GREEN  Three at-large seats are open on Green City Council as four candidates will look to fill the positions.

Dave France, Stephen Dyer, Richard Brandenburg and Clark Anthony DeVitis are the remaining four candidates in the race. There were originally six candidates but Justin Leonti withdrew after the primary and Justin Speight recently announced he was also withdrawing from the race.

Dyer holds a seat on City Council and is seeking re-election. He has served in various capacities with PTAs, his neighborhood Homeowners Association, Cub Scouts and coached both of his sons’ baseball teams.

France formerly served 16 years on City Council. He also was a firefighter/paramedic for Green Fire Department (1971-1986) and chaired the Charter Review Commission in 2005.

DeVitis is a firefighter/EMT for the city of North Canton and is the son of Anthony DeVitis, who represents Ohio House of Representatives 36th District

Brandenburg is a CPA and Finance Professional that has worked with families, nonprofits and businesses for more than 20 years.

RICHARD BRANDENBURG

How do you balance new housing development with green space?

This year, I attended every City Council meeting to learn about the role and the issues that the city faces. One of the topics that came up regularly with zoning change requests was maintaining the right balance between green space and commercial development. It is an issue because one of Green’s greatest assets is the abundance of green space available to residents.

Green's Founders were very wise when they included in the city charter provisions for the development of a strong parks system. Many of our current parks were acquired and developed before land prices rose significantly, and our city now has several large parks for residents including Ariss, Greensburg, Boettler, Raintree and East Liberty that provide open space for residents to enjoy their recreation time with family and friends.

In establishing these parks, our city incurred very little debt because land prices were low. On City Council, I will advocate for wisely increasing the availability of recreation areas and our parks by connecting our parks with economical sidewalks. I will also be an advocate for requiring new developments to install sidewalks and connect these sidewalks to the larger network. These sidewalks will provide our residents with safe access to green space right from their front door. I will also support acquiring and developing new parks when great opportunities come along.

What are your plans for improving infrastructure?

The City of Green has experienced significant growth in recent years because Green is perceived as a desirable place to live – and rightfully so. Green is a great place to live and work.

Our past city administrators made significant investments in our growth, and Green's recent growth is testimony to the success of these investments. Green continues to grow, so city administrators must make investments in infrastructure to minimize growing pains and provide residents a high quality of life. These investments include improving traffic flow, providing adequate public safety resources and enabling businesses to provide jobs, essential products and services to Green residents. When elected, I will be a strong proponent for making wise investments while keeping our city fiscally responsible.

Smaller communities, like Green, do not have the unlimited resources of larger cities to undertake major infrastructure changes. Our city administrators must choose projects wisely and seek outside funding from federal and state agencies whenever possible. We have had great success doing this in the past. For example, much of the $25 million that will be spent on the Massillon Road improvements will come from state and federal highway funds.

When elected, I will advocate for seeking outside financial resources whenever possible to stretch your tax dollars and provide a high standard of living for residents. I will also support regular studies of Green’s infrastructure to ensure that we make timely applications for outside funds because, once issues are discovered that require immediate attention, funding options are limited.

CLARK ANTHONY DEVITIS

How do you balance new housing development with green space?

Parks and other forms of green space in our community are vitally important to Green’s identity and are essential in achieving quality of life for our residents. Personally, I have been an avid lover of hikes, outdoor activities, and athletics. These recreations all require green space. The city has done a good job acquiring land for parks and ballfields in the past and should be diligent making certain the practice of including green space remains part of Green’s development portfolio. With this being said, I will work with council and the administration to provide the best results for our community. As housing development continues to grow, I will make sure that green space is considered while the development is being crafted. We must preserve this aspect of our city, as it is one of the many attributes that makes The city of Green a special place in which to live.

What are your plans for improving infrastructure?

In talking with residents, they expressed many concerns that need addressed; this included issues such as sidewalks, stormwater, road conditions and more. The one issue that prevailed above all others were concerns with traffic and with that, the proliferation of roundabouts. In my estimation, the roundabouts do seem to be effective; however, as many more are being considered in the future, I would strongly urge the city to be certain we don't neglect the existing needs of our residents. Basic city services are paramount to our people and should be a top priority. It is in the best interest of our community that we take a holistic approach to the needs of the people regarding infrastructure, whether it pertains to roads, roundabouts, parks, safety services, or any other issue. As a firefighter and first responder, I understand the importance of fast response times in the event of an emergency and believe that the city's choice to create a third fire station is a great representation of creating new and vital infrastructure that serves the people. My ultimate goal as a council member will be to listen to our community and satisfy their needs.

STEPHEN DYER

How do you balance new housing development with green space?

I believe that we need to employ a smart growth strategy, not just more growth for growth's sake. Where does it make sense to bring in housing? What type of housing? When? These are questions I just don't see the city's current administration asking. Instead, we let developers change zoning to put in housing developments that will force us, taxpayers, to accommodate the increased infrastructure needs and pressure on the schools.

I've heard about a lot of housing we need, including moderately priced senior housing and housing attractive to young professionals. Yet, the city administration has done no inventory or examination of these or other housing needs. Instead, they let developers dictate where and what can go in, even when those desires run contrary to resident wishes. It's time we looked at our zoning code again and in the context of that examination, took stock of what housing options we have, what we need, where it makes sense to develop those options in our community and whether our schools and infrastructure can handle it.

Then I believe that we need to enforce that zoning code without allowing the wholesale changes this administration has allowed to occur because a developer can make money doing it. I have heard from many, many residents that our city's character is being lost because of these developments. I believe we need to keep Green green.

What are your plans for improving infrastructure?

I believe we need to take a pause in our rapid development of roundabouts. Residents have communicated to me on many occasions that the massive proliferation of roundabouts seems excessive. For example, there will soon be five roundabouts on Massillon Road just in the two miles between the Sheetz and Fire Station No. 1. And in many instances, folks will have to turn right, go around a roundabout and come back down Massillon Road to turn left into a business. That will be extremely frustrating for many residents to navigate and could harm those businesses. I believe we need to look at being more aggressive with our repaving program so more neighborhoods are repaved more frequently. Also, I would like to see more sidewalks built so more of our residents can walk or bike with their families to the great businesses and facilities we have at our city's core and do that with minimal property interruptions. Finally, I think it is time for the city of Green to seriously consider developing its own hyperspeed internet service for residents, just like Fairlawn and Hudson have done. Nashville did that and now companies are working at breakneck pace to bring in 5 GB speed internet, which is roughly 50 times faster than our city's current speeds. We have an extraordinary opportunity to bring in hyperspeed internet and perhaps partner with our universities to turn our largely unused land by the airport into a high-tech corridor utilizing our city's Foreign Trade Zone. But that only happens with hyperspeed internet, not the slow, unstable internet availability our city currently has.

DAVE FRANCE

How do you balance new housing development with green space?

Green has been a city for 27 years, has an approximate population of 26,000 people and covers 33 square miles. There is much land that is very desirable for development to business and housing projects. In order to regulate this development, the city administration, including City Council, relies on the City’s Planning and Zoning Departments, Planning Commission, Development Codes and Long Range Plans to help make decisions. During the 16 years I was previously on Green’s City Council, the city administration not only preserved but also balanced development and green space within our city. Here are some examples:

• Created and added 10 parks in Green that have over 550 acres of protected green space. This includes athletic fields, playgrounds, walking trails and lakes.

• Green Administration worked with the Cleveland Museum of History to protect Singer Lake on the City's south border when residential development encroached on the lake.

• Nimisila Reservoir, which is a State Park and lies within the city of Green, became managed by the Metro Parks and limited development in that area.

• The Akron Canton Airport (CAK) established restricted land surrounding it for security purposes, with no residential development allowed.

• Currently, there are five private or public golf courses that lie within Green’s city limits.

In the past, I was a proponent of the creation of a “rural residential zoned area” in the southwest corner of the City in Ward 3. This is a zoning regulation that calls for larger residential lots to allow for septic and wells. In this RR zone, one acre of land per residence makes a low density and more open space. Balancing development with green space is a very important job of the city, not just council. If elected once again to City Council, I would continue to be a proponent of working not only with council members but along with the city administration to see that our current llong range plans and zoning codes are reviewed and matched up with proposed development. I would also continue to recognize opportunities, whenever they arise, to save green space in our city and see that the codes are properly enforced, in order to balance development and green space.

What are your plans for improving infrastructure?

In order to answer that question, I need to establish that infrastructure does not only include roadways but many other aspects in our city, such as stormwater structures and waterways, bridges, utilities and park facilities. Also, when discussing infrastructure, you need to take into consideration public safety, funding (both internal and external), maintenance and longevity of the project. There are currently infrastructure projects already engineered, funded and slated to occur in Green’s future. The city has a Service Department that includes a Highway Division which maintains roadways by paving roads, snow removal, road signage and signalization (traffic lights); Storm Water Division which maintains waterways and water retention areas; and Parks Division which maintains all structures, athletics fields and trails within the 10 parks in Green. If elected to City Council, I would make sure that the Service Department’s divisions are properly funded and have the necessary equipment and manpower for improving and maintaining our highways and neighborhood roads. To further protect our investments in our city infrastructure, I would also promote programs to maintain and improve road surfaces and promote traffic improvements, with the least amount of disruption to residents and businesses. In regards to improving infrastructure for safety purposes, I would be a proponent of adding more sidewalks, especially in the areas closest to the schools and parks. Further, I would always be looking for projects which have matching funding for all infrastructure improvements, to save tax dollars for our residents and support any current Capital Improvements that are in process.