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Peninsula Council continues discussion of Player’s Barn

3/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Also, village proceeding with closure of Mayor’s Court

Peninsula Village Council continues to wrangle with the question of what to do with the village-owned Player’s Barn.

Councilman Charles Moyer, Council liaison to the Planning Commission, told Council at the March 11 meeting the Planning Commission was returning to Council the issue of a licensing agreement with a community group who wants to rehabilitate the building. Moyer said the Planning Commission would like further instruction from Council about how to proceed. The licensing agreement was to be discussed at the past two commission meetings, but Moyer said representatives of the community group were not present or were unable to provide input on the agreement.

A community group headed by Councilwoman Mary Booth has offered to lease or license the building from the village and raise money through grants to rehabilitate it. Booth has said the renovated building could be leased by the group for office suites.

Councilman Dan Schneider said he was not in favor of a lease or licensing agreement for the barn.

Mayor Doug Mayer said he could not see how licensing or leasing the building to an outside group would ultimately benefit the village. The village would not see a revenue stream from the facility unless it retained the ability to lease a portion of the building itself.

Village Solicitor Irv Sugerman explained that the value of any improvements to the building would be retained by the Player’s Barn Committee in the event the building were sold.

According to Mayer, the Player’s Barn was donated to the village about 25 years ago. It has been used as a sound recording studio and was home to an antiques store until it became uninhabitable. The building is unsafe for use by humans because of an asbestos issue, according to Village Engineer Charles Uray.

Ultimately, Council sent the issue back to the Planning Commission with direction to evaluate the merits of a licensing agreement and make a recommendation to Council.

Mayer addressed two other hot-button issues in his report to Council. He said he is proceeding with the closure of the village’s Mayor’s Court. Court Clerk Nancy Orahoske is seeking direction from the state on how to close out the remaining open cases. She has been offered a job by the Stow Municipal Court that will hear Peninsula court cases after closure of the Mayor’s Court.

Sugerman told Council he did not advise hiring part-time Police Officer Dave Allaman as the village police chief. Allaman was one of the finalists recommended by the Council committee that included Council President Doug Anderson and Schneider. Sugerman said his opinion was echoed by the Ohio Ethics Commission, which recommended against hiring a police chief whose wife is an officer in the same department. Allaman’s wife, Priscilla, is a part-time police officer for the village. The ethics commission opinion said the hiring would not be prohibited, but certain duties, such as discipline of an officer, cannot be delegated, making the hire inadvisable, Sugerman said.

Mayer said he planned to advertise for candidates for a full-time chief position and hoped to have some recommendations for the next Council meeting. Procedure calls for Mayer to make a recommendation for the position and Council to approve his recommendation.

Boston Township trustees attended the meeting to ask Council to consider partnering with the township to collect taxes in an Economic Activity District (EAD). Council appointed a committee to work through the details of such an alliance.

The EAD would allow the township and the village to collect payroll taxes from businesses that operate in the township, including Boston Mills Ski Resort, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the Summit County Engineer’s road maintenance facility, a Boy Scout camp and Cuyahoga Valley National Park offices.

Trustees have estimated $4.8 million in payroll exists within the EAD, with a potential collection of $45,000 to $90,000 in payroll tax to be divided between the village and the township. Trustees said the payroll taxes now likely are collected by the communities in which the employees live. Enactment of the EAD would simply redirect the payroll tax to the local communities, the said.

Any agreement would have to be approved by voters in each community, trustees said. Trustees said they would like to have the issue placed on a November ballot.

Council’s next regular meeting will take place April 8 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Village Hall, at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.

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