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Richfield Council approves moratorium on use variances

9/26/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Jeff Gorman

Richfield Village Council passed an ordinance Sept. 17 placing a three-month moratorium on use variances.

“Some of the things a use variance will allow are essential, and we wouldn’t have considered this a year ago,” said Council President Rick Hudak, “but there may be a better vehicle for accomplishing the same thing.”

That would be a separate ordinance the Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) is considering that would eliminate use variances, according to the language of the moratorium. The language of the ordinance cites concerns that use variances have the potential to result in “spot zoning.”

“We are looking seriously with [Planning and Zoning Director] Brian Frantz into what in the long run would be in the best interest of the community,” Waszak said.

In other news:

  • Mayor Bobbie Beshara said the village needs to choose a company for the gas aggregation program. She said she will invite three companies to Council’s Oct. 1 work session, which will have an early start time of 6 p.m.
    Beshara also said the completed Carter Pedigo trail “looks really nice” and complemented Cavanaugh Building Corp. on their work.
    In addition, Beshara called for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The mayor noted that village flags were at half mast for that reason.
  • Fire Chief Jason Mihalek said his department assisted with a barn fire on Stony Hill Road in Granger Township.
    “It was nice to work with firefighters in Medina County,” he said.
  • Recreation Director Ruth Jocek thanked everyone for a successful Fall Fest at Eastwood Preserve Sept. 14.
    “We had wonderful attendance and the bees really performed,” she said. “Where else can you see a baby bee being born? It was amazing, and then the nurse bees showed up to take care of them.” [For more information on the event, see “Fall welcomed early in Richfield” in the Sept. 19, 2013, edition or visit our archives at www.akron.com.]
    Jocek also invited residents to a flashlight walk on the Carter Pedigo trail Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.
    “You might get a scare or two,” she teased.
  • Service Director Melanie Baker talked about the timeline for the Briarwood sewer project. She said drawings could be completed by the end of October, and she was waiting for Issue 2 grant funding.
    “The earliest we could go out for bid would be March 2014,” she said.
    Construction would last approximately one year after beginning between May and July 2014, Baker said.
  • Councilman Ralph Waszak said the PZC met Sept. 10 and discussed a proposed four-home subdivision in the area of the old Pine Golf Course on Broadview Road. The commission gave the property owner directions on how to proceed, Waszak said.
  • Council’s Finance Committee also met Sept. 10, Hudak reported. The committee discussed the five-year capital budget and a dispatch contract with the Valley Fire District, which Council approved at the Sept. 17 meeting.
    Hudak said the committee also decided the Mayor’s Court should continue in 2014. The next Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 3 at 6 p.m.
  • Council Vice President Andy Ellis said Eastwood Preserve’s milk house and small barn are starting to fall apart.
    “We need to get those buildings taken care of,” he said.
  • Council also approved funding for a school resource officer, in collaboration with Bath Township and the Revere Local School District, to increase school safety.
  • Council announced it would hold a public hearing Nov. 5 at 7:45 p.m. The topic will be a proposed ordinance that would allow the PZC to permit signs to be less than the required distance from the road under certain circumstances.
  • Beshara announced the Insurance Committee will meet Oct. 1 at 10:30 a.m. in the meeting room adjacent to her office.

The next Village Council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall, 4410 W. Streetsboro Road.

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