Bay Voters' Guide: Issue 6, Proposed Zoning Amendment

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Absentee Voting Begins: Oct. 1
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Election Day: Nov. 5
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Bay Village Issue 6: Proposed Zoning Amendment
“Shall Ordinance No. 13-56 amending the Zoning Map of the City of Bay Village to change the classification of Permanent Parcel Numbers 203-09-017, 203-09-018, 203-09-019, 203-09-020, and 203-09-021 located on Cahoon Road containing approximately 2.349 acres from its present zoning classification of Third Residence District to Attached Residence District, be approved?” A majority affirmative vote throughout the City and in Ward 2 is necessary for passage.

The PRO position that follows was prepared by City Council President Paul Koomar. The CON position was prepared by Richard Majewski, who is a member of the Planning Commission. Both were informed that their statements would be printed in their own words and that each would be solely responsible for the content of their statements. The League of Women Voters - Cuyahoga Area, Bay Village Chapter neither endorses nor opposes either view.

In August 2013, City Council passed legislation to submit to the voters the re-zoning of 5 parcels of property located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Cahoon and Wolf Roads. Measuring 2.349 acres, these parcels lie adjacent to Cahoon creek and are currently zoned for detached single-family homes.

On the Nov. 5 ballot, residents will vote on the rezoning of this property to allow for the development of attached residences (townhouses). By City Charter, rezoning only becomes effective if approved by a majority of the votes cast city-wide as well as a majority of the votes cast in the particular ward where the property is located – in this case Ward 2. 

In the City’s last Master Plan completed in 1999, the property was identified as an appropriate location for the construction of attached residences. The current property owners support the re-zoning. The property could be developed separately or in conjunction with the development of attached residences on the east side of Cahoon creek (the former Shell gas station property). The rezoning of the east side properties for attached residences was approved by the voters in 2010.

In response to inquiries from the public, Council passed a resolution confirming that if the zoning is approved and the property is developed as attached residences, Council would not be in favor of granting tax abatement in connection with the development.

Approval of the rezoning by the voters could result in: (1) development of currently vacant property, (2) additions to the City’s tax base, (3) alternative housing option (townhouses) for City residents within walking distance of the City’s retail hub.

The issue Bay Village voters will see on the ballot asks to rezone parcels of land on Cahoon Road. The real issue is HOW the rezoning found its way to the ballot.
Chapter 115 of our Administrative Code sets forth the process that zoning ordinances are subject to before adoption. That process, much of which is to occur before the Planning Commission, was not followed.

Section 7.4 of our Charter requires “Mandatory Referral” to and formal action by the Planning Commission before zoning ordinances can be adopted. The ordinance in question never appeared on the Commission’s agenda and, to my knowledge, was never seen by the Commission’s members. Planning Commission certainly took no formal action.

The voters of Bay Village have a reasonable expectation and trust that ballot issues placed before them have been properly reviewed under the procedures set forth in our Code and our Charter.

In my opinion, in Council’s haste to rush this issue to the ballot, Council adopted the ordinance at “Special” meetings during summer recess, ignoring the required process and procedures and violating the public’s trust.
As a voter, Planning Commission member and public servant, I cannot, in good conscience, support this issue.

This Voters’ Guide was assembled by members of the League of Women Voters - Cuyahoga Area, Bay Village Chapter, who selected the questions and placed word limits on the responses. Truncated responses are denoted by the [...] symbol. Candidates’ responses are printed verbatim, up to the word limit. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. The League of Women Voters does not endorse any candidates for any offices. We neither endorse nor reject any views quoted in this Voters’ Guide. Published as a service to the voters of Bay Village by the League of Women Voters - Cuyahoga Area, Bay Village Chapter in partnership with Westlake | Bay Village Observer. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political membership organization. We encourage informed and active participation in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influence public policy through education and advocacy.

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 5:17 PM, 09.30.2013