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Council sending Boston/Peninsula JEDD to BOE

7/18/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

County also looking at restricting panhandling activity

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council passed on first reading at the July 15 meeting a resolution to send a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) agreement between Boston Township and Peninsula Village to the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE). The question is expected to appear before Boston Township voters in the Nov. 5 General Election, according to the legislation.

Most of Boston Township would be included in the proposed JEDD, according to Jason Dodson, chief of staff for the County Executive’s office.

Dodson noted Council’s action is “ministerial,” as its obligation is to acknowledge the receipt of required documents and ultimately send the item to the BOE for voters to decide.

County Council does not have jurisdiction to approve or disprove the JEDD agreement itself, according to Dodson.

The JEDD, if approved, would include most of Boston, Dodson said. However, the southeast corner of the township already is in a JEDD with Cuyahoga Falls and other residential areas would be excluded, he noted.

If voters approve the JEDD, a 1 percent income tax already in place in the village would apply to those who work in the township as well, he said.

Businesses affected by implementation of the JEDD include the offices of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), Boston Mills Ski Resort, Summit County Engineer’s Office maintenance yard and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, according to Boston Township officials.

Among other legislation introduced at the meeting, Council began looking again at placing restrictions on panhandling.

The new legislation would address panhandling activity in Summit County townships. Though several municipalities in the county have enacted ordinances regulating panhandling, Ohio Revised Code does not give townships the authority to enact similar laws, according to the legislation.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit, in townships in the county, panhandling within 25 feet of any intersecting streets or crosswalks; entrances or exits of commercial establishments, including shopping plazas, churches, schools and libraries; bus stops; banks or ATM machines; restaurants with outdoor seating; and entrances or exits of “automobile service stations.”

Also considered unlawful would be panhandling while using public transportation.

According to the proposed legislation, penalties for first-offense violations would be a minor misdemeanor with fines of not more than $100 for each offense.

Last June, Council considered similar legislation to regulate panhandling in townships.

According to county officials, last year’s proposed legislation would have required panhandlers to wear reflective safety vests and only panhandle from 9 a.m. to sunset, but neither of those items are included in the legislation now being considered by Council.

Also removed from the new proposal are requirements that panhandlers register with the county’s Office of Consumer Affairs, pay a $10 fee and be issued identification badges.

Also at the meeting, Council approved resolutions, on first reading, designating August 2013 in two ways.

The month was declared Child Support Awareness Month in Summit County, as well as Summit Kids Month.

Jill Hinig Skapin, director of communications for the Summit County Executive’s Office, said this will be the first Summit Kids Month. Events will focus the first week on kindergarten readiness, health and wellness the second week, Summit for Kids during the third week and on infant mortality the fourth week. For a list of events planned, visit www.summitcountyfirstthingsfirst.com.

Also on first reading, Council appropriated a total of $220,000 in federal Workforce Investment Act funds for the Youth Employment for Success program through the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services. 

Also during the meeting, Council heard from Dick Walters, a promoter for gun shows at the Summit County Fairgrounds, in response to complaints made at a previous Council meeting.

Gun shows taking place at the fairgrounds comply with state and federal laws, he said.

Dodson also noted the lease that governs the fairgrounds property is through 2017, with gun shows listed as a permitted use.

Council also heard from Delia Avenue resident Charles Walker. Walker, who is blind, said he has been renting the home where he currently lives since 2007. The home is being foreclosed on, he said, has been sold to Fannie Mae, and he received a notice that he has 90 days to vacate, he said.

Walker asked Council to consider drafting legislation to protect renters, like him, “who play by the rules.”

Council President Jerry Feeman (D-District 6) thanked Walker for bringing the issue to the attention of Council and asked Walker to stay after the meeting to talk further. Feeman also noted Council can contact its local delegation of state government for help.

Council members Ilene Shapiro (D-at large) and Tim Crawford (D-District 7) also noted they have been in contact with other constituents in similar situations.

County Council will meet for committee meetings July 22 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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