Tuesday, October 11, 2016


UPDATE:  6:37 AM


Miriam Baughman <m.baughman ... >  Oct 11 at 11:17 PM

To:  Martin Olson

Hi Martin,

I read your blog this afternoon and thank you again for your concise and correct comments.
I want to explain why we are against a Commercial CRA.

North Ridge Apartments received a residential CRA at 100% for 12 years.     This was because in the North Canton Zoning under residential, apartments are a permitted use. 

In the revised CRA that was recently put forward and then defeated, a sneaky thing was noted.     All residential CRAs were deleted, and only commercial CRAs were permitted.       And apartments for CRA  purposes were now going to be determined commercial, instead of residential.
So------what started the big "bru ha ha"   was still going to be present in the commercial CRA.   APARTMENT BUILDINGS!

According to ORC, if a commercial CRA is 50% or less, schools have no say.     So in the  CRA that was proposed, apartment buildings could get a CRA since they would now be deemed commercial.      That means a complex like North Ridge could have a 50% abatement and the schools would lose close to $500,000 over the 12 years. 

Ir is no secret that Dehoff and Lemmon are going to build apartment buildngs on the Waterside property on South Main street.  as soon as their 10 year grant committment to the State ends in 2 years.    This property is in the Main Street CRA district.

The  Waterside property is quite large and could hold multiple 20 unit apartment buildings.    If apartments can get a 50% CRA  the schools stand to lose millions, not thousands.

Apartment buildings do not give the city any economic benefits, as there are very few employees and most if not all tenants work out of town.     Apartment buildings drain city services such as roads, EMS and police.    Probably there would also be kids attending schools.

I would be supportive of a commercial CRA for businesses that would bring the city income tax and other business benefits.      But very much against a commercial CRA that includes apartment buildings.






Before the SCPR began covering North Canton government, were the days of Mayor Tom Rice and turmoil galore in the city's governance.

Current mayor David Held was fired as North Canton city administrator in 2004 by the-then controversial Rice.

In 2005, Held ran against Rice (both Republicans in a Republican dominated city council city) and defeated him resoundingly, to wit:

In a case of "the more things change, the more they remain the same,"  early on as mayor, Held faced a test on North Canton's economic development methodology and its effect on North Canton's public school system, to wit: (LINK to full "extracted" article)

So it appears that North Canton has not solved its community reinvestment area policy, practice and implementation (which was initiated under the administration of then-mayor Daryl Revoldt in 1999, [North Canton schools part of the process]) over the 10 years of Held's leadership.

But that may be about to change.

Of course, who else? former North Canton councilman Chuck Osborne is at the forefront of citizen action to force a resolution of the failure of North Canton government (Held, his administration and a succession of city council members) to deal effectively with the competing needs for the city to grow its financial resource base while protecting—arguably—(a la Mike Hanke) any community's "most important attraction for relocating from other communities:  citizens and businesses.

Last night's meeting might signal that concrete changes are in process to achieve what North Canton government has not been able to produce for over 10 years.

First on the list of the graphic at the head of this blog is the need to kill off all traces of abatement in North Canton.

There are skeptics and cynics that 66-2016 will not become a reality and that the ordinance being on last night's agenda for a first reading (of three readings) before a vote is a mere "head-fake" and will somehow get side tracked.

A large part of the skepticism and cynicism is owing to the horribly deficient communication between North Canton's citizen activists and Law Director Tim Fox (since September, 2012).

As recently as last night, Osborne lambasted Fox and his handling of CRA related legislation.

If Mayor Held and council are to succeed in convincing North Canton's citizens that North Canton government is not hostile to them and is reaching out to collaborate with them, city leaders much somehow reassure the citizens that they will not allow Fox (seemingly the "tail" which controls "the entire body" of North Canton government) to "screw up" the work done by Held and North Canton city council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters (Ward 2), Ward 1 councilman Doug Foltz, Councilmen-at-Large Mark Cerreta and Dan Griffith in reaching out to North Canton to them (them being the citizens).

Citizens interacting with North Canton government distrust of and antagonism towards Fox could not be higher.

Second on the above-list is an authentic vetting of the process in which North Ridge Place developers Robert DeHoff/William Lemmon secured a potentially upwards of $1 million tax abatement over 12 years most of which would be absorbed by the North Canton City Schools.

On October 7th, new North Canton economic development director/housing officer Gary Fry filed a complaint with North Canton's Housing Council to seek a clarification of the whether or not the North Ridge Place abatement was/is in compliance with North Canton law, to wit:

And here is what Fry had to say last night:

A third item that North Canton must some day resolve is an "Ohio law compliant" hearing process for those seeking conditional use permits.

This issue is part and parcel of a seemingly unalterable negative view that a number of North Canton citizens have towards Law Director Fox.

Some of them think that he, in projecting that the hearing scheme as a matter of Ohio law requires a swearing-in, of any who have testimonial input with North Canton's Zoning Commission, is an example of his delighting in placing an unnecessary burden on citizen participation in local government and validating evidence of Fox's underlying hostility to the likes of Citizen Osborne and his fellow North Canton citizen activists.

See/Listen to some of Fox from last night's meeting:

Lastly, the list includes getting North Canton's CRA scope and process correctly nuanced (the concept advanced by Councilman-at-large Dan Griffith).

See/Listen to Griffith.

Some of the citizen activists want the CRA scrapped altogether.

The SCPR disagrees with those citizens and thinks that Griffith has the "best for North Canton" notion.

But whatever emerges should be a consequence of a meaningful dialogue between the mayor and his administrators, council and any North Canton citizen who wishes to part of a constructive government/citizen collaborative process.

One more matter.

The Report compliments North Canton Council president Dan "Jeff" Peters for handling the interactions between North Canton government and the city's involved citizenry in a much more receptive and civil fashion than he has in the past.

The SCPR does see growth in his leadership style from the days he was lashing out at certain citizens in the social media.  The hope is that he keeps on maturing in his leadership modality.

Right now, it appears to the SCPR that only Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling and Ward 3 councilwoman Stephanie Werren have made very little, if any, progress in their basic negative attitudes towards ordinary folks interacting with North Canton government.

Over time Mayor Held, Peters, Foltz, Cerreta, Griffith and, perhaps, even the pronouncedly laid back Dominic Fonte (Ward 4) are on a path to set a tone of North Canton government positive receptivity to everyday citizen input.

Kiesling, Werren and Fox will either get on board on find themselves by their own hand ostracized from a process that promises a new day of citizen/government mutual respect and concomitant working together for a better North Canton.

Kiesling and Werren are subject one day to losing their jobs in an election if they persist in indulging an us versus them mentality vis a vis citizens.

The choice is theirs.

Fox is another case in that he is an appointed official and therefore can only be schooled in respecting and finding a way to lawfully accommodate citizen interaction with his office and the rest of North Canton government.

It seems, though, he is incapable of being gracious.

So the question becomes for those to whom he is accountable (four members of North Canton City Council is this:

Does the quality of his work as the city's lawyer outweigh the seeds of distrust, disharmony, distance and disregard that he seemingly plants in his relationship with any who make demands of North Canton government?

If it is the former rather than the latter and a majority of council does not move to ameliorate the latter, then there will be a limit on any effort to build a constructive relationship between the governors and the governed.

Here is a recent exchange between him and Osborne which clearly demonstrates anew that he gets ridiculous in the handling of requests for public records (note:  the requested record was already out in the public domain) and one would presume is an attitude he carries over into other law director/citizen contacts.

From: Justine Avery [mailto:javery@northcantonohio.gov] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2016 10:37 AM

To: Chuck Osborne

Subject: Public Record Request McKinley Development Company

Dear Mr. Osborne,

In response to your request to the Clerk of Council for a copy of a letter sent to City Council by the McKinley Development Company, the clerk was unable to immediately satisfy your request because she had not been provided with a copy of the record you sought.  State ex rel. Fant v. Mengel, 62 Ohio St.3d 197, (1991) (The Public Records Act, Ohio Revised Code (“R.C.”) 149.43, does not require that a public office create documents to meet a requester’s demand).  

As a courtesy to you, however, a copy was obtained outside of the clerk’s office and is attached hereto.

Timothy L. Fox

Note:  The SCPR takes the "as a courtesy to you" as being a case of being a smart aleck and unbecoming of a public official.

Otherwise, the improvements noted in this blog are owing to the core of citizens who for nearly four years now have made it crystal clear to the mayor and all of council that North Canton is going to be a government of, by and for the people.

The SCPR at this time cannot with a sense of certainty name factors in North Canton government who have gotten that message and have internally led an effort to have council and the administration approach if not get to a "come let of reason together" model of citizen/government interaction.

But it is clear that those personages have emerged.

And such is an example of government officials "doing the right thing!"

A further showing of good faith and a changing relationship, council and the mayor should join together as clients of the law director to direct him (waiving the attorney/client privilege which is owned by the clients; not the attorneys) to release a copy of the work of Brickner and Ecker on the matter of North Canton CRA as certainly exists as clearly indicated by this invoice submitted by the Columbus based law firm.

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