may decide Bradley land fate
By Kevin Kelley
Published June 13, 2007
Council took the first step Thursday to place the fate of 42 acres
of undeveloped land owned by the Westlake City Schools before the
city voters this November.
An ordinance asking voters to decide “for advisory
purposes only” whether the property, which the city has long sought
for recreational use, should in fact be rezoned for that purpose
was placed on first reading at the June 7 council meeting.
Three readings are required before a vote is taken
on a bill unless those rules are suspended.
Law Director John Wheeler explained that the ordinance
has to be passed before the second week of August so that the question
can be placed on the ballot by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
On April 17, Wheeler told council’s planning, zoning
and legislative committee that the city could hold an advisory election
on whether to rezone the land for exclusively recreational purposes.
The land is currently zoned for residential use.
The City Charter only calls for a public vote on rezoning
matters when the land in question will be changed to include multifamily
housing, a shopping center, or an increase in population density,
Wheeler said. Because none of these factors apply in the case of
the Bradley Road property, a popular vote would only be advisory,
the law director explained.
The city still has to create a zoning classification
that would only permit recreational uses, Wheeler added.
City Council, which has the authority to rezone the
Bradley Road property, would prepare a rezoning ordinance and pass
it if the advisory vote of the citizens tells them to, Council President
Michael Killeen has said.
Westlake School Board President Renee D’Ettorre Wargo
has said such efforts to rezone the district’s property for exclusively
recreational purposes were an obvious attempt to pressure the school
board into a sale to the city.
Several months of negotiations between the city and
school board have failed to reach an agreement. At a May 15 council
committee-of-the-whole meeting, members voted 6 to 1 to renew an
offer of $1.9 million for the district’s land. However, that offer
expires on June 15. The school board’s most recent asking price
was $3.59 million.
On Monday, D’Ettorre Wargo told West Life that she
stands by that asking price.
The school board has been busy interviewing candidates
for the superintendent position and has not had the time to discuss
the city’s renewed offer before this week, D’Ettorre Wargo told
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