No to Beech Brook rezoning

A public hearing will be held at Pepper Pike City Hall, 28000 Shaker Blvd., on Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. We encourage residents of Pepper Pike and Orange to be there and for once, say no to over-development.

We are deeply concerned about Pepper Pike’s plan to allow a developer to purchase the 65-acre scenic and serene green space that is no longer used by Beech Brook at 3737 Lander Road (in Pepper Pike, on the border of Orange Village). The plan is to rezone this acreage from institutional to an overlay district, allowing the developer to build yet another mixed-use commercial/residential district. This would include a road to be constructed from Chagrin Boulevard, across Wiley Creek, to Lander Road.

Some mistakenly believe this property will become a residential community, but mixed-use zoning will allow for the construction of retail stores and offices. City officials are referring to this development as a “town center.” These trendy buzz words have no actual meaning. It’s not in the center of Pepper Pike; in fact, the property sits on the border of Orange Village. In spite of what’s being said, it won’t be any different than any other nearby retail center. According to minutes from the planning and zoning meeting on Feb. 4, the developer is talking about four to six units per acre (not one house per acre) and four story buildings.

In the small area of Chagrin Boulevard, we already have Village Square, Eton, Landerwood and Pinecrest. Do we really need another shopping/office district? Do we really want more traffic on Chagrin Boulevard and Lander Road? Is building a road over Wiley Creek, next to the Orange School campus, really a good idea?

City officials see this development as a revenue stream but are not considering the value of green space and trees and how that adds value to a community and enhances the lives of those who live, work and play there.

Let’s demand green space and stop this plan before it goes too far.

Manny and Judi Naft

Pepper Pike

Criticism of Fowler unfair

John G. Augustine’s letter to the editor last week criticizing Ohio School Board member Sarah Fowler in her bid for a State House seat was grossly unfair. I don’t know Ms. Fowler, but I do know you can’t judge someone’s suitability for state representative based on whether or not they believe humans and dinosaurs coexisted. Suitability for teaching paleontology or anthropology, sure. But holding a government position does not require a degree in the hard sciences, and being unconvinced or unknowledgeable about the relative ages of humans and dinosaurs is not like belonging to the Flat Earth Society.

It appears from Mr. Augustine’s letter that, suspecting Ms. Fowler is a “creationist,” he asked her one question hoping to draw that out and, when she revealed her unconventional view, assumed that she’s too wacky for public office. His closing taunt ridiculing her by suggesting that she does believe the earth is flat and is supported on the backs of turtles is an embarrassingly baseless and childish jab.

Mr. Augustine implies that Sarah Fowler is not a “critical thinker” nor “scientifically literate and knowledgeable about earth systems and our state’s problems.” How did he deduce all that from her answer to one question? She’s been a member of the Ohio State Board of Education since 2013 so probably knows more than a little bit about state issues and challenges. And having been home schooled, is likely an experienced critical thinker, a skill which is often dulled and discouraged in public schools.

Then he suggests that she’s only “good at following the orders of the majority leader.” Does he have evidence of this? Has he researched her performance and voting record on the state board?

I suspect that the “rumors” of her support by “the creationist community” were enough to cause Mr. Augustine great consternation at the prospect of someone who may not toe the evolutionist line serving as a state representative. Twice he references ancient earth and human history as “settled science,” but Darwinian evolution is also considered “settled science” by the general population, even though with every passing year it becomes more difficult for many scientists themselves to affirm. The scientific community prides itself on its ability to adapt to new discoveries, so very little of what passes as scientific “fact” today is actually settled.

I don’t know if Sarah Fowler would make a good state representative. But if it’s “critical thinkers” we need, someone who is willing and able to follow the evidence wherever it leads because she is not limited by a worldview that a priori excludes the supernatural, and refuses to succumb to societal pressure to conform to the prevailing conventional wisdom, seems to me a critical thinker indeed.

Caroline Smith

South Russell

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