Green Council mulling plan for Diebold world headquarters
Also, public hearing set for June 26 on proposed charter changes
GREEN — Green Mayor Dick Norton is asking Council to approve legislation later this month that would set Diebold’s world headquarters as the centerpiece of the city’s developing Massillon Road corridor.
During the June 12 Council meeting, a public hearing was held concerning an ordinance to change the zoning classification of approximately 250 acres of land located on the east side of Massillon Road, west side of Interstate 77, and north and south sides of Wise Road, from its current uses (Single Family, Professional Office, Neighborhood Business and General Industrial) to Planned Development. The ordinance, if approved, also would accept the general development plan for the Union Square and Park Place developments.
Representatives of Diebold Corp.; DeHoff Development, an extension of DeHoff Realty; and D.B. Hartt, a Cleveland-based consultant firm — all of whom collaborated on the development plan — were present at the public hearing to discuss the legislation with Council.
Earlier this year, Diebold announced it will locate its world headquarters on 55 acres in the proposed Union Square Development.
The 172-acre Union Square Development also is the site of the Akron General Health and Wellness Center, which is near completion. Union Square and Park Place, to consist of 96 acres, would include space for businesses and retail tenants, as well as 13 acres of residential living space, according to city officials.
Jim Merrell, a marketing director at Diebold, said Union Square is the ideal location for the world headquarters campus.
“A corporate park setting was wanted, and we needed a transportation hub and a community that represents the values we do. Green had all those attributes,” he said.
Merrell said Diebold is investing $100 million in the project, creating local construction jobs.
Once complete, he said the company’s headquarters would have a $400 million impact on the local economy.
David Hartt, president of D.B. Hartt, said the development plan is even more “restrictive” than the city requires in a Planned Development area.
He explained Diebold and the rest of the developments would offer attractive structures and landscaping and generous open space.
The city is getting a “well-thought-out plan and detailed description of what to expect. The results will be a high-quality development area for all,” Hartt said.
Norton said he is pleased the city could retain a Fortune 1,000 company in Diebold and believes the project is a great use of the land.
Councilman Chris Humphrey (at large) called the plan “impressive.”
“I think this will elevate the central part of our community, bringing jobs and people to the center of our city,” he said. “I am looking forward to this development.”
If the plan is approved by Council later this month, as it was earlier this month by the Planning and Zoning Commission, Beth Borda, of DeHoff, said ground would break on the Diebold headquarters by next summer.
Also during the regular meeting, Council approved the rezoning of 11.56 acres of land on the south side of Boettler Road from Single-Family Residential to Planned Development and the general development plan for Green Pointe, a proposed assisted-living facility to be located next to Green High School and across the street from the FedEx Custom Critical facility.
According to the project developer, John Warmus, Green is in need of another type of senior housing.
He has said the facility would have an “upscale residential look” and include a central dining area, social area, worship chapel, café and coffee bar, small pub, old-fashioned ice cream parlor, movie theater and other amenities seniors could enjoy with family and friends.
Several city residents expressed concern with the project and requested the present zoning remain to preserve home values and the present look of Boettler Road.
Councilman Ken Knodel (Ward 3) said he addressed the concerns of his constituents.
“We can’t transform it [Boettler] into what it was 20 or 30 years ago. Those days are over,” he said.
Knodel believes seniors deserve more living options in Green, and the project addresses that need.
In other business, Council heard the first readings of six proposed charter amendments that may be placed on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot. The changes would include permitting the mayor to serve three consecutive four-year terms. Currently, the charter only allows the mayor to serve two four-year terms. The proposed charter changes also would require the mayor to devote his “entire time and effort” during regular business hours to “properly conduct the business of the city.”
Council President Joel Reed (at large) said all of the recommended changes would be discussed further at a public hearing set for June 26 at 7:05 p.m. in Council Chambers of the Central Administration Building (CAB), 1755 Town Park Blvd.
Council additionally discussed an accident involving a dump truck at 8 that morning on Turkeyfoot Lake Road. Service Director Randall Monteith reported the bed of the truck went up without the driver’s knowledge, taking down multiple power lines, telephone poles and the mast arm of the city’s traffic signal at the intersection of Turkeyfoot Lake Road and Fortuna Drive. He said service was lost briefly to Time Warner, AT&T and Ohio Edison customers and a temporary traffic signal was put up at Turkeyfoot and Fortuna until a new mast arm could be erected in several months.
In addition, Council:
• approved a real estate agreement in the amount of $175,000 with Harold Harsh for property located near the CAB, at 1795 Steese Road. Planning Director Wayne Wiethe said the 1960 ranch on the site would be torn down so the property could be used in the future by the city;
• approved a resolution supporting Summit County’s creation of the Land Reutilization Corporation and application for the Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program to help fund the demolition of abandoned, vacant and blighted residential properties in the county;
• agreed to waive a public hearing on a liquor application for a new permit for Joseph Cernava, doing business as Joseph’s at 3875 Massillon Road;
• heard an update from City Engineer Paul Pickett concerning ongoing sewer and road work in the city. He said Council will be asked later this month to approve a bid for a storm water project in the Solar Estates subdivision that would begin in August and be completed by the end of September. Pickett also said bids will be collected in July and a contract awarded in August for a storm water project along Spade Road. In addition, he reported construction continues on the northbound lane of Massillon Road, and a top coat is being put down on Arlington Road during the evenings this month;
• learned of a stand-off situation that occurred in the city earlier that day but ended without incident;
• heard from Norton that the city’s recent credit rating increased from an AA rating to a AA-plus rating. He said the change was due, in part, to the city’s preservation of its cash reserves, continued economic growth, stable operations and moderate amount of debt;
• heard an educational presentation on fracking by Summit County Councilwoman Sandra Kurt (D-at large). She said her goal was to provide Council with basic information on the growing industry, as well as the benefits and risks that accompany the practice. While several members of Council expressed satisfaction with the information Kurt provided, Humphrey said he found the presentation slanted against fracking and requested Council invite someone in favor of the practice to present his or her views so they could become better educated on the issue.
Kurt said she is not against fracking but believes Ohio should not rush into the industry and should wait until all of the risks and advantages are properly identified; and
• held a 20-minute executive session, following the committee meetings held prior to the regular meeting, to discuss a real estate item.
Council’s next meeting is set for June 26 beginning at 5 p.m. for committee meetings and continuing at 7 p.m. for the Council meeting in Council Chambers at the CAB.
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