Ignore anonymous letters

To the anonymous letter writers who call themselves “Concerned Citizens of the Orange School District.” All residents of the Orange School District are concerned citizens of their school district whether or not they have children attending the schools.

Satisfaction with our schools was evident in the re-election of the incumbent school board members last November. So, when we received an unsigned letter stating, “10 key facts”, most of which were raised last November, we wondered whom we could contact to question or dispute the allegations in the letter.

No one. “concerned citizens” who are unwilling to own up to their opinions by mailing unsigned letters deserve to be ignored.

Ben & Ellen Richman

Orange Village

Clearing up misinformation

Over the past months, we’ve heard a lot of community chatter about the proposed rezoning of Beech Brook’s Lander Road campus. I’m writing to clear up some of the misinformation that is circulating.

First and foremost, this land will not remain vacant, nor will it become a park. During the 17 months the property was on the market, no one inquired about buying it to create a park or nature preserve. Beech Brook engaged in a deliberative process to market the property and consider every proposal, resulting in a contract with Wiley Creek LLC (Axiom Group). At no time, despite rumors to the contrary, has any donor or land conservancy approached us to express interest or present any proposal for a park.

At Beech Brook, our mission is to help children and families thrive by promoting healthy child development, strengthening the ability to overcome adversity and enhancing family health and stability. Our campus was established in 1917 as an orphanage. Since then, Beech Brook transitioned from an orphanage to a residential treatment center. In 2016, we closed our residential units to fully focus on community-based programs. As a result, we no longer need, nor can we afford to maintain, a 68-acre campus. But we are obligated to ensure this valuable asset of Beech Brook’s continues to serve children; thus the decision to sell the land and use the proceeds to advance our mission.I’ve heard Beech Brook’s property described as “our last remaining green space” in Pepper Pike, but this is not community green space, nor will failure to rezone the property mean that it will become community green space. Whatever happens with the rezoning, Beech Brook will pursue a use that will generate revenue to support our mission. That could mean institutional uses as allowed under the current zoning, such as a school, church, community center, or other type of residential treatment or rehabilitation facility. And yes, these uses would also increase traffic in the area, something the city must address.

Finally, it is simply not true that Beech Brook won’t allow visitors on our campus. We have always welcomed members of the community. However, this is private property, used for the operation of our organization, and we must protect the safety and privacy of the families and children we serve. For that reason, we ask that people call for an appointment if they require a visit, Even our board members and most trusted associates must sign in with the receptionist upon arrival. All visitors are required to do the same.

Since 1852, Beech Brook has continually evolved to meet the needs of children and families. Today, we are focused on tackling the root causes of abuse, neglect and other forces which prevent children from reaching their full potential. We can best pursue that mission by moving from a campus we no longer need to a more central location with lower overall costs.

We can’t tell you how to vote in November, but we hope you understand why we are moving – to better serve more of Northeast Ohio’s most vulnerable children and families.

Thomas P. Royer

Beech Brook

President & CEO

Take heed on rezoning

Pepper Pike residents take heed on the proposed Beech Brook rezoning.

I urge you to not succumb to Congress’ “pass it to learn what is in it” governing mentality on this issue. Everyone has much at stake that will impact both their pocket book and their lifestyle.

Our city has been defending its fiscal soundness, values and character from being encroached by our surrounding communities’ developments, with Mayor Richard Bain championing our cause. But we are being presented a proposal within our community that effectively would be more altering to Pepper Pike than anything that has happened surrounding it. Piggy back rezoning should also be scrutinized.

We are a community of great talent that should come forth to review what is being proposed and if necessary offer modifications or alternative uses for the property.

Among the critical points to consider are: (1) The financial burden at any time and especially in these financially strained times and based on other Pepper Pike sustaining needs that us as taxpayers will have to carry to keep our city fiscally sound when this Beech Brook project calls for an $18 million infrastructure bill to be publicly funded, (2) Traffic on Chagrin Blvd and Lander Circle is always a challenge during hours when our and surrounding cities residents travel to and return from work, high density residence/retail/office development so close to the circle will be a formula for accidents for vehicles emerging from the development and surrounding residential streets leading to the circle – requiring most probably elimination of our highly defended and admired Lander Circle and replaced by long wait, five-way traffic lights, (3) Introduction of storm water runoff that will affect those downstream on Wiley Creek or tax our storm sewer system, (4) Will require a sanitary sewer system tie- in or plant at whose cost, (5) Removal of nature’s buffer for the school campus, and (6) The apartment units, will their value contribute real estate tax dollars to the school system proportionally as to the number of students that it might add.

It is time for Pepper Pike Mayor Bain and City Council to protect our city from something within its borders, tap the talent of its residents by delivering to them a very detailed package on the proposed Beech Brook property development for evaluation. It also requires our Mayor and City Council, to operate as a responsible government entity, to create an ongoing process and public forum where citizens can participate alongside the developers in addressing elements of the proposed Beech Brook development and alternatives. There should be no action by Pepper Pike Council on moving forward with a rezoning vote without first having that open informed deliberation.

R. Ray Saikus

Pepper Pike

Letter to readers

We are committed to bringing the latest news to you especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we are considered essential under Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent order to close nonessential businesses, we do depend on revenue from advertisers.

Should revenue drop significantly, we may be forced to suspend print editions and go to e-editions only now, found on our website, ChagrinValleyToday.com, until the crisis has past.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Times General Manager Amanda Petkiewicz at 440-247-5335 or via email, gm@chagrinvalleytimes.com.

Ignore anonymous letters

To the anonymous letter writers who call themselves “Concerned Citizens of the Orange School District.” All residents of the Orange School District are concerned citizens of their school district whether or not they have children attending the schools.

Satisfaction with our schools was evident in the re-election of the incumbent school board members last November. So, when we received an unsigned letter stating, “10 key facts”, most of which were raised last November, we wondered whom we could contact to question or dispute the allegations in the letter.

No one. “concerned citizens” who are unwilling to own up to their opinions by mailing unsigned letters deserve to be ignored.

 Ben & Ellen Richman

Orange Village

Clearing up misinformation

Over the past months, we’ve heard a lot of community chatter about the proposed rezoning of Beech Brook’s Lander Road campus. I’m writing to clear up some of the misinformation that is circulating.

First and foremost, this land will not remain vacant, nor will it become a park. During the 17 months the property was on the market, no one inquired about buying it to create a park or nature preserve.  Beech Brook engaged in a deliberative process to market the property and consider every proposal, resulting in a contract with Wiley Creek LLC (Axiom Group). At no time, despite rumors to the contrary, has any donor or land conservancy approached us to express interest or present any proposal for a park.

 At Beech Brook, our mission is to help children and families thrive by promoting healthy child development, strengthening the ability to overcome adversity and enhancing family health and stability.  Our campus was established in 1917 as an orphanage. Since then, Beech Brook transitioned from an orphanage to a residential treatment center. In 2016, we closed our residential units to fully focus on community-based programs. As a result, we no longer need, nor can we afford to maintain, a 68-acre campus. But we are obligated to ensure this valuable asset of Beech Brook’s continues to serve children; thus the decision to sell the land and use the proceeds to advance our mission.I’ve heard Beech Brook’s property described as “our last remaining green space” in Pepper Pike, but this is not community green space, nor will failure to rezone the property mean that it will become community green space. Whatever happens with the rezoning, Beech Brook will pursue a use that will generate revenue to support our mission. That could mean institutional uses as allowed under the current zoning, such as a school, church, community center, or other type of residential treatment or rehabilitation facility. And yes, these uses would also increase traffic in the area, something the city must address.

Finally, it is simply not true that Beech Brook won’t allow visitors on our campus. We have always welcomed members of the community. However, this is private property, used for the operation of our organization, and we must protect the safety and privacy of the families and children we serve. For that reason, we ask that people call for an appointment if they require a visit, Even our board members and most trusted associates must sign in with the receptionist upon arrival. All visitors are required to do the same.

Since 1852, Beech Brook has continually evolved to meet the needs of children and families. Today, we are focused on tackling the root causes of abuse, neglect and other forces which prevent children from reaching their full potential. We can best pursue that mission by moving from a campus we no longer need to a more central location with lower overall costs.

We can’t tell you how to vote in November, but we hope you understand why we are moving – to better serve more of Northeast Ohio’s most vulnerable children and families.

Thomas P. Royer

Beech Brook

President & CEO

Take heed on rezoning

Pepper Pike residents take heed on the proposed Beech Brook rezoning.

I urge you to not succumb to Congress’ “pass it to learn what is in it” governing mentality on this issue. Everyone has much at stake that will impact both their pocket book and their lifestyle.

Our city has been defending its fiscal soundness, values and character from being encroached by our surrounding communities’ developments, with Mayor Richard Bain championing our cause. But we are being presented a proposal within our community that effectively would be more altering to Pepper Pike than anything that has happened surrounding it. Piggy back rezoning should also be scrutinized.

We are a community of great talent that should come forth to review what is being proposed and if necessary offer modifications or alternative uses for the property.

Among the critical points to consider are: (1) The financial burden at any time and especially in these financially strained times and based on other Pepper Pike sustaining needs that us as taxpayers will have to carry to keep our city fiscally sound when this Beech Brook project calls for an $18 million infrastructure bill to be publicly funded, (2) Traffic on Chagrin Blvd and Lander Circle is always a challenge during hours when our and surrounding cities residents travel to and return from work, high density residence/retail/office development so close to the circle will be a formula for accidents for vehicles emerging from the development and surrounding residential streets leading to the circle – requiring most probably elimination of our highly defended and admired Lander Circle and replaced by  long wait, five-way traffic lights, (3) Introduction of storm water runoff that will affect those downstream on Wiley Creek or tax our storm sewer system, (4) Will require a sanitary sewer system tie- in or plant at whose cost, (5) Removal of nature’s buffer for the school campus, and (6) The apartment units, will their value contribute real estate tax dollars to the school system proportionally as to the number of students that it might add.      

It is time for Pepper Pike Mayor Bain and City Council to protect our city from something within its borders, tap the talent of its residents by delivering to them a very detailed package on the proposed Beech Brook property development for evaluation. It also requires our Mayor and City Council, to operate as a responsible government entity, to create an ongoing process and public forum where citizens can participate alongside the developers in addressing elements of the proposed Beech Brook development and alternatives. There should be no action by Pepper Pike Council on moving forward with a rezoning vote without first having that open informed deliberation.

R. Ray Saikus

Pepper Pike

Letter to readers

We are committed to bringing the latest news to you especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we are considered essential under Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s recent order to close nonessential businesses, we do depend on revenue from advertisers.

Should revenue drop significantly, we may be forced to suspend print editions and go to e-editions only now, found on our website, ChagrinValleyToday.com, until the crisis has past.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Times General Manager Amanda Petkiewicz at 440-247-5335 or via email, gm@chagrinvalleytimes.com.

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