rejects city's Bradley Road land offer, again
By Kevin Kelley
Published June 27, 2007
Westlake Board of Education has again rejected the city’s offer
of $1.9 million for 42 acres of undeveloped land on Bradley Road.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Dennis Clough and City
Council President Michael Killeen, school board President Renee
D’Ettorre Wargo reiterated the opinion that the property is worth
more than the city is offering.
“Whether this land is developed for fields/parks or
for residential housing, this land has a value in excess of the
current offer,” the letter stated.
“It continues to be our hope that the city purchases
the land,” the letter continued. “However, based upon the language
of your last letter, it does not appear that this scenario will
occur. Should the city wish to negotiate additional terms and dollars,
we will certainly welcome such a response.”
In a May 18 letter to school board members, Clough
and Killeen repeated an earlier offer of $1.9 million for the property,
which the city has long wanted to utilize for recreational purposes.
However, the city leaders said that the offer would become void
June 15. After that date, they said the city would pursue other
One possible course of action the city has already
begun to work on is asking voters for their opinion on the fate
of the land in an “advisory vote” this November.
An ordinance asking voters to decide whether the property
should in fact be rezoned for recreational use was placed on second
reading at Thursday’s council meeting. 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, Killeen has said.
A companion ordinance amending the city’s zoning code
to create a new zoning category for public recreation was placed
on first reading Thursday and referred to the city’s planning commission.
D’Ettorre Wargo has criticized such rezoning efforts
as an obvious attempt to pressure the school board into a sale to
In the May 18 letter, Killeen said that council concluded
that an appraisal of $3.79 million the school board obtained “simply
lacks credibility and does not merit consideration.” The school
board had used that appraisal as the basis of its asking price of
$3.59 million. Based on a report by area appraiser Roger Ritley,
city leaders concluded its offer of $1.9 million was at the high
end of the fair value range. In May, Ritley told council members
the land was likely worth $1.1 million.
Board member Thomas Mays, who has been handling negotiations
with the city along with D’Ettorre Wargo, told West Life he did
not see anticipate any progress being made on a sale of the land.
When asked if politics was a factor in the impasse,
Mays said, “I’d like to be naďve and say it’s only the money, but
I’m not sure that’s accurate.”
He said the school board’s decision to contract the
services of the law firm of Ulmer and Berne LLP to represent the
district in all future negotiations with the city was an attempt
to remove the personalities from the issue.
Board member Joe O’Malley had called on the city to
buy the land for as much as $5 million during his unsuccessful 2005
bid to defeat Clough.
Mays also refuted the claim of city leaders that wetlands
on the property would make commercial development difficult and
more costly, as Ritley told council.