Site plan needed for Beech Brook

On Feb. 7 the mayor of Pepper Pike apparently took it upon himself to single-handedly reschedule the public comment meeting regarding the Beech Brook rezoning application brought forth by Axiom. It was done under the guise of stating that he believes delaying this meeting to be in the “public interest” so that it can “allow the applicant to act upon the information and feedback already received.”

 We respectfully disagree as the developer has had more than enough time to regroup. Per the mayor’s email to Pepper Pike residents of Dec. 17, 2019, there had been 17 publicly held meetings, many with public comment available, as well as 17 Chagrin Valley Times articles concerning the application.  The Planning Commission made many significant material suggestions and changes to the applicant’s proposal. 

 Why then is more time needed by Axiom now? The mayor has already acknowledged the issue of poor communication and lack of transparency regarding this proposal, and yet we continue to get last minute surprises.  

It seems to us that Axiom is getting a free pass by the mayor on many counts. They were specifically asked to bring a site plan to present to council and have not done so, even defiantly stating that they had no intention of drawing up such a plan until after rezoning was passed. In several previous council meetings, (one being  Aug. 28, 2019) concern was expressed about referring  the ordinances on to the Planning Commission without further review by council – however the mayor, as head of the council, seemed to push this through to the Planning Commission and then through the Planning Commission process by Oct. 22, 2019.  It has yet to resurface for over four months after being recommended by the planning commission. The question is why? 

We are concerned that those of us who are opposed to rezoning and want Pepper Pike to keep its “largely bucolic nature” are fighting an uphill battle here. Axiom has no web site and no proven track record. We have received no site plan to review and no assurances that this land won’t be flipped once rezoned.  

Too many doubts, too little transparency.

Barbara and Howard Nearman

Pepper Pike

Roundwood manor is historic

As a Hunting Valley resident, I think Sylvia Korey should be able to divide this very large Roundwood Manor mansion of 55,000 square feet into six condominiums. I would rather see actual owners living in the mansion who would continue to protect its historical significance. The five renters who live directly across the street are transient.

Two years ago, I attended a talk by Dan Ruminski inside this home and I realized just how wonderful it is. The owner, Mrs. Korey, let us look through most of the rooms. There was a very large crowd and no one bumped into anyone even going up and coming down from the tower. This house has been impeccably cared for and it would be a shame to destroy it, which is what some have suggested. Think Millionaires Row and the history that has been lost forever. The Van Sweringen brothers built this home in the early 1920s which is before Hunting Valley had zoning.

I was the designer for the Mooreland Mansion, which is owned by Lakeland Community College. The college got more than $2 million to renovate and bring Mooreland up to code. Mrs. Korey is not asking for people’s tax money to re-do Roundwood Manor, it has been beautifully taken care of by Mrs. Korey.

I am in favor of 5 acre zoning in Hunting Valley, however, this home is very special and I think an exception should be made. It has been brought up in a previous article that other homes owned by Lerner, Figgie or Ahuja might gain the historic significance that Roundwood Manor has now. I don’t think we need to worry about these homes for about 80 years.

All of the money Hunting Valley is spending on this case could better be spend on repairing our roads and not on huge legal fees.

Kathy Suglia

Hunting Valley

Time for judicial change

I read the Chagrin Valley Times every week. I am not politically connected. I have noticed over these past few years many articles and editorials about Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Judge Timothy Grendell. Whenever I read something about the judge it mostly is in a controversial confrontation. Most people writing about him have uncomplimentary comments about him. Not knowing all the issues, it appears that the Judge likes to create unwanted issues that displease most people. Therefore, when I go to vote I will vote against him, in hopes a person easier to get along with will beat him.

Irv Bishko

Russell Township

Parks should be for people

Our new park commission in Russell is asking the taxpayers to pass a large ($260,000 per year) levy to allow them to purchase land. If one looks at their website, or attends any of their meetings, there is no mention of anything to do with recreation, trails or access for the residents of the township who would pay for any parks this group would purchase. That is my main problem with this whole concept, and that was the main reason I volunteered to serve on the established Russell Township park board four years ago. I would posit that 99 percent of my fellow residents agree with me that a vacant piece of land is not a park.

Years ago, I had heard from a number of residents that all we had were drive-by parks. What I found as I started looking at the existing park district was that, of the land the district owned, only two out of 23 parcels had any kind of public access or recreational opportunities. The most visible park with public access was the Russell Uplands Preserve at the corner of Russell Road and Route 87. The chair of the park district at the time told me the sole reason the Upland Preserve had public access and recreation was because the large government grant used to help buy the land had a covenent on it that the land had to be developed with public access and recreation opportunities, i.e. what we all consider a park. Without this covenant, he told me, there would have been no access or recreation.

When I and my fellow commissioners approached buying the Modroo hay field four years ago, we had no intention of letting it be locked up in a very restrictive conservation easement that would not allow access and some form of limited recreation. That is why the culvert is in place along Hemlock Point Road and the parking lot is scheduled to be in place in the spring, with trails cut in for the residents to use.

I have no problem with the township trustees going to the taxpayers asking for a levy for land acquisition or land preservation. My problem is that they created this new park commission to do their dirty work – getting the taxpayers to pass a levy under the guise of a park levy, with no intention of ever creating anything resembling what a normal average Joe would consider a park. A classic “bait and switch” scheme.

Charlie Butters

Russell Township

Vote for Matthew Rambo

I am writing as a concerned citizen who has lived in Geauga County for many years. I am also a former employee of the Geauga Park District. I resigned in protest when three longtime employees were fired in 2014. 

In the past six years, the current park district administration has, in my opinion, engaged in intimidation tactics directed toward employees and the public at large. Geauga Park District is the only park district in Ohio that does not allow public comment and input at its meetings. Park employees are forbidden from openly expressing their views on any matters relating to the park district to park visitors, members of the general public and even to park district board members. All of this intimidation and negativity comes from the very top of this organization, Timothy Grendell.

This is why I feel it is time to vote for Matthew Rambo for Geauga County probate judge. It’s time to elect a new judge who will set a new tone for Geauga Park District and for all of the citizens of this county.

Carol Gwirtz

Parkman Township

Keep Trump in office

Some people seem to think that choosing a president is like choosing a meal a la carte from a vast menu with limitless possibilities. As if one could customize a candidate who shares all your values, has an impeccable character, and is a snappy dresser too.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The menu we are offered has only a handful of choices in the primaries and basically only two in the general election. And sometimes it’s like having to choose between donuts and liver. The one promises short-term pleasure but unhealthy consequences in the long-term. The other is distasteful and offers health benefits that will serve you well for years to come. So if you’re smart and self-controlled, you hold your nose and eat the liver.

Said people criticize Christians like me who voted for and support President Donald Trump because he has serious character flaws which conflict with our values. A current meme going around suggests hypocrisy if we complain about the lewd Super Bowl halftime show yet apparently see no problem with a crass commander-in-chief. These critics are either blind to or intentionally disregard the reality that there is no perfect candidate and our choices are extremely limited.

Perhaps they would advocate a presidential draft whereby we seek out, select, and strong-arm someone with all our desired qualifications to be our party’s candidate.

Here’s the thing, though ideally our nation’s leader has a character worthy of admiration and emulation, the reality is that in an election we are hiring him (or her) to do a job. So his suitability for the position depends on his job performance qualifications over and above any personal traits. Except as his personal character may impact his job performance.

Two things can be true at once: An individual can be personally deplorable, and be really good at his job. A candidate for CEO of a major company who has a proven track record in business leadership but has cheated on each of his four wives will be chosen over the man who never failed his wife but failed to lead well at each of his four previous positions. A world-famous surgeon with decades of experience and a 100 percent success rate who happens to be rude, arrogant, and somewhat sleazy will be chosen over a kind and compassionate but inexperienced resident when you need life-saving surgery.

And a man who is committed to policies that I support and determinedly works to enact them but has a checkered past and is sometimes crude, boisterous and childish is preferred over a less boorish man or woman whose policies are immoral or would be detrimental to the country.

As a Christian, I both approve and disapprove of things President Trump has done and said. The things I approve of are those that are in his job description. And come November I will vote to rehire him.

Caroline Smith

South Russell

Support Russell park levy

It’s time for Russell Township voters to come together to take advantage of a very unique and special opportunity on March 17 to vote Yes for a 1 mill levy to fund our Russell Township Citizens’ Park District.

What makes this levy so unique and special? We know exactly where our money is going. The money generated by the levy will be used to purchase the gorgeous “Gallo Property” – 64 undeveloped acres of land on Music Street that back up to The West Woods. If we pass this levy, the Citizens’ Park District will purchase the “Gallo Property.” And better yet, the Citizens’ Park District has applied for a Clean Water grant that will pay for 3/4 of the purchase price! We are so lucky to have this cost-effective opportunity to keep Russell green!

What will happen to the “Gallo Property” if the levy fails and we are not able to purchase it? Most likely, it will be bought by a developer who will divide it into lots and build on it. This outcome would be sad indeed.

Historically, Russell citizens have valued our green space by supporting township parks with a 1 mill levy. The levy on the ballot on March 17 essentially replaces the former levy, which expired 2 years ago. The current levy will cost $35 annually for each $100,000 in assessed value of our homes.

Park lands purchase by the Russell Citizens’ Park District will remain under local control forever. The Citizens’ Park District answers ONLY to the Russell Township Trustees and the residents of Russell Township.

I love living in Russell Township. It is a rural oasis, and I hope it will stay that way for generations to come. The controversy surrounding our township parks over the last couple of years has been difficult, but the quarrels have ended. Let’s take advantage of this amazing opportunity to keep Russell special and unique. Vote Yes for Issue 3!

Shelley Chernin

Russell Township

Retain Hildenbrand

As a 25-year resident of Geauga County with many years of working in public safety, I would strongly encourage you to vote to keep Scott Hildenbrand as Geauga County sheriff during the March 17 primary election.

 I have had the privilege of working alongside Sheriff Hildenbrand on many emergency scenes and firmly believe that he is the best choice for Geauga County Sheriff. Sheriff Hildenbrand has proven his dedication to Geauga County over the years and has worked hard to make the sheriff’s office one of the most effective and efficient in the region. He has also improved communications amongst all safety forces in the county. Please join me on March 17 and vote to keep Scott Hildenbrand as our sheriff.

Dave Peterson 

Huntsburg Twp

Democrats not on trial

CNN advertised “The Impeachment of Donald J. Trump.” After watching Pat Cipollone attack Adam Schiff, and Jax Sekulow attack the “process,” I felt like I was watching “The Impeachment of Adam Schiff’ or “The Impeachment of the Democratic Party.”

Neither Mr. Schiff nor the Democratic Party were on trial. Adam Schiff presented a clean, precise factual basis of President Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction.

As a retired attorney, I understand President Trump is entitled to a defense. I also understand his legal team has a professional and ethical obligation to be truthful. They were not.

Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Sekulow have each made untruthful statements. You could argue they simply were mistaken. You would be wrong. They lied.

Republican senators, to keep their jobs, protect the party and Mr. Trump rejected impeachment. They took an oath to uphold the Constitution and one to conduct an impartial hearing. They have violated both oaths.

If not impeached, hopefully Trump will lose the election and most of the Republican senators will also lose. A Democratic president will guarantee firing the attorney general.

If Trump is re-elected but the Democrats gain control of the Senate, they could pursue impeachment again.

Weeks ago, Trump said: “I do not know Mr. (Lev) Parnas; I take pictures with a lot of people; I know nothing about him, he is a groupie.”

CNN played a tape of Mr. Trump talking to Mr. Parnas about the ambassador at a private dinner party about a year ago. A Trump defender made a feeble attempt to explain the tape.

On Jan. 26, MSNBC reported that former national security adviser John Bolton’s book (in a draft copy) said that Mr. Trump wanted to continue the freeze on aid until Ukraine announced an investigation. Trump denies making these statements to Bolton.

Who should we believe? Should we believe Bolton who has no reason to lie or Trump who has told over 16,000 lies?

I believe Bolton.

With Nixon, the tapes were the smoking gun. Nixon was told “resign or you will be impeached.”

The Parnas tape and the draft of Bolton’s book are smoking cannons. Trump should be told “resign or be impeached.”

Thomas J. Mullen


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