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The Suburbanite
  • North Canton City Council Meeting: April 8

  • North Canton Council

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  • North Canton Council
    Monday meeting
    ACTIONS
    • Tabled until Monday approval of an agreement with Canton for North Canton to pay $1.9 million toward Canton’s planned sewage plant upgrades. North Canton sends its sewage to Canton’s plant. Canton was to pay $45.1 million and Stark County $41.7 million for the $88.6 million project. Canton was going to borrow the money from an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency loan fund and repay the loan out of sewer fees over 20 years. Council President Jon Snyder, Ward 4, said city officials hope to negotiate a new clause with Canton where Canton Mayor William J. Healy II would no longer withhold a sewer permit to pressure a property owner to agree an annexation into the city of Canton. Snyder said a hotel developer based in Fargo, N.D. wants to build a hotel on the site of the former Burger King restaurant on Everhard Road NW east of Whipple Avenue NW. Because any sewage from the site would go to Canton’s sewage plant, Canton would have to agree to any sewer lift connection permit. Snyder said Healy is refusing to grant the permit unless the developer agrees to allow the property, now in Plain Township, to be annexed into the city of Canton, which would incur a 2 percent Canton income tax for whomever works at the hotel. A few years ago, Canton annexed a railroad track into the area, which impeded North Canton from annexing that part of the township. Snyder said North Canton already sells water to the developer’s other hotels in the area and wants to sell water to that site, something unlikely to happen if the site was in Canton. Plain Township trustees, who initially opposed any city annexation of the site, have been in talks with Canton about making the site part of a Joint Economic Development zone where they could share tax revenue. Snyder said while he would entertain some kind of arrangement between North Canton and Plain Township. He said there have been initial discussions with Plain about a JED of other parcels in that area that he would not disclose but not that site. “We’re not looking for a war,” Snyder said. “We’re just exercising our rights. … It’s not like they didn’t screw up our annexation deals.”
    • Approved soliciting bids for the East Maple Street project at a cost not to exceed $2.05 million.
    • Approved buying an ambulance at a cost not over $205,000 and trading in an old ambulance.
    DISCUSSION
    • Eric Bowles, the city’s economic director, briefed council on the East Maple Street project, which would fund renovations to the old Hoover complex’s Building 16 to make it suitable for office space as part of the Hoover District development and improvements to East Maple Street, which would involve the relocation of McKinley Avenue’s connection with Maple Street to prevent the chances of a pedestrian leaving the YMCA from being struck by a vehicle. Developer Stuart Lichter’s Maple Street Commerce is paying $1.67 million and a state grant is providing $5 million. The city is paying nothing.
    • Former councilman Chuck Osborne, in a prepared statement, objected to Mayor David Held transferring $1 million of the grant from road construction to building renovation. City Engineer Jim Benekos said the city didn’t need that amount of money to cover the scope of the street project as outlined in the grant application. The alternative would have been returning the money to the state. Osborne exceeded his five minute public speaks time limit and an additional 30 second extension. After Osborne refused to sit down and continued to speak, Snyder angrily ordered a police officer to remove him from council chambers. Osborne then left. Councilman Doug Foltz, Ward 1, said he might support temporarily banning Osborne and others who abuse the time limit repeatedly from addressing council in the future.
    • Council members expressed support for basically overruling the Planning Commission’s decision last month rejecting a plan to allow parking places on a city-owned vacant lot next to the Little League fields on East Maple Street. Councilman Jeff Peters, Ward 2, said if people attending games could not find parking, they were going to park in neighborhood streets. “The kids aren’t playing ball if they have no parking,” said Councilman Mark Cerreta, At-Large. Snyder said he didn’t believe zoning rules applied because the city owns the property. Foltz said he didn’t believe council approval was even required because the city would use money bequeathed by a deceased resident to pay the $50,000 to place gravel for the parking spaces. Council members asked the administration to find out how much the Little League was willing to contribute to the project.
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    Council is scheduled to meet 6:30 p.m. Monday to vote on the sewage agreement with Canton.
    - Robert Wang