Bay councilmen host meeting
An attentive crowd of more than 100 Bay Village residents endured heat, humidity and an intense summer storm Aug. 26 to hear their city council representatives share the latest updates about their neighborhoods. Ward 1 Councilman Dave Tadych and Ward 4 Councilman Tom Henderson spoke at the Community House for nearly two hours about myriad topics including development, taxes, recreation and those pesky deer.
While they each presented their own ward updates, both councilmen commented together on the issues that affect both of their wards, or the city as a whole.
One hot-button topic brought up by Councilman Tadych was the attached residence district legislation, or “Chapter 1158” of the city’s code. Currently Bay has attached residences in Cashelmara and Bay Commons. They are a permitted use in retail and commercial zones, although none have been built in these zones. Any other development within the city would require 5 acres and a zoning change.
Tadych chaired council's Planning, Zoning, Public Buildings and Grounds Committee when revisions to the chapter were studied in 2008. No action was taken at that time and the matter is being discussed again in the same committee, now chaired by Ward 3 Council Representative Karen Lieske.
Tadych urged those in attendance to follow the conversation when it resumes after council’s summer recess. “Residents must let us know what they think of these somewhat loosened [proposed] requirements and if they believe their neighborhoods – or for that matter, Bay Village itself – might be adversely affected,” Tadych said. “It’s your city, and certainly your very neighborhood, that may be changed.”
Councilman Henderson, addressing the topic later from a free-market standpoint, felt that attached residences may appeal to older and younger generations alike who don’t want the burden of upkeep that comes with home ownership. “We’re really walking a fine line on some of these issues with regard to the government versus the private sector,” Henderson said. “We need to make sure we protect our community, but we also don’t want to create so much red tape that people can’t do what’s right for the community.”
On a lighter note, Tadych said that council is considering a proposal to install drop microphones in council chambers and the conference room to amplify speakers’ voices and aid in transcription. The Bay Village League of Women Voters has offered financial assistance.
He reminded the audience that fall leaf collection begins Oct. 24 and leaves should be raked to the tree lawn, not into the street. He also encouraged residents to take advantage of a program in which the city, for a fee, will plant trees in their tree lawns or in memory of a loved one. “I believe trees make Bay what it is and for our future we need to maintain, protect and grow,” Tadych said.
Councilman Henderson spent the bulk of his time at the podium discussing city finances. Henderson holds an MBA in finance and made it a priority after being elected in November to pore over the numbers and get up to speed on municipal financing. Both he and Councilman Tadych serve on council’s Finance and Claims Committee.
Henderson was optimistic about what he found, notably a slight rise in income tax revenue over this time last year, something he attributed to residents’ wages going up.
“Overall I would say that the city is in a stable financial position,” Henderson said. “The budget is tight but workable and I’m encouraged by the upswing in our income tax revenue because … that means that the people of Bay Village are finding well-paying jobs.”
Henderson admitted that the number-crunching had a sobering effect on his enthusiasm for a city recreation center, something he discussed with residents along the campaign trail. He found that rec centers are often not “operationally profitable,” and no longer feels Bay should go it alone in constructing a new facility. Henderson stated his current opinion is to revisit the conversation in 2022 after the pool bond has been paid off, and to consider partnering with Avon Lake.
Two other topics that residents in Ward 4, and citywide, have voiced concern over are the Bradley Bay expansion and deer culling. Henderson said that he spoke with John O’Neill, whose family owns the nursing and assisted living facility on Bradley Road, and was told that construction on the memory unit will begin this year, with completion expected within 12 months.
Henderson and Tadych attended the recent Avon Lake City Council meeting during which an ordinance was passed allowing residents with permits to use a bow and arrow from a tree stand to kill deer on their property. Bay council’s Walker Road Park Ad Hoc Committee, comprised of Henderson, Tadych and Councilman-at-large Dwight Clark, will soon meet with Avon Lake representatives to determine if culling should be permitted at the jointly owned Walker Road Park.
“I acknowledge all of the issues … with regard to deer population,” said Henderson. “However I want to be sure that if we do this, we do it in a very safe way. I want to make sure that we incorporate expert opinion from our safety forces … [and] that we have the right people around the table to make sure we do this safely and correctly.”
The floor was then opened to audience questions, which ranged from the new biking ordinance to the potential of townhouse development to crosswalks.
The biggest applause of the evening came in response to a resident’s question about landscaping trucks parked on Lake and Wolf roads, impeding the flow of traffic. Councilman Tadych empathized, but explained that landscaping companies have been given permission from the city to park on the streets as long as they have cones out.