Solon has unknown gems
People move to a community like Solon for obvious reasons – schools, housing, affordability, recreation department, senior community, activities, etc.
There are, however, unknown “gems” in the city that most residents don’t even know exist. One of those is the Solon Service Department - an awesome group of people who “just do their jobs” (and do it well!).
You don’t hear a lot about them. Their attitude is not “we can’t do that”, but more “How can we do that?” It’s a nice change of pace from the often customer service-less world in which we live.
We were Solon residents for over 25 years, raising three children there, and making many wonderful memories. Recently, we relocated to Orlando, Florida. During our time in Solon, as well as when we were preparing to move, the service department really made everything easier by going above and beyond, time and time again.
Everyone, from Mayor Edward Kraus on down, should be grateful to have such an amazing service department.
Ron and Lisa Bachman
Issue 110 bad government
Issue 110 on the Nov. 6 ballot in Solon presents to the voters of Solon the question of whether new Chapter 127201 should be added to the Solon Codified Ordinances. Chapter 127201 would create the Kerem Lake Mixed-Use District, which would rezone the property commonly known as Lake Luczek from single-family residences on 1-acre lots to a mixed-use district. Chapter 127201 would allow the development of detached single family housing, townhouses, apartments, senior living facilities, a hotel, retail establishments, a winery, spa, above-ground and below-ground parking garages, a gatehouse/pool house and tennis courts, among other things. Chapter 127201 would permit a maximum residential density of 7.5 units per acre. All on a site that has one point of ingress and egress on Bainbridge Road.
Issue 110 is not a vote on a site plan. One should assume that if it maximizes the developer’s profits, the mixed-use district will be developed to the full extent authorized by Chapter 127201, even if a site plan circulated before the election excludes certain elements, such as apartments and senior living facilities.
The Kerem Lake Mixed-Use District would constitute Solon’s first ever mixed-use zoning district, but Chapter 127201 was drafted solely by the developer, with no input from the Solon Planning Commission or Solon City Council. Chapter 127201 would control in the case of any conflict between it and any other provision of Solon’s codified zoning ordinances. In short, Chapter 127201 is drafted to protect the developer’s interests, not the community’s.
The enactment of a mixed-use zoning district, especially Solon’s first, requires the involvement of the city’s elected officials, who, unlike the developer, are accountable to the city’s residents. A developer-drafted mixed-use zoning ordinance is the apotheosis of bad government, and it is bad for Solon. Vote No on Issue 110.
Michael A. Cullers
Issue 110 - What it really means
Issue 110 is a vote to change the zoning of a 103 acre parcel of land from single family residential to a mixed use district on Bainbridge Road in Solon. Period.
It is not a vote to build a winery.
It is not a vote to build a boutique hotel.
It is not a vote to build townhouses and senior living.
It is not a vote to build retail shops and restaurants near a lake.
It is a vote to give the developer the rights to build a wide variety of commercial and residential uses on the property, that is all it is.
Don’t let the developers’ threats scare you into voting in favor of this. They are now claiming that they would build 100 houses on the site if Issue 110 fails. The site can only accommodate 30-40 houses, at most as it is currently zoned, according to those with knowledge of the property.
The wording on the ballot is vague on purpose. Please understand what it means.
The city of Solon will have little oversight on the parcel once changed. The voters have never been asked for this level of blind faith by a developer in the past. If the zoning is changed, they can sell the land with its new zoning classification, which is specific to this parcel and only benefits them. They are attempting to rewrite the longstanding regulations and ordinances of the city. The voters of Solon need to turn out citywide with a resounding no on Issue 110.
Support David Ondrey
I write to ask all Geaugans to vote for David Ondrey for Geauga County Common Pleas Court judge. His experience as a lawyer is as broad and deep as any candidate for judge I have seen in 37 years. Thoughtful analysis of complex legal issues and scrupulous evaluation of evidence have been his hallmarks and earned him wide spread respect among the profession. These are critical attributes of a great judge.
Moreover, David and his family are long-time Geaugans, and he knows the pulse of the community. This is important for trial judges especially. They are often called upon to exercise discretion under the law, and being well-grounded in the community’s sensibilities and mores enables them to render the justice our community expects and deserves. I know we can count on David to do just that.
But, David will bring more than experience, a superior legal mind and community awareness to the bench. I have known him professionally and personally for nearly 30 years and he is a person of unerring integrity and an unwavering sense of responsibility to our community. Most importantly, David has, and exhibits, an abiding sense of decency in his professional and personal life. He will enhance our confidence in the judiciary; we will be proud to call him our judge.
I urge everyone to vote for David Ondrey for common pleas judge this fall. His training, experience, mind and temperament will make him a great one.
Ohio State Senator, 18th District
Late park advocate would not approve
It was of particular interest that I read Geauga County Probate Judge Timothy Grendell’s “From the Bench” in the latest issue of Geauga Park District’s “Park Explorer” news mailing. The good judge stated “Bob McCullough, long-time member of the Park District Board, would surely be smiling upon the natural beauty maintained at Claridon Woodlands Park.”
How strange. As one who had known Bob McCullough for nearly 40 years, I can honestly say that if Bob is looking down on the state of the Geauga Parks District he surely does so with a deep and sad frown.
He would be aghast at the huge tax dollars spent on amusements by Judge Grendell and park Director John Oros.
He would be aghast at the lack of public comment and questions allowed at the commission meetings. Bob always encouraged questions and comments and always responded as a courteous gentleman!
He would be aghast at the very low priority of preserving fast disappearing natural areas by the park district. Protecting such special areas was the highest priority with Bob.
He would be aghast at the nearly $250,000 budgeted for advertising by the park district last year. I’ve been told that under Bob’s leadership $25,000 was about the most spent for such expenditures.
He would be aghast at hunting and trapping being promoted as “recreation” in our parks rather than wildlife management tools.
I could go on ad-infinitum.
If his honor really thought so highly of Bob McCullough he would appoint park commissioners like Bob McCullough rather than folks typically with little or no past interest in parks and natural area protection. Any that approach Bob in stature are typically not reappointed or are summarily fired.
I urge all Geauga citizens, voters and appreciators of Bob McCullough to keep that in mind when they have an opportunity to vote for a new probate judge in autumn of 2020.
John G. Augustine
Vote no on Issue 110
Our city’s leaders have spoken clearly on Solon zoning Issue 110.
As residents of Thornbury, the development adjacent to the proposed mixed-use district, our perspective on Issue 110 is admittedly biased. However, our elected officials do not live in Thornbury and they have spoken out directly with concerns about the rezoning.
While all Solon councilmen and the mayor voiced disappointment regarding some aspects related to Solon Issue 110 on the Nov. 6 ballot during the City Council meeting on Sept. 17, Ward 1 Councilman Douglas Magill expressed specific concern that the language of the ordinance prepared by the developer (the subject of Issue 110) conflicts with the mixed-use zoning ordinance that the city is preparing. Councilman Magill expressed 13 individual concerns (his comments are available on the city’s website) which, in sum, point out that Issue 110 is a concern for all of Solon, not just Ward 3.
On Sept. 27, Ward 3 Councilman Jeremy Zelwin held a town hall about Issue 110. Over 350 Solon residents attended, as did our mayor and six of the seven members of Solon City Council (one member was out of town). There are two important take home points from that town hall. First, we are voting on a rezoning ordinance (which is available to view on the City of Solon’s website), not a site plan. The ultimate development of the site could include any and all of the proposed structures in the proposed ordinance.
The second important issue is the proposed ordinance, which was drafted by the developer with no involvement from any of our elected officials and includes a provision that states as follows: “Where there is a conflict between this Chapter and other provision in the [existing] Zoning Code, the provisions of this Chapter shall govern.” That statement would leave the city with little ability to oversee a $200 million development headed by a developer with no previous past experience with this type of project.
The developer has distributed glossy flyers touting his revised site plan and advertised meetings at his property to “hear the new plan” in an effort to suggest that Issue 110 is about choosing the best site plan for Solon: one that includes a “winery” or one that is strictly residential and would “wipe out all of the green space.” In reality, a yes vote on Issue 110 condones a rezoning ordinance written by the developer and for the developer with no guarantee of a specific site plan.
A no vote turns down the rezoning and informs the developer that this is our city and that we and our elected officials plan to keep control of it. Vote no on Issue 110.
Ken and Barb Goodman
The Chagrin Falls Historical Society staged tours of Evergreen Cemetery this past weekend. Groups of 20 or so were guided to ten graves of a variety of our Chagrin Falls predecessors to be greeted at each grave by a volunteer dressed in appropriate costuming and a few props to portray the “spirit” they were bringing “to life” with accurate well researched presentations of their individual biographies as they told the story of their life in Chagrin Falls. Not a stuffy history lesson, but an educational and enlightening reenactment covering various aspects of Chagrin Falls history. Well done in every detail.
Importance of veterans courts
I am writing as a follow up to the recent visit to Geauga County by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, who provided a presentation about veterans court.
A veterans court is known in Ohio as a specialized docket. A specialized docket is a therapeutically oriented judicial approach to provide court supervision and appropriate treatment to offenders, whose offenses were committed because of an underlying mental health or substance abuse issue. These programs provide intensive treatment with “judicial teeth.” The focus is to stop the cycle of criminal behavior and improve the lives of the participants.
There are many types of specialized dockets, including drug courts, mental health courts and OVI courts. A veterans court, as an example, focuses specifically on the needs of veterans, who have committed crimes because of disabilities received while in service to our country.
There are 230 Ohio Supreme Court certified specialized docket courts; none of which are in Geauga. All of Geauga’s contiguous counties have no fewer than two such programs. My county of Ashtabula has four. I have been involved with the Ashtabula Felony Drug Court program for 10 years, and it works.
I am hoping that Geauga County will soon be including specialized dockets into its criminal justice system.
Support Matt Rambo
Every county surrounding Geauga has a drug court and for good reason. Studies have shown that drug courts are less expensive than operating traditional courts and more effective in treating drug problems. Drug courts save governments an average of between $5,680 and $6,208 per participant. Just 29 percent of drug court participants tested positive for drugs within 18 months, as opposed to 46 percent of comparable offenders in traditional court settings, according to the National Institute of Justice. The Ohio Supreme Court actively supports the use of drug courts. We’ve been wringing our hands about drugs in Geauga County for many years. Let’s do something about it by electing Matt Rambo. Rambo has promised that when he is elected as judge he will work to start a drug court in Geauga County. People who are addicted to drugs sell drugs to feed their habits. I’m voting for Matt Rambo because I want to reduce the supply of drugs on the street and protect my own children and grandchildren.
Support Republican candidates
The Nov. 6 general election will be one of the most important elections we’ve had in many years. Although our president is not on the ballot, the agenda that the American people voted for in 2016 is at great risk. Historically, midterm elections have not been in favor of sitting presidents, and I am asking for you to help change that statistic.
The past few weeks we have seen what the Democrats have done to a fine U.S. Supreme Court nominee whom both former President George W. Bush and President Donald Trump support. The committee hearings have been a disgrace and also a wakeup call as to what extremes the Democratic Party will go in order to gain political power. Sen. Lindsey Graham made that very clear in his remarks during last week’s committee hearings.
Locally, we have some contested three-way races that could help elect Democrats. David Ondrey, our Republican judicial candidate for Common Pleas Court, has two opponents: Matt Rambo is a registered Democrat and ran as one in their 2018 primary; the other candidate is Bob Umholtz, who has lived most of his life in Lake County and only moved here very recently. Mr. Umholtz has friends here since he has worked as the county public defender for many years. However, votes for him could split between Ondrey and himself and help to elect Mr. Rambo. Mr. Umholtz does not have the support of our party. I ask that you vote for David Ondrey who has lived and worked in Geauga County most of his life, and he is better qualified than either of the other two candidates.
Jim Dvorak is our Republican candidate for County Commissioner. He also has a three way race and, again, splitting those votes may help to elect a Democrat. I ask for you to support Jim Dvorak who is, without a doubt, the most qualified and best candidate to represent us.
At our Executive Committee meeting this past Saturday, Sept. 29, we endorsed all of our Republican candidates and also Sarah Fowler for State Board of Education. In addition, we voted to oppose state Issue 1 and to SUPPORT Issue 6 for the County Health District Renewal Levy.
I ask that you support our GOP candidates by displaying yard signs. If you vote early, come and help us at our office and at the polls on Election Day. We are a 100 percent volunteer organization and cannot be successful without your help. Call us at 440-253-9677 or visit GeaugaGOP.com to request signs, volunteer, read about our candidates and print out a GOP voting slate card.
Mrs. McArthur is the Geauga County Republican Party chairwoman.
Vote no on Solon rezoning
This letter is to urge Solon voters to vote no on Issue 110 which is an attempt by an inexperienced developer to pass a zoning change for a piece of property on Bainbridge Road from residential to “mixed use development (also called MUD). The zoning he wants doesn’t currently exist in Solon and for the proposed location is not compatible with the Solon Master Plan. The proposed rezoning did not follow the normal review process with city council and the planning commission. The developer sued the city to get the initiative on the November ballot and tried to get the home rule provision of Solon overturned.
There are too many reasons why this is bad for Solon to put in a brief letter to the editor but a developer who claims to want to partner with the city and its residents but does not follow established protocol, sues the city and makes the city pay his legal bills is unlikely to be a good neighbor.
There will only be a brief description on the ballot of the rezoning proposal. But the devil is in the details not printed on the ballot. Notably, “Where there is a conflict between the provisions of this Chapter and other provisions in the zoning code, the provisions of this Chapter shall govern.” I can’t imagine how that can be good for the city.
Finally, if this rezoning ordinance is passed, future developers may write their own ordinances and build anything they want, anywhere they want unchecked by the city. It doesn’t seem to me that many could be for that.
Gratitude for support
In his recent obituary, we highlighted Jim Nerpouni’s energetic and enduring love for this community. We specifically noted his occasional “letters of gentle opinion to the Chagrin Valley Times.” To that end, we saw it fitting that we express our thanks in written form through this same medium, paying tribute to him and sneaking in one last word on his behalf.
We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support we’ve received since Jim’s passing. Hundreds of letters and cards, flowers and hugs, stories and tears have flooded our lives and we are overcome with gratitude. Although we continue to mourn his death, we can’t help but take a moment to thank the community he loved so much for giving him a proper send-off and helping us pause and recognize the many lives he touched.
During his funeral service, we talked about the epic life he led, the unique trail he blazed and the countless positive ways he sought to impact this beloved community. What we’ve learned since his passing is that he achieved what he sought at a scale we (and perhaps he) hadn’t quite imagined. As such, we hope you’ll accept this short thank you as a token of our deepest gratitude. We are truly grateful to the community for helping us remember our husband, father and grandfather, preserving the path he traveled through your stories so his loving legacy will live on.
The Nerpouni family
John Kennedy’s successful run
Incredible. He made it. John Kennedy, candidate for Ohio 76th District Representative ran all the way from his home in northeast Ohio to the Statehouse steps. That’s 142 miles. He started last Friday morning and arrived at the statehouse Saturday evening, running nonstop. Kennedy is more than an ultra marathon runner. He’s a type one diabetic, too. He was running to illustrate the high cost of prescription drugs. Holding up one of his Insulin vials he explains that it used to cost $20, but now it costs $300.
Ohioans are being held hostage by inflated drug prices. That’s just one side of Kennedy. He’s also an expert with software management at a large retirement concern. In the future Ohioans will be faced with many internet situations. John Kennedy is a person who has the expertise to understand them and share that knowledge.
It is hard to fault a man who is tough enough to run 142 miles, expert enough to understand computers, and caring enough to demand fair drug prices for all Ohioans.
Solon Issue 110 glass half empty
Because of a recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling against Solon’s charter, voters now have the opportunity to vote on the worst developer initiated rezoning proposal in the city’s history. And as a former Solon mayor I have seen some bad ones.
Yisrael Harris, the owner of the 103-acre parcel at 39350 Bainbridge Road, recently mailed yet another postcard showing a computer generated vineyard on this site that is surrounded by existing single family homes and neighborhoods.
His spokespeople acknowledge that few grapes would be grown on site and almost none harvested. What Mr. Harris is really proposing is a wine bar not winery. Mr. Harris knows that he cannot cost effectively build only a wine bar near the lake there. So just a week before early voting starts he is still adding and subtracting buildings on the property in an attempt to make this horrendous project more palatable to what his group obviously feels are gullible Solon voters.
Last week Mr. Harris stated apartments have been removed from the site plan. The problem is that is not what he sued the city to force to the fall ballot. Multi-story apartments are very much part of this rezoning proposal under the KL-MUD-1 (900 sq. ft.) and KL-MUD-2 (1,300 sq. ft.) sections of the ballot language and cannot be changed. Solon voters will vote on the rezoning proposal Mr. Harris forced on the ballot, not what he now says he will or will not do.
If this mixed-use district rezoning proposal were to pass, nothing could stop him from changing the plan back again, selling it in parcels or flipping it altogether.
There also have been no published wetlands, environmental or traffic studies for this property or area. All could severely limit any development on this land.
While successfully prevailing with the court to force this mixed-use district and rezoning to the ballot, the developer also attempted to challenge Solon’s longstanding ward approved rezoning provision. The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld this provision on numerous occasions. If this rezoning was to pass citywide but fail in Ward 3, expect another challenge by this take no prisoners developer and his advisers.
Mayor Edward Kraus’ initial curious enthusiastic response to this proposed development and now reluctance to stand with surrounding homeowners in speaking out against it is troublesome. Why any mayor would not support his residents and their property values in this substantial eastern corner of the city is mystifying.
The best way to combat this and support the residents of Ward 3 is for Solon residents to soundly defeat this rezoning in every corner and ward in the city. If you think it is acceptable in an established Solon single family home neighborhood then keep in mind that yours could be next. Especially if these carpetbaggers attempt to challenge Solon’s ward approved rezoning provision again.
And as a non-Solon resident why do I even care? The driveway to this proposed megapolis is 1 mile from the entrance to my street. The nature and character of two-lane Bainbridge Road would change forever if this monstrosity were to pass.
Issue 110 is a glass that is half empty. Vote no.
What about Medicare?
I am amused by a TV attack ad by Congressman David Joyce that claims his challenger Betsy Rader is for a “government takeover” of healthcare. I think we should ask Congressman Joyce if this ad means that he opposes Medicare.
Militancy threatening government
Feminists and the Democrat Party seem to have found their role model/poster girl in Dr. Blasey Ford.
In addition, they are promoting a presumption of guilt in cases of sexual assault without corroborating evidence for the allegations. Feminists and Democrats also have presumed that Judge Kavanaugh is “guilty” of opposition to Roe v. Wade, further galvanizing their forces.
The militancy and message of this union is threatening to our constitutional government and judicial system. This frightens me.
Hopefully this will not lead to a feminist movement in favor of male castration and resulting in a dystopic society with chosen fertile males used to maintain supervised selective procreation as in Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Rezoning not good for Solon
I’m writing to express that Solon’s Issue 110 is not good for Solon and to recommend that, for the following reasons, Solon residents vote no on this rezoning proposal.
The parcel at issue is currently zoned to permit single family residences on 1-acre lots. If Issue 110 is approved, the parcel would be rezoned under an ordinance drafted solely by the developer as a mixed-use development, which would allow commercial activities, single family residences, townhouses, apartments and senior living facilities. The proposal would have a maximum residential density of 7.5 units per acre. Such development will put a strain on city services including stormwater, garbage collection, sewage, maintenance and schools.
If passed, this proposal for mixed-used development could be applied to any neighborhood in Solon. The city government and its residents would lose control over the city’s master plan and Solon’s future development.
There have been no engineering or environmental studies done on the proposal.
The developer has no experience with developments of the type proposed.
No experience and no studies means that this proposal has NO right to succeed.
Issue 110 is a disaster in waiting.
So vote NO on Issue 110.
Ross and Elisabeth Goodman
Pets in the plaza is success
I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the inaugural Pets in the Plaza adoption and fundraising event in support of the Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village. I am grateful to Molly Perkins, my boss here at Town & Country Gifts, for saying yes when I proposed the idea of working with Rescue Village, and for suggesting we invite our neighbors to join us. A great lover of animals, Molly offered to donate a portion of the entire weekend’s sales and also put together gift bags for the new adopters. The entire team here at Town & Country were all a great help in making the event a success.
As the very first to sign on to participate, Marcy Garred at Dazzle got the ball rolling. Ruthann Capozzi at Capozzi Design Group enthusiastically agreed to host animals. Vilija Hopkins from Nouveau Vie generously offered to donate a portion of her total sales for the day. At Geiger’s, Chris Newman not only said yes to my request, but came up with additional fundraising ideas. Our neighbors over at Falls Pak & Ship were kind enough to offer a discount on copying to help defray advertising costs.
We are extremely thankful for our landlord Donna Murphy who not only allowed us to host the event but also paid for an ad here in the Chagrin Valley Times that surely boosted our turnout. Nancy Kelley at the Times was most helpful in the process of putting the ad together, and Joan Demirjian’s article in the Times provided valuable exposure. The Chagrin Falls Police Department pitched in by working with Donna to reserve parking for the Rescue Village vehicles.
The team at Rescue Village was a joy to work with. Cory Griffin was my point person throughout the entire planning process. Without his help, Pets in the Plaza would never have come to fruition. Marketing coordinator Leah Backo designed a great flyer for us and stopped in during the event to promote us on social media. Event staff Jen Daus and Jamie Lallathin were fantastic, and so were the many Rescue Village volunteers who took time out of their weekend to handle the adoptable dogs. I could tell that our visitors really enjoyed interacting with the friendly team from Rescue Village and the wonderful animals they brought.
Most importantly, thank you to all our visitors and customers for coming out to support a great cause. In the end, two dogs found new homes and there was clear interest in several others. Our participating businesses also raised over $300 for Rescue Village. I am told that visitors inquired about volunteering. None of this would have been possible without our wonderful Chagrin Valley community.
Confirm Brett Kavanaugh
Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed because of our standards of justice. I am a survivor of abuse and sexual assault, since childhood and beyond. I have also been a victim of false allegations and lies, for the reasons of personal revenge as well as political revenge and it is a horrible, costly thing to endure. The scales have been allowed to tip too far away from justice and the idea of innocent until proven guilty.
How many of us will stand up to the power of “victim’s groups” that have advocated to undermine the Constitution all over this nation with civil protection orders that in many states, don’t require any proof other than a person’s testimony to get? His or her word is all that is needed, which could simply be a lie or lies. I attended domestic violence support groups in which women actually stated they had provoked or planned to provoke their partners to violence so they could get a protection order, in order to gain advantage in a child custody dispute.
In Ohio, so many people are abusing CSPOs, our Supreme Court started a pilot program to stop the abuses by disgruntled family members, neighbors going after neighbors, and even people going after political enemies for speaking against them. Yes, we opened the door to these abuses and look what we are seeing now! Defamation of character can be called a “victim’s truth.” What happened to searching for the truth? What happened to being sure before moving ahead?
We need to reverse this trend. Ohio should require evidence of abuse for any protection orders, like other states require. One person’s word against another causing rights to be lost or limited is not the American standard of justice. People need to read history and learn or remember why our beloved Constitution is as it is, when it comes to accusations, trials, and search and seizures. One person’s foggy recollection of alleged abuse should not be enough to bring Kavanaugh or anyone down! People hopping on Christine Blasey Ford’s bandwagon with outlandish allegations, seemingly wishing their 15 minutes of celebrity, should not be allowed to destroy his good reputation. Any person can speak lies about another. Some people do it and that is a fact.