want recreation land
By Kevin Kelley
Published Jan. 10, 2007
Hall and the Westlake City Schools have been haggling for several
months over 42 acres of undeveloped land the district owns on Bradley
Road. Now a group of citizens is hoping to weigh in on the property’s
fate through a petition drive.
Bill Hornung, an active volunteer in the community’s
sports and recreation leagues for several years, submitted a petition
with 157 signatures to City Council Thursday.
He promised several hundred more signatures would
“We, the undersigned, voters of Westlake, Ohio, would
like that the 42 acres on Bradley Road to be utilized for recreational
purposes,” the petition states.
Hornung wants City Council to begin a process by which
Westlake voters can zone the Bradley Road property for residential
“My intention is that this land, currently publicly
owned, stay for the enjoyment of its citizens now and forever,”
Hornung wrote in a letter accompanying his petitions.
The city has contemplated purchasing or leasing the
Bradley Road property for years to utilize for sports and recreational
Council President Michael Killeen referred the petitions
to council’s Planning, Zoning and Legislation Committee, which will
soon schedule a meeting on the issue, he said.
In August, the school board rejected the city’s offer
of $1.9 million for the land, saying it believed they could get
more money for the property even though a district-sanctioned appraisal
set the value at $1.7 million. The board obtained a second appraisal
last month which set the value at $3.97 million.
Killeen said Thursday the school board recently made
an offer based on the second appraisal. While the city didn’t outright
reject the offer, it didn’t agree to it either, Killeen told West
Life. The two parties have agreed to continue negotiations over
The district has also explored putting the land up
for auction. It is widely anticipated a private developer would
build single-family houses on the property. The land is currently
zoned for residential use.
Killeen said the city had some questions about the
district’s second appraisal.
“I still think that the city’s offer (of $1.9 million)
is at the generous end of fair,” Killeen said.
Killeen and Mayor Dennis Clough seemed to welcome
the petition drive. In recent years, groups opposed to Clough’s
administration have successfully utilized petition drives to place
proposed Charter Amendments before Westlake voters.
“We may have part of the solution in bringing it to
the voters of Westlake as your petitions indicate,” Clough said.
Killeen said a number of technical issues would have
to be worked out before any measure could be placed before voters
that would change the land’s zoning.
Bob Parry, the city’s director of planning and economic
development, told West Life the city does not now have a zoning
category only for recreational use.
“We allow public uses in just about every (zoning)
district,” Parry said. “But there are some communities that have
a public use (zoning) district for public properties.”
Council could create a public / recreational zoning
category by ordinance and rezone a particular area, Parry said.
Both the creation of a new zoning category and any rezoning would
have to be referred to the city’s Planning Commission for approval.
However, council could override a rejection by the Planning Commission
with a 5/7 majority vote, Parry added.
Council could also act on its own and put a rezoning
measure before voters, Killeen said.