Village has supported Spillway efforts

Darren Wyville’s letter to the editor last week is factually incorrect, and his allegation that I said, “Make certain that [their] plan never came to life” is wrong. I never said this. 

In the spring of 2016, Spillway LLC had a sale pending of the property to Fairmount Properties with plans to build a brew pub on retained land. What I did tell them then was that they cannot have a standalone brew pub, as it no longer met the zoning requirements. The current zoning code requires a minimum of 3 acres for the mixed use overlay zoning to apply. In addition, it requires three distinct business uses on the property. Once they sold off the property in the proposed sale, their retained land area would fall to less than the 3-acre minimum. They would also fail to have three separate business uses for the property, therefore they would lose the ability to construct a brew pub as it no longer met the overlay zoning requirements.

The Village has tried to accommodate their development in many ways. Prime examples of the support provided by the Village during the period 2009 to date in 2019 include the following:

The Village and Western Reserve Land Conservancy obtained $400,000 of Clean Ohio funds to purchase 10 acres of undevelopable land from Spillway. That is $400,000 for land that was essentially worthless to them.

The Village obtained an EPA grant of $400,000 to lower the dam and remove that liability from their property.

The Village entered into development and Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) agreements to facilitate development of the property. The TIF was potentially worth $1,285,000. These agreements expired due to lack of development by the property owners.

On top of this, the Village granted all the variances necessary for their proposed redevelopment.

Post 2016, the Village met with and was working with Fairmount Properties and an additional developer that was interested in acquiring the property. Both proposed sales failed to close through no fault or lack of action by the Village.

To try and characterize the Village as being an obstacle to their development plans is incorrect and not supported by the facts. The confusion raised by the proposed zoning changes a few weeks ago arose mostly in the translation of the proposed code into a visual map. There was no taking of anyone’s property proposed ever. If adopted, the proposed changes will not affect Spillway’s ability to use the property as it is currently zoned.

I would like nothing more than to see this property put to productive use and will continue to see that the Village is supportive of appropriate redevelopment. However, the Village is not going to throw out the zoning code, a code dedicated to protecting the wellbeing of Village residents and future property owners. The Spillway property has significant issues regarding hillside stability and river bank stabilization that must be addressed prior to any type of development.

Mayor William A. Tomko

Chagrin Falls

Recyle to save lives, the environment

I have enjoyed your informative series on recycling, but would like your readers to know they can recycle medical supplies and equipment at MedWish International, a Cleveland-based nonprofit organization that saves lives and the environment by repurposing discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid in developing countries. In the past 10 years, MedWish has recovered nearly 5 million pounds of medical supplies, putting those supplies in the hands of people in need worldwide, instead of in landfills.

Examples of needed supplies include but are not limited to crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, ACE bandages, alcohol, antibiotic ointment, Band-Aids, dental instruments, diapers (infant and adult), Vaseline, gauze, gloves (sterile and non-sterile), lancets, orthopedic splints and slings, personal hygiene supplies, steri-strips and diabetic supplies. No medications or expired supplies are accepted.

Supplies can be taken to MedWish headquarters at 1625 E. 31st St. in Cleveland. The Orange Senior Center at 32205 Chagrin Blvd. in Pepper Pike is also a collection point for supplies for MedWish. Senior Center hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about MedWish, including a complete list of needed supplies, go to www.medwish.org

Manny Naft

Pepper Pike

Support Newbury territory transfer

My family has lived in Newbury, in the same home, since 1984, so I would consider us longtime residents of Newbury. We raised our son, Robert, here, and he also attended Newbury Local Schools and is a 2001 graduate. I could spend my time giving you statistics and numbers, but I’m sure by now you know them all. Instead, I would like to give you my opinion and feelings on Newbury Township and the territory transfer between Newbury and West Geauga and why my family members are in favor of it happening.

West Geauga has an outstanding curriculum with so many more courses to offer our children. Who would not want this for their child? West Geauga’s report card is an “A.” No other school close by can compare to that ranking, not even Berkshire. At the start of all the talks I preferred Berkshire myself until the more I learned, and it became crystal clear who was the superior school between them both. I’m hopeful that the aging community of Newbury like myself remembers the importance of education and giving the most children possible as many opportunities that we as taxpayers can afford. People of Newbury, that is what West Geauga Local Schools can offer our children and offer all of the children of Newbury.

People keep bringing up that Newbury will lose its identity without a school here in Newbury Township, which I don’t understand or agree with. What I have seen over the years as a very active member of Newbury Community Church, as well as working for Newbury Local Schools for almost 10 years, is that Newbury Township has not really had an “identity” since the late 1980s and before. We are a small township right in the middle of Geauga County. A school not being here is not going to change this. A real community is its people. People have to change.

My parents wanted more for me than what they had, and my husband Roger and I wanted more for Robert than we had. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Newbury Schools for our son. I had more opportunities at my school in the mid ‘60’s to mid ‘70’s than our son had in Newbury in the ‘90s. It’s too late for our son, but it’s not too late for the rest of the children of Newbury. I am asking you, the citizens of Newbury Township, to help us give the children of Newbury this great opportunity to join an awesome school district. If someone asks you to sign a referendum, please say no thank you. If this consolidation is stopped again for the third time, we may have too few children to receive any state funding. What opportunities will our children have then? Reality is a hard pill to swallow. Now is the time to step forward for the future of all of Newbury.

Bobbi Prinkey

Newbury

Strange happenings in Geauga

Recently a man in Chardon, near a coffee shop on the square, was seemingly observed trying to speak to what he may have thought was a 6-foot rabbit named Harvey. However, the man was calling him Bunky or Blinky or something like that.

The content of the conversation was difficult to precisely fathom, but he seemed to say something like, “What do you mean you don’t think it is a good idea to hand out a bag filled with baloney, especially in a non-reusable bag?”

Then the man simply waddled away just like a pigeon, trying to harmonize with himself while humming a Beatles tune, “The Fool On the Hill.”

Strange things are afoot these days in our beloved Geauga County. Very strange things indeed.

James R. MacNeal

Burton

Hold public discussions on Modroo

The Geauga Park District states, “The Mission of the Geauga Park District is to preserve, conserve and protect the natural features of Geauga County and to provide the opportunity for people to appreciate those resources.”

After reviewing the plan for the Modroo Farm Preserve last week, I was taken aback by the release of a plan that did not involve any input by the neighborhood that will be affected by the plan.

Historically, when Donna Weiss Carson shared her plan for an entrance at a RTPB meeting, I contacted Joe Leslie with my concerns. I shared that a plan mirroring Uplands Park’s entrance and parking be the ideal goal. When I foresaw the shortcuts that are now inherent in the current Modroo Farm Preserve, I aired my thoughts to The Times.

The Chagrin Valley has numerous parks not far from the Modroo Farm Preserve. These parks have a positive or negative impact on the landscape and on neighbors. For example, Frohring Meadows is fraught with legitimate concerns by neighbors desiring to “preserve” and “protect” their landscapes. Why are plans put forth without regard to all the factors involved in generating a sensitive and complete plan?

I find the newly released Modroo Farm Preserve plan to be insensitive to the neighborhood. The project should be put on hold if lack of funding dictated the current plan. A meeting with Russell Trustees, the Geauga Park Board and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, with required notifications to neighbors, is needed for discussion now.

Let’s not allow this plan to be far underway as in Frohring Meadows before funds are spent, tempers are flared and property values drop. Instead, let’s do this right in order to protect the aesthetics of the new park, preserve our neighborhood and conserve a scenic Geauga road.

Deborah Gyllstrom

Chardon Township

Pay attention to sewage issues

There have been numerous articles in the local newspapers regarding the EPA-mandated sewer project involving Henning, Howard, Helmut and Olmar drives and portions of Thwing Road. This began when Chardon Township Road Department repaired a culvert pipe on the south end of Henning and discovered a mysterious pipe impacted with sewage. They contacted the EPA, which tested it and other locations and discovered high levels of E. coli, mandating the entire area be converted to a centralized waste treatment plant. All homes must tie into sewer lines, with a treatment plant constructed, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars assessed onto the homeowners.

We would like to explain another side of the story that will eventually impact all Geauga County residents not currently connected into a centralized sewage system/plant. We currently have a NORWECO Singular Model 900 Individual Home Wastewater Treatment System with Bio-Kinetic System septic system on our property. In 1994, we purchased this with a price tag of $10,000, upgrading and improving our property, since it was one of the original homes built in 1957, with the leach bed septic system that exists throughout Geauga County. We have religiously maintained our system with MACK Industries in Valley View with a price tag of $297 annually. This company visits biannually, does a complete check of the system to make sure it is running correctly and files a report with the Geauga County Department of Health.

To date, we have about $21,000 invested in this system, which is the same system the county is mandating to be installed in any new constructions or replacement systems. Now, because of an issue and “specific findings in certain areas” throughout this neighborhood, which we believe resulted in out-of-date septic systems, the entire neighborhood must comply with the EPA and local county offices. This neighborhood consists of 114 homes, of which about one third of the homes already replaced their septic systems with new, state of the art systems, mandated by Geauga County Health Department. The compliant systems should not be involved with an issue that does not affect them. This entire process is a “guilty by association” tactic – unfair and unjust.

It was our choice to live in the township, and not in a city with centralized sewage systems. We are now being forced to comply with this decision made by government offices/officials. At the suggestion of the Chardon Board of Trustees, we were encouraged to personally write letters to our three elected government officials that represent our voice. We personally wrote to Congressman David Joyce once (no reply received); Senator John Eklund twice (no reply received, did organize a town meeting with no follow up); former Representative Sarah LaTourette twice (no reply received); and County Commissioner Timothy Lennon. To date, we only heard back from Gerald Morgan, county administrator.

It is just a matter of time before a similar situation happens where you live. It’s obvious Geauga County elected representatives aren’t representing their constituents. Remember this when casting your vote!

Terry and Debra Calabrese

Chardon Township

Giving context to quote

Mike Carlton’s recent letter to the editor titled “Is this quiet cowardice” quoted only a portion of President Trump’s tweets about the four congresswomen. I don’t know where you get your news from, but that was a misleading and partial quote. The correct quote was, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”

Lenny Beck

Pepper Pike

Let Farm Bureau work for you

Why join your county Farm Bureau?

Farm Bureau is a membership organization run by the members, for the members. We have over 60,000 farmer members. That’s a great deal of clout when there is strength in numbers. We need to fight the new proposed Food and Drug Administration rule that would require producers to label all pure honey and pure maple syrup with the statement “sugar added.” We all know that there is NO sugar added to the real stuff. Who comes up with this stuff? They should be fired. If sugar is added, feel free to add the statement, but it shouldn’t be labeling products that in fact do not add sugar.

I am a small first generation farmer and businessman in Geauga County. I have bee hives on my farm along with 900 taps for maple syrup. I am a member of the Farm Bureau, and was a previous board member (I am currently term limited). This letter is written on my behalf, not the Farm Bureau.

I encourage people to join the local Farm Bureau, from our local Amish, to individuals and businesses, to maple producers and bee keepers. Some people join, but sadly the majority doesn’t want to spend the annual $75 dues because they don’t feel that the Farm Bureau can do anything for them. They are wrong. I joined to make sure the Farm Bureau was representing everybody, even down to small farmers like me, not just large farms. I have come to the conclusion that, “Yes, they are representing the small farms,” but in order to represent our needs, we have to keep growing to make our voices heard.

It is a small price to pay to have someone with lobbying power to represent you in matters like this and others that could be thrown at us at any time.

You don’t have time to lobby, so join. With this proposed rule, you will lose sales if you’re a producer. People will read labels, and when they pass your product up because it says “sugar added,” they will find something else on the shelf because you are no longer in the premium category.

I encourage you to join and to use the voice that Farm Bureau gives you to get a seat at the table to help us weigh in on this rule. We all work hard at producing premium products. Let the Farm Bureau work for you, and if you don’t, you don’t have the right to complain.

Craig Sirna

Auburn Township

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