Mayor DeGraw

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The Goodale Green Space Ballot Initiative

Published August 20, 2018 by justicewg

UPDATE: the BOE has tied in voting on the Green Space initiative. This will require the Ohio Secretary of State to cast the deciding vote at some time in the future. Keep up with the latest news on the initiative at the group’s website. (also read how BOE member Sinnott refused to to recuse himself, even though his law firm represented the property owner in question.)

UPDATE 2:  Secretary Husted broke the Board of Elections’ tie vote in favor of putting the Proposed Ordinance on the November 2018 ballot, read the post on the Join Grandview website.

https://joingrandview.com/

Mayor Ray DeGraw posted a letter on the city blog last week in which he announced the city would be opposing a voter initiative to change the Green Space rules on Goodale Ave, west of Grandview Ave. He says the petition to change the city ordinance was not following the rules allowing the planning commission to give their opinion, so the city will oppose the initiative in a Board of Election hearing on August 24th.

I contacted Jody Oster, a Grandview resident who is part of the group which created the petition to change the Green Space rules on Goodale. She provided me with a long list of reasons the group had come together to make this initiative, as well as the petition that was signed by almost 400 Grandview residents.

The following is a very brief TL:DR of the positions held by the city and the group behind the voter initiative change to Goodale Green space (not sure if they have a formal name). For the purposes of this post I will call them the Green Space Group, (GSG). I can’t say all of the following is accurate, because the facts are in dispute (and I might make some mistakes too – it is complex). After the short version, I will post the full reply by Jody Oster.

The short version of the Goodale Green Space dispute

In 1989, the city created a 100-foot Green Space Overlay District along Goodale Boulevard, stretching from Broadview Avenue to Wyandotte Road. One resident was opposed and sued, to settle the lawsuit the city bought his property.

According to the GSG, the city and the board of zoning have created a feeling of unwanted change to the city by approving too many large buildings that don’t fit the character of the surrounding buildings. This has caused an opinion among many that a voter initiative is needed to preserve the character on Goodale.

A property owner on Elmwood made two previous attempts to do a lot split and build a new house adjacent to the Green Space, but was denied after residents objected. A third attempt in April 2017 was approved after the owner threatened to sue the city. The GSG didn’t feel the Zoning Board allowed enough notice of this approval. The board also approved a building for the site that the GSG doesn’t think fits into the character of the neighborhood.

As a result of feeling that the city and the board are not willing to listen to resident complaints, the GSG was formed, which has created a citizen initiative to increase the size of the Green Space on Goodale. The required number of signatures were obtained, and the petition was sent to the city, which forwarded it to the BOE. However, the city feels that the actions to change the Green Space are not in line with the city charter or the proper procedures for going through the planning commission. The city will be opposing the initiative in a BOE hearing Friday, August 24, 2018 at 11AM at the Morse Road location.

If approved by the BOE, the Green Space change issue will appear on the November ballot. The GSG is confident this will happen.

The full reply from Jody Oster

This is the GSG position on the Goodale Green Space. I linked to a Pdf of the petition that was signed by enough residents to get on the ballot, the link is at the bottom. Following this, a short opinion from me.

(edit) The TVN has a story on the Green Space issue now.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Mayor responds to complaints from The Lorax

Published March 25, 2016 by justicewg
Lorax on Flickr

CC Broken Simulacra on Flickr

Mayor DeGraw posted a second message on the Grandview city blog about the removal of trees from the Northwest Boulevard and First intersection. The first message, posted a week before, attempted to explain the reason the city has been working to re-do the trafic pattern for that area, and why the trees must be removed. This week’s post reported that a couple of additional trees would be cut down due to safety concerns.

 

Ribbons didn’t save the trees

I gave a short report on the kerfuffle over the trees in a post last August. A protest lead by (at the time former, now current) city council member Steve Reynolds complained about the cutting of trees for this project, even placing blue ribbons around the trees (which the city removed the next day). The protest didn’t save the trees, but they did point out that there was not enough meetings being held to take comments from the community, and the additional meetings produced a modified plan that saved some of the trees.

A long planning process

The first blog post by the Mayor was a comprehensive accounting of the entire process that lead to the tree cutting on NW Blvd., please read that post for all the good info on the history of the planning that has been done around the Grandview Yard project. Worth your time!

Also, read the Character Framework for Community Investment,(Pdf) a 2013 planning document that was produced by an outside consultant. Five focus group meetings were held that looked at the direction the city could move in the years ahead, knowing the G.Y. would dominate the planning process. It is a good doc that covers some basic info on traffic flow and potential upgrades to the city.

The cars must flow

The biggest reason that the city is remodeling the NW Blvd intersections is to improve traffic flow into and out of the Yard. I think there will be bumper to bumper traffic jams when the 3000 employees at the Nationwide campus (plus other businesses inside G.Y.) are all driving to work in the morning and going home in the evening. The entrances on Third and Goodale are supposed to handle the majority of the flow, but that will be primarily traffic from 315 and areas to the east. I expect that will be how most employees enter at first, but they will quickly find houses to live in the near area. The new employees living inside Grandview and U.A. will be trying to enter from the west side of the Yard, and NW Blvd is the major route. Some will use First Ave too, there was talk about modifications to the intersection at First and Oxley to prevent this, but I don’t know where that is in the current plans.

Back in the dark ages before 315 was upgraded into a freeway, NW Blvd was the standard route for anyone living in the U.A and further north to get to downtown. It was choked with traffic, even after they banned all parking during rush hours and turned it into a four lane throughway. I can see it returning to that state if the traffic into G. Y. gets bad, which will be difficult for the residents who depend on those parking spots. This temporary loss of parking on NW Blvd is a sign of things to come.

Walkable – to what?

A part of the planning process for the Yard was figuring out how to connect it to the rest of the city. We have the Arena District downtown as a stark warning of how development can be localized, leading to choking businesses outside the new development area. There was much talk about how the Arena would bring up all of downtown, but it turned out to be the vampire that sucked the life out of the City Center mall.

The intersection of NW Blvd and First is also being remodeled so that it can be an extension of the walkways already completed that lead into the center of the Yard. Hopefully there will be some people that will walk from the Yard to the strip of businesses on First across from the park. I can’t imagine anyone walking further up the hill to the Grandview Ave shopping area – Americans just don’t like to walk that far.

Here is a possible scenario for the future, one that I have not heard mentioned and is not in any planning document.

The school board has been making lots of warning signals that they want to build new schools. A panel to review the school physical facilities has been created, an outside firm is working on recommendations, which I’m sure will somehow align closely with the already stated wants of the board, which has paid the consultant generously.

Stevenson school will no doubt be pointed out as a “decrepit building” that needs replaced. Nothing wrong with it right now, but I’m sure a 90 year old building can be declared shockingly outdated and hindering the education of our children, if the board is in the mood to get on the gravy train and build schools. Closing Stevenson and building a massive new building that included other grades can be an expected path for the school board.

Wouldn’t it be just an amazing coincidence if the board wanted to close Stevenson and build an elementary building somewhere else, and then the old Stevenson building became the perfect place to extend the retail shopping area on First? “The Shops in Stevenson” has a catchy name.

Mayor to hold “Community Conversations” meetings

Mayor DeGraw has announced meetings at the shelter house at Wyman Woods on April 12 at 6:00 p.m. and again Wednesday, April 13th at 8:30 a.m, so he can answer questions from the community about current and planned city projects, and discuss community issues.

DeGraw talks about a new pool

Published September 25, 2014 by justicewg

degrawlogoMayor DeGraw has put up another good post on the Grandview Heights blog. Once again, I’m impressed by the way the city works to communicate with the people of this city. Conversely, I’m ashamed of the poor skills of the board and school superintendent. It has been more than two months and Culp has done nothing more than put up an introduction post on the school website. If he follows O’Reilly, that will be the full extent of his website communication for a year.

Since this is what bloggers do, I’ll give the tl;dr version of DeGraw’s post.

Trick or Treat night will be moved from October 31 to October 30 this year.

Ohio Public Works Commission funding application for the work on First Avenue and Northwest Boulevard has been done. Trees were saved. (again, I’m impressed by the way the city responded to complaints and had a number of meetings. The school board would never do this.)

The dedication of the Wyman Woods shelter house and a park opening will be held October 25 after the Pumpkin Run. (here is where we are seeing the tax money from the Yard in use).

A crane with a large weight will begin compressing the soil that is being brought in to fill a portion of the 40 acres of land at the northeast corner of Grandview Ave. and Route 33. Loud pounding will be heard, for however long that takes.

The Yard – the new parking garage by Goodale is nearing completion and the Hofbrauhaus is scheduled to open October 21.

With the additional bed tax coming into the city from the second hotel going into the Grandview Yard, the Parks Board has been asked to look at improving the pool. Over the next few months they will be looking at upgrading or replacing the pool and facilities around the pool.

End of summary.

This is the start of the party – with new tax money coming in from the Yard, the city now has the funds to do projects that have been on hold for years. The stories about the decrepit old equipment that has been patched and re-patched at the pool have been discussed for years. The people who are sick of the patching are talking about a complete removal of the old pool and building it all new. The people who like the old style architecture of the building (what little exists) are asking the city to do historic preservation.

Projects like this – and others that are not so much upgrades as they are complete additions to the city infrastructure – will be hot topics for the next few years. Expect the return of the “We need a huge new city building and Fire house!”, and “let’s build a recreation complex with pool and tracks and gyms and stuff!”. The people who point out that no city the size of Grandview has these kind of facilities will be pushed aside by the “we have money, let’s spend it!” crowd.

(Nov.) That didn’t take long, the city is again talking about constructing a new firehouse and municipal building. No doubt, the city building is old and needs replaced, the question is what will be built, new facilities that match the needs, or oversized, expensive buildings that are more about keeping up with U.A.?