Monday, December 14, 2015

North Canton City Council Meetings Repeatedly Violate City Charter and City Ordinances Governing Rules of Council


Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
December 14, 2015           

            It would seem that everyone at City Hall, and most especially individuals connected to the Office of City Council, no longer feel compelled to follow or comply with the City’s Charter or its ordinances. 
 
           Section 2.04 of the City’s Charter states in part, “…Council shall meet at such times as may be prescribed by its rules, regulations, by-laws, or by resolution or ordinance, except that it shall hold regular meetings at least once during each calendar month.” 

            In the months of July and December of 2014, this Council body failed to hold a regular meeting during each of those calendar months.  

            Under the City’s Codified Ordinances, Part One, Title Three, Chapter 111, titled COUNCIL:  

“Chapter 111.01(a) states “Council of the City of North Canton, (“Council”) shall meet on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in Council chambers….” 

Why did this Council body hold a regular Council meeting on the first Monday of the month?
(December 7, 2015) when North Canton Ordinance requires a Committee of the Whole meetings on the first Monday of the month?  

            How can residents observe voting on legislation when legislative voting nights do not comply with rules of Council and City ordinances?  

This is one of many meetings over the last eighteen months that have not complied with the rules of Council regarding the scheduling of Council meetings on the prescribed night.  

These actions by North Canton City Council are contrary to our City Charter and the very laws each of you are sworn to uphold.  

“Chapter 111.01(f) states: “Council shall meet as a Committee of the Whole on the first, third, and fifth Monday…”  

Tonight you have scheduled a “Special” Committee of the Whole meeting. What is a “Special” Committee of  the Whole?  

            In the nearly sixteen years I have observed North Canton’s legislative agenda, I have never seen such an animal. It is not described in City ordinances nor is it described in the City Charter.  

            A “Special” Committee of the Whole meeting is an invention of the newly appointed Council Clerk who, unfortunately, was never trained to function under North Canton’s municipal home rule form of government. 

            How could this current membership of City Council have expected an individual to fill a position as Clerk of Council with absolutely no training? Previous appointees as Council Clerks had trained for years before appointment as Clerk of Council. 

This is the fallout from the loss of a highly valued, highly-skilled, and extremely professional Council Clerk who had served North Canton City Council for nearly seventeen years before she was pushed out as North Canton Clerk of Council. 

Your actions in allowing her to be treated in such a manner were shameful and counterproductive for yourselves. 

“Section 2.04 of the City’s Charter further states in part, “…Special meetings of the Council may be called as prescribed by its rules, regulations, by-laws, or by resolution or by ordinance. In the absence of any such provisions, special meetings may be called by a vote of Council taken an any regular or special meeting thereof, or shall be called by the Clerk of Council upon written request of the Mayor, or the President of Council, or by any three (3) members of Council.  

Notice in writing of each special meeting called at the request of the Mayor, President of Council, or by three(3) members of council, shall state the date, and time , subjects to be considered and no other subject or subjects shall be considered thereat…” 

            Is City Council following all of the requirements specified in the City’s Charter to call a Special Council meeting? To confirm compliance, I would like to see all written requests for Special Council meetings held over the last two years.  

            They are called Special Council meetings for a reason. The subjects to be considered must be described in the written request for the meeting. I do not believe that this is being done.  

            On December 1, 2014, a Special Council meeting was held. Ten pieces of legislation were voted on. This was a Committee of the Whole night.  

            Did this Special Council meeting comply with North Canton’s City Charter?
 
            No, it did not!  

            North Canton City Council must comply with the laws it legislates for itself and for its citizens. 

            Due process and the laws of North Canton must be followed.  

Each of you took an oath to do just that!  

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

North Canton Allows Wholesale Violations of Zoning Code in Expansion of Hoover District South Parking Lot


Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
APPEAL HEARING
September 29, 2015  

            I am here tonight on an appeal filed first on October 10, 2014, by myself and my wife, and subsequently again by my wife and me and numerous other City residents, on November 7, 2014 from a recommendation of the Planning Commission to allow expansion of the Hoover District South Parking Lot. 

Both appeals filed with the City are part of the record now on file.  

The City of North Canton has allowed wholesale violations of its Zoning Code in the expansion of the Hoover District South Parking Lot. 

            The origins of the city’s participation in the gross mishandling of the required approvals for the planned expansion began when after approving a zone change for the portion of the parking lot from residential to business late in 2013, Maple Street Commerce alerted the City that it wished to decline the zone change to business previously approved by the City’s Planning Commission.  

            At this point, it did not take a genius to realize that something was amiss and that it was not going to be pretty.  Despite unanimous opposition from nearby residents, the expansion was approved by the City’s Planning Commission.  

            The wholesale violations of the City’s Zoning Code are almost too numerous to detail in the time allotted here tonight. I will attempt to highlight the violations that are part of the record now on file. 

CHAPTER 1153 – OFF-STREET PARKING AND LOADING REGULATIONS

-          Requires satellite parking spaces intended for employee spaces be located within 400 feet walking distance of the public entrance. Before expansion even started the distance was already nearly 410 feet away. Expansion has increased that distance to a minimum of 560 feet.  

-          Requires width of parking spaces to be 10 feet. When the YMCA expanded their parking lot a number of years ago, they were required to comply with the 10 foot requirement. 

The Hoover District was allowed 9 foot parking spaces resulting in greater density of cars and more traffic to the lot. 

-          Requires landscaping on the interior parking lot – in the minutes of the May 7, 2014, Planning Commission meeting, member Tim Morrow raised this concern stating “…your landscaping – a third-grader could have come up with a better plan than that.” Mr. Morrow also stated that “…you’re trying to create an office building complex and you have a factory parking lot. I think you’ve got some serious problems.”  

Total Noncompliance with this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code!
 

CHAPTER 1155.11 – LANDSCAPING, SCREENING AND OUTDOOR LIGHTING REGULATIONS

-          No compliance with this chapter of the zoning code, especially regarding outdoor lighting.  

Given that neighborhoods to the south and southeast of the parking lot have lost not one but two protective buffer of trees, one being the mature Pin Oaks on East Maple and the second being the hundreds of trees immediately abutting our properties on the south side of the parking lot, this requirement is critically important. 

At the May 7, 2014, Planning Commission meeting, Commission member Tim Morrow stated “…lighting, needs low level lighting in that parking lot - right now you’ve got those old factory lights in that parking lot, that’s totally unacceptable in my mind.”  

With the loss of all the trees, lighting from the building and the street needs to be addressed.  

Total Noncompliance with this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code!
 

CHAPTER 1145 – CONDITIONAL USE REGULATIONS

-          This section covers some of the requirements in the code previously noted as well as requirements not previously addressed in other chapters to include: minimizing impact on adjacent property owners, ensuring project will not be detrimental on property values in the immediate vicinity etc. 

Total Noncompliance with this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code!
 

CHAPTER 1133 – SINGLE-FAMILY AND TWO-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT REGULATION 

-          States “Although a use may be indicated as a permitted principal, conditional or accessory use in a particular residential district, it shall not be approved on a parcel unless it can be located thereon in full compliance with all the standards and other regulations of this Ordinance…” 

LOCATING A LARGE COMMERCIAL PARKING LOT UTILIZED FOR BUSINESS PURPOSES CONFLICTS WITH THE INTENT OF A DISTRICT ZONED (R-2F)  RESIDENTIAL TWO-FAMILY. 

Total Noncompliance with this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code!
 

CHAPTER 1177 – CONDITIONAL USE PERMITS AND SIMILAR USES 

-          States “The Planning Commission shall review the proposed use…to determine whether or not the proposed use is appropriate and in keeping with the purpose and intent of the Zoning Ordinance…and complies with the general criteria established for all conditional uses and the specific requirements established for that particular use, as set forth in Chapter 1145 of this Zoning Ordinance. 

Total Noncompliance with this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code! 

            I might add that Judge Farmer has already affirmed one particular violation under this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code in her recent ruling requiring this council body to hear our appeal. Chapter 1177.10 requires Council action on Planning Commission recommendations. This Council has failed to do so. 

            How is it that Maples Street Commerce was able to start construction of the parking lot without all the required approvals? And further, how is it that Maple Street Commerce was able to start construction after an appeal was presented to the City?
 

CHAPTER 1121 – TITLE, PURPOSE, AND APPLICATION 

-          This chapter states in part that the purpose of the Zoning Code is to “regulate and restrict the ways in which land can be used in order to promote the public health, safety, convenience, prosperity, or general welfare.” 

Some of the listed purposes of the City’s Zoning Code are to provide adequate open spaces for light and air, to protect the character and value of residential areas, and manage congestion on the streets by locating uses in such a manner that they will cause the least interference with, and be damaged least by traffic movements. 

Total Noncompliance with this chapter of the City’s Zoning Code! 

            I am sorry to see this City and this Council behave in the manner it has regarding the expansion of this parking lot that has greatly intruded onto the peace and tranquility of a North Canton neighborhood. 

            Common Pleas Court Judge Farmer in her ruling had it right when she said the actions of North Canton City Council were unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. 

            I ask that City Council reverse or modify the recommendations of the Planning Commission without delay and enforce immediate compliance of all zoning requirements.
 

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne
Resident
City of North Canton

Monday, September 14, 2015

Actions by North Canton City Council Violate the Court’s Ruling and City Law!


Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
September 14, 2015 

            Unbelievable as it sounds, members of North Canton City Council apparently do not want to hear from its citizens nor do they want to uphold the laws each have sworn to uphold when they took the oath of office as elected representatives of the citizens of North Canton.           

            As proof of that statement is the nearly one-year long appeal to City Council for a hearing, appealing the approval of a “Conditional Use” permit by the City’s Planning Commission, at a meeting held on October 8, 2014, allowing expansion of the Hoover District Parking Lot into an area zoned residential (R-2F) without compliance with the City’s Zoning Code. 

            The appeal process is guaranteed in Ordinance 1177.11 of the City’s Zoning Code. It is written in plain simple English that anyone can understand. 

            Stark County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kristin Farmer can indeed, read plain simple English.

            Judge Farmer ruled on August 21, 2015, that “…North Canton City Council’s dismissal of the Appellants[’] (sic) appeal pursuant to Ordinance 1177.11 was unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”
 
I hope this Council understands that it has wasted City tax dollars fighting the very residents you are sworn to represent. 

One would think that the ruling of Judge Farmer was also quite clear.  

All assertions by North Canton City Council to the court regarding who could or could not and who did or did not have standing to appeal were dismissed entirely by Judge Farmer in her ruling from the court and that brings me to the point of my remarks tonight.  

Last week, I received a letter, dated September 3, 2015, from Clerk of Council Mary Beth Bailey, outlining the following rules and procedures for the appeal hearing scheduled before City Council on September 29, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. 

First, the letter states that a single representative would speak for Appellants, Charles Osborne, Rita Palmer, and Maria Harris.  

I want to point out that there were a total of sixteen citizens who filed the appeal to City Council on November 7, 2014. Each should be allowed an opportunity to speak.

Second, the letter on its face appears to define the rules and procedures for the hearing. 

Perhaps someone should go back and read Ordinance 1177.11 which states in part “…Council shall establish appropriate rules and procedures to hear and decide such appeals.”

The rules and procedures for an appeal hearing, per Ordinance 1177.11, are to be set by Council, not an individual behind closed doors who then instructs the Clerk of Council on what to say in her letter.
 
The rules and procedures must apply equally to all citizens in appeals to City Council. To establish the rules and procedures, Council must discuss openly in committee after the topic is placed on the Council agenda for discussion. Voting for the agreed upon rules and procedures should take place in a public meeting as in any other action of Council and approval acknowledged by a majority vote of Council.

Council is a public body and its actions are conducted in public for the benefit of the public to allow input from its citizens. In this manner, the requirement of Ordinance 1177.11 where it states “Council shall establish…” will be met.
 
Last, the letter states the appeal will be held at a Special Council meeting. 

North Canton City Council conducts Committee meetings (generally referred to as Council of the Whole) to discuss proposed legislation. Council holds legislative meetings (referred to as Council meetings) to vote on legislation. Council holds Public Hearings to satisfy lawful requirements and invite public input on a particular issue. Council holds Special Council meetings to vote on special legislation. 
 
An appeal hearing should be titled as such in order to comply with the purpose of the meeting and be in compliance with Ordinance 1177.11.
 
With the exception of the date and time of the appeal hearing stated in the letter from the Clerk of Council, nothing else stated in the letter complies with the ruling handed down by Stark County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kristin Farmer or North Canton Ordinance 1177.11.
 
Failure to comply with the order of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas as well as North Canton Ordinance 1177.11 could place North Canton and City Council in contempt of court.

This Council should do what Judge Farmer has ordered and what North Canton law requires to avoid such a precarious position. Anything short of those actions could lead to a motion to hold North Canton City Council in contempt of court.
 

Thank you, 

Chuck Osborne and
Rita Palmer (Osborne)
Residents
City of North Canton

Monday, April 27, 2015

Actions by North Canton City Council to Amend Zoning Code Harm Citizens and Violate Legislative Due Process!


Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
April 27, 2015

             On October 10, 2014, City residents impacted by the unbridled expansion of the Hoover District South Parking Lot presented to North Canton City Council a request for an appeal hearing
per Chapter 1177.11 of the City’s Zoning Code. Chapter 1177.11 states: 

Any person who is adversely affected by a decision made by the Planning Commission according to the procedures set forth in this Chapter may appeal such decision to Council within 30 days of the Planning Commission's decision.   

            The appeal was in response to the approval of a “Conditional Use” permit by the City’s Planning Commission, on October 8, 2014, allowing expansion of the Hoover District Parking Lot into an area zoned residential (R-2F).  

            Over the last six months, numerous pieces of legislation have been enacted by Council, all detrimental to the citizens they have sworn to represent and in derogation of Council’s obligation to give residents an appeal hearing. The first, an emergency resolution, No. 94-2014, passed December 1, 2014, redirected the appeal to the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals. The resolution was signed by Mayor Held. 

            This was followed with yet another emergency resolution, No. 1-2015, on January 12, 2015, rescinding the previously passed emergency resolution. The resolution was signed by Mayor Held. 

In the minutes of that January 12, 2015, meeting, the Chairman of the Community & Economic Development Committee, Marcia Kiesling made a motion for passage of the second emergency resolution stating, “We have decided to bring it back to us and listen to it ourselves.” 

That statement by Mrs. Kiesling proved to be a misrepresentation.  

On February 23, 2015, City Council voted on yet another resolution, No. 2-2015, to deny residents an appeal hearing before City Council. This resolution, unlike the first two emergency resolutions, was passed with three readings with a second reading on March 9, 2015, and a third and final reading on March 23, 2015. Mayor Held again signed the legislation.  

Concurrently, on March 9, 2015, City Council introduced two ordinances, No. 16-2015 & No. 17-2015, to strip away entirely the appeal process from the City’s Zoning Code.  

One thing that has been quite apparent from the time this legislation was introduced is that City Council was in flagrant violation of Chapter 1181 of the North Canton Zoning Code which describes in detail the legislative process that must be followed to amend the City’s Zoning Code.  

Citizens in attendance at Council meetings have been aghast at the temerity of this Council, to ignore the legislative due process, as Ordinances No. 16-2015 & No. 17-2015, were voted on. A first reading for a vote was on March 9, a second reading on March 23, and a third reading on April 13, 2015.
 
Ordinance No. 17-2015 was tabled at Council’s last meeting on April 13 but it is back on the agenda tonight for a third and final reading.  

All actions taken thus far on these two pieces of legislation are meaningless. The rush to pass these two pieces of legislation will have to begin anew to comply with Chapter 1181 of the City’s Zoning Code. 

Apparently, Councilmember Kiesling agrees as Mrs. Kiesling revealed to a citizen after Council’s meeting on the 13th that she has questioned privately the legislative path taken by Council to amend the City’s Zoning Code.  Mrs. Kiesling, I and others wholeheartedly agree with you. My only question is why did you not voice your concerns publicly on the floor of Council?   

In legal parlance, Ordinance No. 16-2015 & 17, 2015, are “void ab initio.” Illegal from the beginning!  

Amending any zoning code is a long drawn-out process that is clearly defined by the code itself. How did this go so wrong? From a legal perspective, this is basic municipal law. 

North Canton City Council has been utterly blind to the many missteps of Law Director Tim Fox. Amending the City’s Zoning Code in violation of well-established law is not a misstep.  

Leading City Council into the passage of illegal legislation is misfeasance.  

Whether Law Director Fox pleads ignorance of Chapter 1181 of the City’s Zoning Code or whether this is another adversarial action he has undertaken against the citizens of North Canton, it is abundantly clear that Law Director Tim Fox should be asked to step down as the City’s Law Director or barring that, City Council should remove him from office. 

The citizens of North Canton can no longer endure repeated missteps and now orchestrated illegal legislation at the hands of a City official who erroneously guides City Council into being a party to his egregious illegal actions. 
 

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton

Monday, March 23, 2015

North Canton City Council Denies Citizens Appeal Hearing and Removes Zoning Code Protections for Citizens


Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
March 23, 2015
            Twelve years ago, City Council ratified a total rewrite of the City’s Zoning Code. The vote was unanimous for passage. Two current members of Council were among the seven who voted for passage, Doug Foltz and Marcia Kiesling.
            Codified in the zoning code for the last twelve years is Chapter 1177.11, which is titled APPEAL TO COUNCIL. Written in plain English, Chapter 1177.11 states: 

Any person who is adversely affected by a decision made by the Planning Commission according to the procedures set forth in this Chapter may appeal such decision to Council within 30 days of the Planning Commission's decision.  Council shall establish appropriate rules and procedures to hear and decide such appeals. 

            On October 10, 2014, City residents impacted by the expansion of the Hoover District South Parking Lot appealed a Planning Commission approval of a “Conditional Use” permit that allowed the developers to greatly expand the parking lot. The appeal was made prior to commencement of construction. Typically, an appeal would be heard in a timely manner to be fair to all parties. This has not been the case.  

            Midway through the thirty-days allowed for submission of an appeal, the City asked that the appeal be resubmitted. The second appeal was resubmitted within the required 30 days. 

            On December 1, 2014, and without a hearing date yet set, City Council passed an emergency resolution transferring the appeal to the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals. This was followed by another emergency resolution on January 12, 2015, rescinding the earlier emergency resolution. 

            Despite the long delay, it was thought that Council would at some point follow the law and allow citizens a hearing on the appeal that is clearly guaranteed in the City’s Zoning Code.   

            Sadly, North Canton City Council is refusing to allow an appeal hearing. Not now, not ever!  

On February 23, 2015, Resolution No.  2-2015 received the first of three readings dismissing the appeal. 

Tonight Resolution No. 2-2015 is on the agenda for its third and final reading.  

City Council’s action denying an appeal hearing is one of the most flagrant actions of a group of elected representatives I have ever seen in my lifetime. Clearly, there is no sense of duty or obligation to the public they have sworn to represent. 

Sadly, for North Canton citizens, their elected representatives are going to outdo themselves in their anti-citizen actions.  

Also on the agenda tonight is the 2nd reading of Ordinance No. 17-2015. This ordinance seeks to remove entirely from the City’s Zoning Code, any chance of Appeal to Council that is delineated in Chapter 1177.11. If successful, City Council will never again have to deal with the citizen protections that have been in the Code for over thirteen years.  

Chapter 1177.11 of the zoning code is a safety net for citizens who believe that they have been adversely affected by decisions made by the Planning Commission. It allows for appeals directly to their elected representatives. 

Mr. Griffith, at the Council meeting of February 23, 2015, stated, “…The decision about whether to do something when it comes to zoning or whether or not to do something shouldn’t be a political issue.” 

I beg to differ. Our entire process of government is political. How do you think you have come to sit on this council body? You are elected by the people through a political process. And on taking office you have taken an oath to represent the people. Council action refusing an appeal hearing and removing the right by citizens to appeal to Council is not representing your constituency. 

In regards to the removal of the appeal process you stated, “…one of the reasons that we are taking that appeal away [is] because those decision shouldn’t be political decisions.” 

How do you think the zoning code came to be in the first place? The Planning Commission did not craft the code. It was Council through a political process.  

North Canton’s City Charter states, “The Planning Commission shall have the powers as may be conferred on it by ordinance of Council….” 

The citizens of North Canton should be able to trust that their elected representatives are making decisions for them.  

Your statements at that February 23, 2015, meeting turn democracy upside down and put citizens at the mercy of unelected officials of the Planning Commission. 

This council should act like representatives of the people and quit acting like pawns of the City Law Director. Comply with the City’s Zoning Code as it is presently written.  

Give your constituents a hearing and discontinue removal of citizen protections that have been put in the City’s Zoning Code. They were put there for good reasons.
 

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Expansion of Former Hoover South Parking Violates City’s Zoning Code, Overburdens City Streets & Storm Sewers, Intrudes On Neighborhood Serenity, and Devalues Residential Properties


Prepared Comments Intended for Presentation to
NORTH CANTON PLANNING COMMISSION
October 8, 2014 


            Remarks made by a member of this body at its May 7, 2014, meeting characterized the plan to expand the Hoover District South Parking Lot by stating, “A third-grader could have come up with a better plan… this is amateur hour as far as I am concerned.” This Committee was unanimous in its unhappiness with the proposed plan and voted 5-0 to table the plan as proposed. 

With minor changes, this committee reversed itself and voted 5-0 at its September 3, 2014, meeting to approve the site plan with nary any follow-up to concerns raised by citizens or commission members themselves.  

At both of the two previous meetings of this Planning Commission, I quoted former Judge Lee Sinclair, a former member of this Commission said nearly 34 years ago at an October 27, 1980, Planning Commission meeting who said: “We live here because we enjoy the residential nature of our particular home sites.”  

            Any expansion of the South parking lot of the former Hoover Company will not allow residents to enjoy the residential nature of their homes. 

Common sense and decency tell us that this proposed expansion overburdens the City’s  streets and storm sewers; intrudes on the enjoyment of nearby homes and the serenity of our neighborhoods; and devalues residential properties already hard hit from the downturn in the economy. 

The heavily wooded area separating nearby homes has served as a buffer from the activities of the 87 acre Hoover property from the time this city was called New Berlin. Loss of hundreds of trees as well as the loss of the walking trail put in by Stark Parks just two years ago with the expenditure of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars is not acceptable. 

            Not noted in previous remarks before this body are the requirements of North Canton’s Zoning Code. Chapter 1153.08 (b) requires parking spaces to be within 400 feet walking distance of a public entrance of a principal building housing the use for which the parking spaces are intended to serve.
 
            The southernmost edge of the current parking is already in excess of 400 feet, measuring 407 feet.

            Any plan to expand the south parking lot at this point is in direct violation of the City’s zoning code. Period! 

            This planned expansion should never have been seriously entertained.  

            The entire grove of trees must be maintained as a buffer so City residents can “enjoy the residential nature” of their homes, to the extent that is possible in a neighborhood that already is in decline. 

Please do not accelerate and add to the decay of our neighborhood with increased traffic, noise, obtrusive lighting, flooding and everything else that comes with this development that will change the character of our community. 

            Lastly, I have a petition containing more than 130 names of North Canton residents who are opposed to any expansion of the South parking lot. 

            I ask that you not approve a “conditional use permit” for the expansion of the Hoover District South Parking lot. 
 

Sincerely,
Chuck Osborne

Monday, August 25, 2014

CORPORATE GREED IS OVERTAKING NORTH CANTON AND THE INSTITUTIONS THAT SERVE AND ENRICH OUR COMMUNITY


Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
August 25, 2014 

            “The North Canton Community Building was founded in 1923 by W. ‘Boss’ Hoover who gave the original ‘Community Building’ to North Canton for the enjoyment of its citizens. The current building was completed in 1970, with a major addition in 1983 and a new Wellness Center addition in 2002.”
 
            This information is from the Website of the North Canton YMCA.

            Unfortunately, “Boss” Hoover is no longer with us today nor is the company that he founded. The charity and paternalism championed by W. “Boss” Hoover and the Hoover Company for our community are gone. That benevolence is not something Maple Street Commerce, now the owners of the former Hoover property, feel compelled to show our community.

            What has Maple Street Commerce done for our community since becoming owners of what is now called the Hoover District? 

The roles have been reversed as it is the community that is now the benefactor. Corporate millionaires now expect to be served by the community upon which they have descended to suck from them as much as City leaders will hand out.

How much has North Canton provided to the millionaire owners of the Hoover District since their arrival in 2008?

First was $440,000 to purchase cranes for their first tenant, Meyers Controlled Power. Then it was $3,000,000 to renovate factory space for The Shroer Group. Then another $1.0 million for further office space on the second floor for additional tenants. Most recently and most noticed by the public is the expenditure of $2,253,000 for what has been described as a widening of East Maple Street. The so-called widening of East Maple in actuality simply creates on-street parking in front of the office building. 

It is through this recent construction that the majestic Pin Oaks which lined East Maple Street were destroyed in spite of the fact that the majestic Oaks were located far enough away from the finished widening of East Maple Street to have remained.

In total, our small community has provided close to $6,753, 000 and this does not include the many tax abatements that the City and the North Canton City School District have had to accept to help make lease terms with Maple Street Commerce acceptable to new tenants.

I suspect “Boss” Hoover is rolling over in his grave at this point, but that is not all that Maple Street Commerce has inflicted on our little community.

Plans to expand the south parking lot could lead to the destruction of hundreds more trees that serve as a buffer to the surrounding neighborhoods. If that happens, home values and neighborhood harmony will be impacted very negatively. 

Community institutions are also feeling the greed of Maple Street Commerce. 

Stark Parks will be forced to relocate a trail if the south parking lot is expanded. The forced relocation of the trail will result in the squandering of thousands of dollars of public money that were expended to build the trail. 

Lastly, I am concerned about the future viability of the North Canton YMCA. That concern is for two reasons. 

First, the new entrance to the YMCA parking lot, presently under construction, is wholly inadequate. At 22 feet in width, it is much too narrow and will not serve the needs of the motoring public. Many of you on this Council have looked at this poor design and concur.

The new entrance to the Hoover District parking lot is 33 feet wide. Why wasn’t the entrance to the YMCA parking lot afforded an equally inviting navigable entrance?  Further, bus traffic and emergency vehicles will have great difficulty maneuvering in the poorly designed network of curbs.

Second, the vacation of McKinley Street will soon be decided before the Planning Commission. The vacation of McKinley Street should go entirely to the YMCA. The YMCA has parking and growth needs of its own that need to be filled. And that need is now. 

Maple Street Commerce, through its plans that may or may not be realistic and that may or may not come to fruition, is making a demand for parking that is unfair to the North Canton YMCA. 

McKinley Street is located in the very shadows of the YMCA building. To not vacate the entire length of McKinley Street to the YMCA will simply put a chokehold on their future. 

Please do not undermine the seeds that W. “Boss” Hoover planted over ninety-one years ago. 

Economic development should not come at any and all costs to the community.

I ask this council to protect our community and the institutions that serve us. Save the Stark Parks trail. Support the North Canton YMCA in every way possible. And protect the City and its residents from the rampant “Corporate Greed” that we see consuming our community. 

W. “Boss” Hoover is watching!
 

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton