organizational consultant who does voiceover work, said.
Mr. Bentley, an architect who owns his own firm EBA Inc., based in Shaker Heights, said he would bring to the dais if elected the same energy and consensus building he has brought to the planning commission for the past 15 years, the last three of which he has served as chairman.
“I will continue to do those things on City Council,” Mr. Bentley said of bringing initiatives forth when necessary. Mr. Bentley will also continue the pro business environment in place in Solon.
“I will continue to make it easy for businesses to come to Solon,” he said, “and to help attract new ones and retain existing ones.”
Mr. Magill said if re-elected, he would like to focus on what it would take to develop a true “downtown Solon.
“We should be aggressive about pursuing that railroad behind City Hall,” and to have the surrounding area anchored with green space and an amphitheater. Mr. Magill also said the city should pursue the option of being its own Internet provider and at least fund a feasibility study to see the true costs.
Mr. Magill would also be active in the proposed housing project for people with special needs.
Mr. Bentley said people should cast their vote for him Nov. 5 because he plans to “build a better Solon.” He moved to the city from Shaker Heights 20 years ago to raise his family as it is a great community.
He also can agree to disagree on issues and still shake hands afterwards, he said.
“I want to continue to build Solon and push Solon forward to make it amenable for developers and businesses who want to come to Solon,” Mr. Bentley added.
Mr. Magill said he is passionate about serving the city and is an independent voice on City Council.
“I represent the interest of the citizens and the city,” Mr. Magill said. “I’m very responsible and work hard at this.”
When the city regionalized its dispatch operations with Chagrin Valley Dispatch, Mr. Magill said he went to the center to educate himself on the issue fully. He has done the same in his research on the idea of the broadband proposal, he said.
“I’m focused on Solon,” Mr. Magill said.
Mr. Bentley said if elected he would be in constant communication with his constituents and also readily available if they needed questions answered or concerns addressed.
“I will be open and amenable and respond as soon as I can with any issue,” Mr. Bentley said. “It is my responsibility. I want to hear everyone. I represent everyone in the ward.”
Mr. Magill said he would also work for increased transportation opportunities for workers in Solon.
Mr. Bentley said it is important to work as a team to build consensus.
Both Mr. Bentley and Mr. Magill have faced some issues during their campaign. There were questions of unpaid taxes associated with Mr. Bentley that have yet to be resolved, according to court records. A citizens group has raised the issue of Mr. Magill making inflammatory statements in Republican Party publications.