Site plan needed before vote
Attending the Beech Brook open house last Saturday gave me the opportunity to view the site in detail, including the buildings themselves. Not only is the wooded area on the north side of the property a gem, so are some of the buildings. I would like to see the chapel and perhaps some of the other buildings preserved and adapted to other uses. Adaptation and reuse is common in urban areas, and some uses include office space and residences. I believe that since Beech Brook is already developed, the focus should be on preserving all of the wooded area north of the existing buildings, as well as some of the existing buildings, instead of tearing down everything and rebuilding. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to replicate the quality and design of similar buildings without breaking the bank.
The fate of the wooded area on the north side of the property and preservation of at least the chapel will drive any decision on how I vote in November. This is something a developer can certainly include in a site plan; I and many others are waiting to see a clear site plan before we can make an informed decision and avoid defaulting to a “No” vote in November.
Critical of proposal
We are concerned about the Times article, published on Jan. 16 regarding the proposed rezoning of the Beech Brook property in Pepper Pike. The headline left the impression that the developer will pay for the solution to the traffic problem at Lander Circle. Steve Bittence of Axiom stated in the story that the increased traffic because of the proposed Beech Brook development, is a “community issue,” implying that Pepper Pike will bear the cost.
Increased traffic will make the surrounding congestion near the development worse than it already is. Lander Circle traffic is already so congested that it has an F rating from the Ohio Department of Transportation, and according to AECOM, it already has some significant deficiencies. Axiom has submitted a traffic study to the city; however, it was done prior to the full opening of Pinecrest and the completion of Moreland Commons. Mr. Bittence also said that extra police will not be needed. Pinecrest, a mixed-use development of 58 acres, which is in Orange, has had an increase in crime, including but not limited to assault, grand theft, voyeurism, indecent exposure and disorderly conduct over several months, which has required more Orange police officers’ time. There also will be a 15-percent increase in dwellings, according to the proposal. This will certainly increase the demand for Pepper Pike police, fire and emergency personnel.
We are also concerned about the tree canopy loss with this proposed development. All of the 11.7-percent loss of the canopy in Pepper Pike that has already happened cannot be credited solely to the emerald ash borer when Hunting Valley only had a 1.4-percent loss. The insects and tree diseases do not respect city limits. Development created some of this loss.
Finally, parents should be aware that this development will be abutting the Orange City School District campus. This in and of itself can present risk and problems for the students, faculty and the community.
No to Beech Brook rezoning
In November, Pepper Pike residents will be asked to approve a zoning change put on the ballot by City Council that will forever alter the character of our city. We urge our neighbors to say no to this proposal for the following reasons:
Pepper Pike has always required a minimum lot size of 1 acre for each single family dwelling.
This has prevented over-development and controlled traffic congestion. It is why many of us moved to Pepper Pike in the first place. We do not want or need a large apartment or townhouse complex.
Pepper Pike’s Codified Ordinance Article XIII – Zoning states, “For the purpose of promoting the peace, quiet and general welfare of the municipality, to prevent traffic congestion and hazards, and for the protection of property values within the municipality, council shall regulate the height, bulk and location of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot occupancy, the area, width, depth and street frontage of land required for buildings and other structures, the density of population, and the uses of land, buildings and other structures.” The proposed zoning change flies in the face of this provision.
Axiom has no experience with mixed-use development. “It is a startup real estate development company formed by Bryan Stone and Stephen Bittence. Their first and only joint venture is Moreland Commons.” Moreland Commons will be Axiom Development Group’s first “Livable Neighborhoods Community.”
Axiom has proven it can’t be trusted. As soon as Moreland Hills approved the Moreland Commons project, Axiom requested – and was granted – numerous variances, with one decreasing the agreed-upon set-back distance from Chagrin Boulevard.
Pepper Pike is not insolvent. The city currently has $12 million in reserve.
There is no shortage of shopping centers in this area. Pepper Pike residents are within a 10 minute drive of Beachwood Place, Legacy Village, Eton Collection, Landerwood Plaza, The Village, Pavilion and now Pinecrest.
Mayor Bain opposed the building of Pinecrest in 2015, sighting the added traffic impact on Pepper Pike. “While it [Pinecrest] might be great for Orange and the schools, it is not fair to the rest of us. There are already traffic issues,” Mayor Bain said. “What happens when this is built and we have increased traffic from the shoppers coming through our town to go to Pinecrest?” What has changed?
There is no master site plan for the Beech Brook site. At a Jan. 25 meeting with Axiom developers, Bryan Stone was unable to say how many apartments and single-family homes would be built on the Beech Brook site. Axiom literature says, “Only after rezoning is approved by Pepper Pike voters can work on a master plan begin.”
Preserve Pepper Pike. Say no to the Beech Brook re-zoning proposal.
Bob and Cindy Hazelton
Support Solon Issue 19
We have lived in Solon for the past 23 years and are asking you to vote in the upcoming March primary on a zoning issue that represents the best of Solon and is also very personal to our family – that of approving new R-3-C zoning for special needs housing at the southwest corner of Aurora Road and Portz Parkway.
We appreciate how the Solon City School District has successfully brought our two children up through its ranks, reflecting its commitment to serving its students, whatever their needs: our older daughter has been living and working in South Africa for the past nine years and our younger daughter – who has special needs – has been living with support in a nearby community and working at a vocational training program for the past three years. Now Solon is continuing to show its support for special needs by putting zoning on the March ballot that reflects its Master Plan – calling for “housing opportunities to meet the unique preferences and needs of all age groups to enable residents to live in Solon throughout the various stages of life”.
Ever since our younger daughter was 3, we have been trying to figure out how we would set up a sustainable and fulfilling living situation for her when we were no longer alive. Even though we have come a long way as far as housing, we had not found a long-term solution – until the city of Solon worked on creating new zoning that would allow several homes to be built for adults with disabilities, within walking distance to city amenities where they could live, socialize and age in place in Solon.
This zoning for special needs housing has the unanimous support of Solon’s City Council. Now we are asking you, our fellow Solon residents, for your support by voting “Yes” for Issue 19 – special needs zoning in Solon in the March 17 primary. For further information, go to www.SolonCommunityLiving.org.
Lee and Theresa Markowitz
Enough is enough
Enough of Judge Timothy Grendell’s use of our public money for blatant self-promotion shenanigans. Why are we paying to have his photo on local diner placemats, on church bulletins and on every piece of Geauga Park District literature meant to advertise park and nature programs? Is this why the court budget for expenditures has increased over $1 million, according to the court’s own Annual Reports, since 2011?
Enough using our public money to publish “Quarterly Newsletters,” costing well over $50,000 mailed to all residents, filled with outdated quotes, self-aggrandizing articles and information easily found on the court’s own website.
Enough using our public money to pay for the big blue signs ($800) that have graced our county since April 2019 that say “SAVE MONEY – FREE” over the judge’s name, as if he is giving away candy at a carnival.
Enough using public dollars to, in essence, fund a perpetual political campaign. He can do that on his own dime, not on ours.
And, while I’m at it, enough yelling at people, at a policeman, at other public officials, at his own staff and even at myself.
We need a judge who is fiscally responsible and has a judicial temperament both on and off the bench.
We need a judge we can be proud of.
Vote for Matthew Rambo for Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge on the Republican March 17 primary election ballot.
Vote for Matt Rambo
It seems that virtually every letter to the editor promoting Judge Timothy Grendell comes from his honor’s employees, past employees or folks who have some vested economic interest in promoting the good judge. The latest is from Laura Cooke, an apparent past employee of the good judge at the probate court. It deserves a response. As far as I know, none of us folks who are supporters of Protect Geauga Parks (ProtectGeaugaParks.us) have any economic interest in criticizing the judges actions. Criticizing the good judge typically has negative repercussions to the critic. Check out our website.
One might well wonder if the huge raises and bloated salaries the good judge pays to some of his employees (our tax dollars, of course) are paid with the understanding that they will promote him and contribute to this reelection campaigns. Check their salaries and see how they compare with employees of other similarly sized probate courts.
Ms. Cooke states that his decisions have “always been fair.” Was it a fair decision for him to get into fights with the past and the present auditor and county commissioners with jail threats emanating from the good judge? Was it a fair decision for Judge Grendell to appoint people as park commissioners who have essentially shown no past interest is parks, natural areas or conservation? Was it a fair decision for him to appoint Mr. Johnston as a past park commissioner, knowing that he was running for county commissioner and would have to resign as park commissioner if he won his election?
Was it a fair decision for him to fire any park commissioners who by chance did express concern for protecting endangered species? Was it a fair decision of the good judge to plaster his photo in every park newsletter to gain publicity for himself? Was it a fair decision for the good judge to allow the purchase of two large parcels by the park district at prices vastly over the appraised value?
We citizens are facing a fork in the road this March. March 17 is the primary election in Ohio. Tim Grendell and Matthew Rambo will be the only two folks vying for the probate court judgeship on the Republican ballot. Whoever wins will be the next probate judge as no Democratic opponent will be on the November ballot, so the winner in March will be unopposed in November. If you wish an opportunity to have your voice heard in this matter you need to request a Republican ballot on March 17. A Democratic or Independent ballot will not give you that opportunity. One path of the “fork in the road” will lead to more wasteful spending, like $100,000, plus plastic climbing walls and million-dollar-plus remodeling of the Nassau Observatory that did not allow the observatory dome to turn to all areas of the sky and still does not enable disabled folks to actually look through the Nassau telescope. That road will mean a probate judge who uses tax dollars for his own publicity and thus his own benefit. The other path will mean bringing back honor to the probate court. Which path we take is up to you on March 17, so please do make your voice heard.
John G. Augustine
Remembering Bainbridge couple
Bainbridge Township and all of Geauga County have lost two of its finest citizens with the passing of Hugh Edwards and his beloved wife, Janice.
Hugh served proudly in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, and as a true entrepreneur, he was involved in many successful ventures, the most visible arguably being his development of Canyon Lakes Subdivision. With Janice’s loving support, Hugh was a generous contributor to many worthwhile causes.
Hugh and Janice Edwards were loved and admired by many. They helped make Bainbridge Township a wonderful place to live and raise a family.
Diane and I feel privileged to have known the Edwards. Hugh and Janice will be missed.
Judge Timothy J. Grendell
Stop speeding on Sherbrook
As I sat down at my desk and turned on my computer around 4:30 p.m. Friday to write this, seven cars drove past my house on Sherbrook Park Drive in Solon. Five of them were speeding. Not just 5 or 10 miles above the 25 mph posted limit, but more like 15 or greater. None were Sherbrook residents. This is a daily occurrence that gets worse each year as more and more cars cut through our quiet Sherbrook neighborhood to avoid the busy intersection of SOM and Solon roads, despite signs posted at each end of our neighborhood stating No Thru Traffic. The Solon police have told us that such a restriction is unenforceable.
In addition to the speed limit, there is a three-way stop at the corner of Sherbrook Park Drive and Lakeview Drive. Hardly anyone ever stops.
During the 22 years I have lived in Sherbrook, I and several neighbors have met with a police sergeant, a lieutenant and former Chief Christopher Viland to discuss ways to deal with our traffic issues. One perceived solution was to place a portable traffic speed sign on the side of the street from time to time, the exact kind of sign that recently appointed Police Chief Richard Tonelli talked the city’s Safety and Public Properties Committee into purchasing for more than $8,000. The Chief said that although these portable signs cause drivers to slow down initially, he “can’t guarantee that after we move it, we won’t get the same complaints again.” Ha! The signs never made even a difference. They are a waste of the city’s money.
Speed bumps don’t work because they impede snow plows in winter. Speed dips don’t work because they cause damage to speeding vehicles and are therefore a liability. Former Chief Viland tried other approaches to slow speeders. He started with having double yellow lines painted down the entire curving length of Sherbrook Park Drive. That made no difference whatsoever. Then, citing research from other parts of the country, the police department ordered the repainting of edge lines so that they were six inches farther from the edge of the pavement, believing that the narrower-looking roadway would slow people down. That hasn’t made any difference either.
So what’s left? How about a real police officer with a radar gun? Nope. We’re told the city doesn’t have enough officers to handle all the speeding complaints from neighbors throughout Solon. Besides, the police say that our street is too curvy for them to get a solid reading on radar. Chief Viland did send out a squad car several times, but with an auxiliary officer inside who issued only warnings. Besides, he or she often placed their clearly-marked vehicle where drivers can easily see it and then reduce their speed. I don’t believe that a serious ticket has ever been issued for either speeding or ignoring a stop sign. Speed signs won’t fix the problem.