Letter to the Editor: Bay's Issue 13 rushed to ballot
To the editor,
I have no doubt many Bay Village voters are wondering what Issue 13 is all about and why there has been little or no information circulated by the City to educate voters. They have told us that the issue will allow for growth and strengthen our retail and commercial areas and the way to accomplish this is to allow attached residences to be permitted in these districts. But as with all issues, there is another side of the story.
In my opinion, after years of mounting pressure from developers to open more of Bay Village up to condominiums, Issue 13 is a knee jerk reaction by the Mayor and some on City Council to a developer’s proposal to build expensive condominiums overlooking Cahoon Creek at the site of the old Shell gas station on Wolf Road. My guess is, judging from the presence of a “For Sale” sign at the location and the speed at which Council acted, the developer has a time sensitive “option” on the property.
The issue was rushed to the ballot in little more than three weeks. The charter-mandated review by Planning Commission, which can take 60 days, lasted part of one meeting. I was the only person, other than the Commission, in attendance during the discussion.
In the end, the Chairman felt there wasn’t a lot of time for the Commission to look at the issue. The fact is they had more time (60 days). The question is: Why didn’t they use it? The mandatory public hearing in front of Council was attended by only six people.
There were no surveys or impact studies of any kind performed on Issue 13. The Shell station area was a focus of the 1999 Master Plan. Admittedly the Master Plan may be somewhat out of date but of the options studied for this location, condominiums were not recommended by the Master Plan Committee.
The City is also under some pressure to finally pass Riparian legislation which has been proposed for some time but has not been acted on. This legislation deals with storm water management and would establish setbacks from our creeks within which there would be no construction allowed. This legislation is scheduled to be passed by the end of this year.
Clearly, for anyone wishing to build by one of the creeks, it would be in their best interest to have their development plans established in the review process before Riparian legislation is enacted.
Voters must remember that all Attached Residence District (Chapter 1158) requirements would become part of the Retail and Commercial districts with only two changes. The required acreage for development would be drastically reduced from 5 acres to 1, and the density, or number of units per acre that could be built, would be increased from 6 to 8.
A fair question is: Who really benefits from these two changes? As a member of the Planning Commission said at the end of their discussion of the issue, “This is fixing a specific problem for a specific developer and that’s not what our ordinances are supposed to be for...” It can’t be said any better.
For me the choice is clear and it is my hope the voters of Bay Village will join me in voting “NO” on Issue 13.