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Citizen initiative to appear on ballot in Green

4/25/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

GREEN — Green City Council gave the OK for an initiative to appear on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot since the signatures required for it were verified by the Summit County Board of Elections.

If approved by voters, the initiative would abolish municipal utility districts in the city and permit strategic partnerships between utility districts.

The initiative was started by Massillon Road resident Joel Helms, who said he collected the number of signatures needed for the issue to go before Green voters.

During the Intergovernment and Utilities Committee meeting held just prior to the regular meeting April 23, Council discussed the matter with city Law Director Stephen Pruneski.

He said 1,034 signatures needed to be collected to place the issue on the ballot, and the Board of Elections verified 1,281 signatures.

“We are obligated when there is enough signatures on a petition to move it forward,” said Councilman Joel Reed (at large). “This body has to put it on the ballot.”

Regardless, Council members Chris Humphrey (at large) and John Summerville (Ward 4) voted against placing the matter on the ballot.

Humphrey referenced a possibility that some of the signatures collected may have been done so fraudulently.

Pruneski said he talked to residents who reportedly were asked to sign the petition under false pretenses.

Even if the issue is approved by voters in November, Reed said the city would be challenging the matter in court, as it may go against state law.

Pruneski reported he would be speaking with a judge soon about the matter, as Helms wanted the issue to appear before voters in a special election in June. The law director said a June election would cost the city a significant amount of money and the matter legally can wait until the November election to be decided upon.

Reed said the city will educate the public on its position on the matter before the November election.

Another one of Helms’ initiatives will not appear on the November ballot, however.

During the meeting, Council voted down a resolution that would have authorized the submission of a proposed charter amendment to voters to create a new section of the city charter authorizing the expenditure of up to $10 million for infrastructure improvements to the CAK International Business Park Phase III and IV, requiring the installation of storm water, road, water, industrial pretreatment and sanitary sewer, grading and landscaping and further designating the source of funds for the payment of infrastructure.

Council President Dave France (Ward 2) said the Board of Elections was not able to verify the required number of signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot. Helms turned in 1,008 signatures, but 1,364 were needed, France explained.

The initiative would have required the city to borrow $10 million for the third phase of the business park, he said. According to France, the city is going to be able to complete the project for less than $6 million, however, with a portion of funding coming from the state.

Also on April 23, Councilman Gerard Neugebauer (at large) provided a summary of the April 17 meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) during the Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, also held prior to the regular meeting.

Neugebauer discussed a proposed project, known as the Reserve at Green Luxury Apartments. He said the PZC approved the site plan for a 32-unit apartment community on the north side of Moore Road, west of Arlington Ridge Marketplace. The apartments would be built on 3.73 acres of land on Moore Road, he explained. The proposal includes two apartment buildings, one with 14 units and the other with 18 units, Neugebauer said. Each building would have eight garages and eight parking spaces behind the garages, he said. According to Neugebauer, residents of the apartments would enter the site by a single driveway on Moore Road. He added sidewalks would be provided along the apartments on Moore Road.

In addition, Neugebauer announced the PZC approved the preliminary plan for The Sanctuary at Stoney Creek, a proposed 17-lot subdivision at the west end of Stoney Pointe Drive. The site includes 9.75 acres of primarily wooded land, he said. Neugebauer explained the subdivision would provide 35 percent open space. The first phase of the project would include 13 lots with central sewer and water, he said.

Also during the committee meetings and regular meeting, Council:

  • announced that AquaOhio would not begin charging the new rates approved by Council earlier this month until May 9;
  • held a public hearing on legislation that would change the zoning classification of property containing approximately 2.48 acres of land at 1860 and 1870 Graybill Road from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to B-1 (General Business) for the purpose of adding parking space behind the Altman Retail Center on Massillon Road;
  • held an executive session to discuss a possible sale of city property;
  • introduced new legislation authorizing the funds to enable Mayor Dick Norton to grant salary adjustments to city of Green nonbargaining employees;
  • awarded a contract to Tucson Inc. for the Steese Road Educational Wetlands Project.
  • authorized the city to sell obsolete property, 0.2 acre located at 4810 Massillon Road, to Scott Plummer for $5,700;
  • heard the second reading of an ordinance amending the General Development Plan of the existing planned development district for a low-density residential complex, known as Campo D’Amore, on South Arlington Road south of East Nimisila Road;
  • appointed Roberta Ravagnani back on the Audit Committee until 2016;
  • awarded a $898,301 contract to Northstar Asphalt for the South Arlington Road resurfacing project, which will take place from Nimisila Road to the city’s south corporate limits;
  • heard the second reading of an ordinance awarding a $924,550 contract to Superior Paving & Materials for the Greensburg Road resurfacing project from Steese Road to the end of Greensburg Road; and
  • heard from Mayor Dick Norton on current projects taking place in the city.

The next Council meeting is set for May 14 at 5 p.m. with committee meetings and at 7 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers at the Central Administration Building, 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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