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TWINSBURG – Residents will not have a chance to weigh in on council’s approval of a site plan for ‘Project Gumbo’ during polls on November 8, and therefore council’s approval is final, according to Chief Legal Officer Matt Vazzana.

However, Vazzana said, the city’s legal department is still considering legal options after a resident filed an administrative appeal regarding the council’s action.

In Resolution 57-2022 at its June 14 meeting, Council approved Scannell Properties’ site plan to erect two “specified” industrial buildings on the north side of Old Mill Road, just east of Darrow Road. and the Siffron building.

A committee led by Lynn Clark, Suzanne Clark, Marcella Gaydosh and Laurie Facsina then obtained more than 1,000 signatures through petitions to try to put the Council’s decision on the November 8 ballot by referendum.

The petitions were delivered to Council Clerk Shannon Collins on July 13.

But Vazzana determined that the Council’s decision on the site plan was an administrative action since it did not enact any new law, ordinance or regulation, so the matter was not subject to a referendum procedure and that petitions were therefore insufficient.

According to Vazzana, the proper and legal forum to address the petitioners’ concerns is to file an administrative appeal, which the petitioners and their legal counsel, Warner Mendenhall, have done.

“The city is currently considering its legal options regarding Mr. Clark’s appeal,” Vazzana said. “But the filing of a notice of appeal does not suspend the execution of the order under appeal. [Council’s site plan approval.]”

In a memorandum dated July 21, Vazzana explained that he told the petitioners and Mendenhall on June 30 that the deadline for filing the administrative appeal was July 14, and Lynn Clark, via Mendenhall, filed the July 13 appeal to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.

“Confusingly, however, almost simultaneously with his filing of the administrative appeal, [Lynn] Clark also filed a referendum petition to place Res. No. 57-2022 in the November 8 ballot,” Vazzana wrote.

“Under Ohio law, it is an accepted principle that Board action cannot be subject to both the referendum process and the administrative appeal process at the same time.

“In other words, an individual would not file an administrative appeal against a Council action if they believe the action is subject to the referendum process – and vice versa.”

The appeal points out that Lynn Clark has appeared before the planning commission and council on numerous occasions to object to the decision to approve the Gumbo project, and claims that the decision is against her as a resident living in proximity to the site.

“This appeal is on questions of law and fact, and is drawn in its entirety from the orders and decisions of the planning commission and council because those decisions were unlawful, unreasonable and contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence,” we read in the appeal.

In a statement to Newsletter after receiving the memorandum from the legal director, Lynn Clark said: ‘We are disappointed and bewildered as to why City Hall is fighting us when there appears to be overwhelming public support to block the Gumbo project.

“It’s more confusing because the city was unable to provide evidence of a tax benefit for the city.”

In a praecipe to the Clerk of Council, Clark directed the city to prepare and file a complete transcript of all documents, testimony, and evidence offered, heard, and considered by the city with respect to Resolution 57-2022, as well as file its findings of fact in support of the Board’s decision of June 14, if any.

“The city is committed to providing public access to its archives,” Vazzana noted. “Indeed, over the last six months, it is estimated that Mr. [Lynn} Clark has been provided over 2,500 city files. The city will continue to provide Mr. Clark with access to files that are responsive to his requests.”

A written response to Clark from finance director Sarah Buccigross issued on July 18 stated, “The city has reviewed its records and there are no documents responsive to your request [one of them].

“Since your request referred to Section 1175.05 (Environmental Impact Assessment), I have attached a PDF of the Environmental Impact Assessment dated February 14, 2022 which was filed by Scannell Properties LLC pursuant to Twinsburg Code Section 1175.”

“The Sarah Attachment [Buccigross] refers does not cover this aspect, although it should,” replied Clark.

Citing additional information from the general counsel, Buccigross told Clark that documents that do not yet exist are not documents, let alone public documents, until they actually exist and are retained by the office. audience.

“Furthermore, a public office is under no obligation to provide documents that are not in its possession or control,” Buccigross added.

Clark pointed out two other things in his dealings with the city.

• “Every time we ask for something, it usually takes a long time and sometimes the documents are heavily redacted. In my understanding, this could violate the laws of the sun.”

• “I am due to have an online mediation conference (July 26) with the Ohio Court of Claims regarding my request for Municipal Engineer’s Notes for the Gumbo Project. I asked the city several times for this information and each time I was ignored. Why?”

Dawn Sutkowski, another town resident who lives along Old Mill Road, echoed Clark’s sentiments. “It is very disappointing that our voices are being silenced again by members of our city council,” she told the Newsletter.

“Throughout the process, we were limited to the time allowed to speak, we asked questions over time with limited responses and were in fact denied the floor on more than one occasion, which is a violation of our constitution.

“Now we are told that our voices will no longer be heard with our petition. In the short time we had to collect signatures, there were really no residents who agreed with the plans proposed by Gumbo. added Sutkowski.

“It showed us that the support for a change in the plans was massive. We know that they [the developer] will build, but it can be built better and these are the same thoughts of all the residents who used their voice to sign the petition, so they too had a voice and a vote,” she said.

“We have collected over 1,400 signatures in favor of a change, and bear in mind that less than a dozen (Council, planning commission and, of course, the developer and the engineer), are in agreement with the proposed plans.”

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