Ursuline project welcomed

Many emotions surround the Ursuline Sisters’ property and the zoning variance application currently being considered by the Pepper Pike Planning & Zoning Commission. As both residents of Pepper Pike and parents of young adults who hope to one day live in the proposed community, we would like to focus on some facts.

The three acres that Medina Creative Housing has leased from the Ursuline Sisters is part of a larger parcel in a U-2 zoning district. According to Pepper Pike’s zoning code, the only permitted U-2 uses are day schools, libraries, places of worship, clubhouses and municipal buildings. The sisters could construct a massive building for one of these uses on the land now targeted for the MCH housing. Rather, they prefer to satisfy a community need by leasing that land to MCH for development of independent housing with supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Ursuline motherhouse is deemed by the code a pre-existing, nonconforming use. MCH has asked the planning commission to extend that nonconforming use to include its multi-family, cluster housing. MCH must request a variance and not rezoning because the code does not have any zoning district permitting the planned use. Pepper Pike’s zoning code calls for the planning commission, not the voters, to vote on a variance.

Some Pepper Pike residents have objected to the variance, claiming that the cluster housing would alter the large lot, single family character of the community. Pepper Pike has included a diversity of lot sizes and housing types since the voters approved reduced lot size zoning for Sterling Lakes and added a townhouse class to its zoning code. The proposed 25-unit MCH project is far smaller and less dense than the Sterling Pointe townhouse development.

It is our hope that the Planning and Zoning Commission will conclude that the proposed use for the Ursuline land satisfies the code criteria for approval and that the Pepper Pike community will welcome the Medina Creative Housing project and the people who plan to live there.

Tracy and Mark Dickinson

Shari and Michael Goldberg

Katie and Joe Nook

Nicole and Rodney Twells

Pepper Pike

Repeal death penalty

New legislation was recently announced that would end the death penalty in Ohio. This is an exciting step forward as it’s been made abundantly clear that Ohioans are ready to do away with the death penalty. Ohio has been moving in this direction for some time. Ohio’s last execution took place in July of 2018, and all scheduled since have been on hold. There was also a significant win last legislative session. House Bill 136 – which exempts individuals with serious mental illness from receiving a death sentence – passed during lame duck. This important piece of legislation ignited conversations about Ohio’s criminal justice system and the need for equitable, effective reform.

There is a lot of momentum for death penalty repeal. Public opinion has never been higher, and at the Statehouse there is unprecedented support across party lines. A bipartisan, bicameral team is backing this new legislative push, demonstrating that both sides of the aisle and legislature are ready to fight for change.

Now is the time for Ohio to abolish the death penalty once and for all. Ohio legislators can make it happen this legislative session.

Sabrina Harris

Policy Strategist

ACLU of Ohio

Welfare of people

Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the “American Rescue Plan” even though it will help local schools reopen with pandemic protections in place, provides needed support to small businesses and pays for faster distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Conversely, every single Democrat in Congress voted for the $1.8 trillion COVID-19 Cares Act passed last year during the Trump administration. It’s no wonder traditional Republican voters are beginning to understand that the Republican Party and their officeholders are interested in their own agendas and not the welfare of the American people.

Terry Carson

Bainbridge

Facts, not feelings

In his letter to the editor last week (“Facts and Feelings,” March 4/5), Alex Lavrich claims to be all about facts, not feelings. But in the two specific points he makes, he lets his personal feelings get in the way of the facts.

First, Mr. Lavrich claims that defensive use of firearms greatly outnumbers violent use. In fact, the latest research concludes that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. (Search “How often do people use guns in self-defense”). The 25-year-old research Mr. Lavrich alludes to is now widely regarded as drastically overstating the incidence of defensive gun use.

Second, he repeats the longstanding GOP trashing of the Affordable Care Act. Here are some facts: 

In the 10 years since its enactment, the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by more than 20 million and extended critical consumer protections to more than 100 million Americans. It has not undercut the private health insurance market, as the GOP predicted.

By a large margin (53 percent to 34 percent), Americans view the ACA favorably (Kaiser Family Foundation poll). Gallup’s ACA tracking poll showed a similar level of support in its most recent survey. 

More than 206,000 people signed up for ACA policies on the federal exchange in the first two weeks of the special enrollment period recently ordered by President Joe Biden.

Most telling, if the ACA is so terrible, why hasn’t the GOP ever proposed an alternative? Donald Trump repeatedly promised a new plan and never delivered a thing. What does that tell you?

Patrick Gallagher

Bainbridge Township

Keep falls out of spotlight

Barbara Christian asked her readers to voice their opinion on “the elephant in the village,” whether or not the falls in Chagrin Falls should be lighted at night.

I agree with Ms. Christian, it has been a topic that no one has dared to approach out loud or in print.

Why?  There could be speculation on this, but I’m going to put in my two cents worth:

No ma’am, I do not agree with “lighting the falls.”

In my opinion, lighting the falls would take away the quiet, understated beauty that is Chagrin Falls.

Lighted Falls? To me, it’s too flashy, too touristy, too much, way too much, for this Chagrin native.

If out-of-towners want to see a falls that are lighted, I hear Niagra Falls has some lights.

Beth Barber

Chagrin Falls

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