wants public meeting on Bradley land
By Kevin Kelley
Published March 14, 2007
Dennis Clough and City Council plan to schedule a public meeting
for next month to discuss the fate
of the 42 acres of undeveloped land on Bradley Road owned
by the Westlake City Schools. The city wants to purchase the land
for recreational purposes.
Clough and Council President Michael Killeen have
been holding negotiations with Board of Education President Renee
D’Ettorre Wargo and Vice President Thomas Mays for several months.
However, the two sides have been unable to agree on a price.
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 previous 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.
The city had obtained two appraisals which valued
the property at $600,000 and $1.4 million. Now the city has spent
about $5,000 to hire a third, Roger Rittley, to analyze all previous
appraisals. Clough told West Life Rittley is still working on his
Clough said he and City Council members will invite
school board members and their appraiser who valued the land at
$3.97 million to attend the April public meeting.
“Whether they decide to come is up to them,” Clough
Robert Parry, Westlake’s director of planning and
economic development, spoke with the school board’s most recent
appraiser, Rick Linhart and Associates. However, Clough said the
conversation brought up more questions than answers.
“It’s really important now to have the appraiser come
before council to get answers as to how he came up with his value,”
Clough said, “because it’s so far out of line compared to the other
Clough said the city will not make any more offers
on the property until city officials have met with the school board’s
“We feel now it should be discussed in a public forum
because it’s public land,” the mayor said.
D’Ettorre Wargo told West Life she and her fellow
board members will need to discuss whether they will attend a joint
public meeting with City Council about the property. However, she
said she doubted any good would come of such a meeting.
“We don’t think we’re going to negotiate this publicly,”
D’Ettorre Wargo said. “We think it will create a lot of drama and
heightened emotion within the city.”
D’Ettorre Wargo said the school board wants to continue
private negotiations with Clough and Killeen. In a recent letter,
the school board asked the city if it was still interested in the
land and if they would be willing to pay $3.5 million, D’Ettorre
Wargo said. City leaders have not replied, the school board president
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.
In January, Bill Hornung, an active volunteer in the
community’s sports and recreation leagues for several years, submitted
petitions to City Council asking that the Bradley Road land be reserved
for recreational purposes. This opened the possibility that citizens
might lead a petition drive to place a rezoning measure before voters
to change the land’s zoning from residential to parks and recreational
zoning. City Council could also act on its own and put a rezoning
measure before voters, Killeen told West Life.