CEDC - December 15th 2014
Community & Economic Development Committee
Meeting Minutes / Dec 15, 2014
The Community & Economic Development Committee met on Monday, December 15, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center. Members in attendance were:
Thomas Marrie (Council Rep), Joseph Saponaro (Council Rep), William Marquardt (Council Alt), Ted Esborn (Economic Development Director), Diane Wolgamuth (Director of Administration), and Ronald Wynne (Director of Finance)
Also in Attendance: Steve Jerome (Council) and Ron DiNardo (Architect)
Mr. Esborn opened the meeting, stating that this Committee had not met since February, 2014. He asked if the members would prefer to meet on a regular basis. Mr. Saponaro stated that he believes the Committee should only meet when needed. As an ad hoc committee rather than a voting body, it merely vets issues and pushes them to a voting committee. The Committee agreed to continue to meet on an as-needed basis.
Zoning Code Amendments
Mr. Esborn stated that an issue discussed by this Committee at the February meeting was amending the Zoning Code. At that time, the Committee agreed that changes were needed and discussed the next steps. For the next several months, Mr. Esborn and Mr. Hartt proceeded to work with the Planning & Zoning Commission (“P&Z”). They looked at ways to add permitted uses and found that those changes necessitated other changes to the Code. After numerous meetings, Mr. Esborn and Mr. Hartt pulled back as it appeared that they were pushing the changes too hard and perhaps too quickly. The preliminary work and drafts are available if and when P&Z desires to continue the process.
Mr. Saponaro asked if a problem had been encountered that caused the amendments to be tabled. Mr. Marrie suggested that maybe P&Z needed time to study the proposed changes. Mr. Saponaro asked Mr. Marquardt if he had any comments as a member of P&Z. Mr. Marquardt stated that he thought the process was more effort that it is worth. He added that everything is handled by conditional use permit and that changing the Code is a waste of time.
Ms. Wolgamuth reminded the Committee that the process of amending the Zoning Code was initiated to avoid losing potential new business. It was feared that a businesses might be dissuaded from moving into Mayfield Village after looking at the Code and realizing that its use was not permitted and that a conditional use permit would be required. Mr. DiNardo agreed, stating that he believes the Village loses businesses in that manner as many businesses cannot obtain financing if they are on a conditional use permit.
Mr. Saponaro asked if we have looked at the zoning codes of other municipalities. Mr. Marquardt asked how much potential additional revenue did the Village think it could get from 15% unoccupied space on Beta? Mr. Esborn suggested that if the vacant building at 6660 Beta was converted to two stories of office use, the additional revenue could be substantial. Mr. Saponaro asked if the Village wouldn’t prefer to be proactive on this issue and asked what additional work would be needed. Rather than be reactive because a need has arisen, we may want to do the work preemptively. Mr. Saponaro again suggested that other cities whose zoning codes work well should be explored. Mr. Marquardt asked, “How much better can it get?” Mr. Esborn responded that changes to the Zoning Code are not just about what is to be gained in revenue, but are also necessary to prevent harmful trends in land use.
Mr. Saponaro suggested that Mr. Esborn interview landlords to determine what type of tenants they are getting. He added that the Village shouldn’t have to hire out this work and he believes that we already have Mr. Hartt on a monthly retainer. Ms. Wolgamuth advised that Mr. Hartt has been on a monthly retainer but added that Mr. Hartt has always made it clear that a complete rewriting of the Zoning Code would be at an additional charge and would not be covered under the retainer. Thus far, he has charged the Village nothing additional. With the Zoning Code amendments being put on hold, Mr. Hartt and the Mayor have agreed that he will be compensated on an “as-needed” basis rather than continuing the monthly retainer.
Mr. Marrie stated that he agrees that Mr. Esborn should speak with business owners. Mr. Marquardt stated that it is tough to get any answers from owners. Mr. Saponaro suggested that if owners are not responsive, they must not be concerned. Mr. Saponaro reiterated that all such work should be done in-house. He suggested that the Village website include more information to let business owners know how the process works and that the Village grants many conditional use permits. Mr. Jerome added that a marketing piece targeted to business owners could be developed.
Economic Development Incentive Program
Mr. Esborn reviewed the Incentive Program which was developed with this Committee in 2012. Mr. Esborn stated that he receives many calls seeking incentives, but he has learned that it is a small piece of the decision for a company planning to relocate. It is helpful to have the program in place when inquiries are made. Mr. Esborn reviewed the application form with the Committee and explained the rationale for the granting of points which ultimately provide a percentage basis for a grant in the form of repayment of tax revenue.
Mr. Esborn provided an update on the progress of the East Commons development. Essentially, the developers have received approval to begin storm water work, but they have not pulled permits. The Village has not received the required proof of ownership for the project to commence.
Mr. Esborn advised that QED’s current lease at 700 Beta expires in Nov 2015. QED is looking at options throughout the region as well as several locations in Mayfield Village. QED will continue to need to expand its square footage and may remain at 700 Beta if other spaces become available. QED has also had serious discussions with Premier Development Partners, the owners of 6660 Beta. Mr. Jerome asked about the Village’s role in this process. Mr. Esborn stated that Premier has asked what the Village will do to retain QED and the Village’s response has consistently been to ask “what is needed?” Mr. Marquardt asked what Premier is doing to get QED. Mr. Esborn responded that they are actually doing quite a bit and the parties have gone through multiple rounds of proposals.
Mr. Esborn stated that he and Building Commissioner John Marrelli have talked to John Kupinski, the General Manager of the Holiday Inn, many times over the past 3-4 years. Mr. Kupinski has an ambitious plan to build a new hotel closer to I-271 and, once complete, tear down the current hotel and replace it with a retail building. The new hotel would be a Hampton. Mr. Esborn shared renderings of the proposed buildings and stated that he wanted Council to be aware of this potential new development.
Mr. Esborn reported that he has had discussions with the owners of Jefferson Park and other property owners along the trail to let them know that the Village would be interested in development that would enhance the Greenway Trail.
Mr. Esborn advised that this matter is on the Finance Committee Agenda and could be discussed at that meeting since all Committee members would be in attendance. Mr. Saponaro referred to the memo that had been provided and asked Mr. DiNardo if he, as the Village Architect, was able to do the work that the Village has hired Jim McKnight to do. Mr. DiNardo responded that could not do the work as he is not a landscape architect and that landscape design is a separate specialty. Mr. DiNardo added that he believed that the Village was fortunate to have Mr. McKnight assisting in that capacity.
Zako Property Update
Mr. Wynne stated that for the past two years, funds for building restrooms at the softball fields has been included in the capital budget. Department Heads continue to discuss potential uses for the Zako property and suggest that the Zako house be turned into restrooms and a concession area for softball field and trail users. Ms. Wolgamuth added that the proximity of the house to the Trail makes it eligible for funding. Mr. Saponaro asked about annual expenditures for this property and Mr. Wynne advised that they are minimal—property taxes have been deferred and only utility bills are paid.
Fiber Optic Opportunity
Mr. Esborn described the status of the fiber optic ring on Beta Drive. It was installed in 2009 at a cost of $329,000 with the County paying $150,000 of the cost. In addition to supporting Village facilities, Mayfran, QED and Panzica have all subscribed for service. They pay OneCommunity, who takes its share and puts the balance in an account for Mayfield Village. This account is currently at $21,000. The Village is technically the service provider and enters into agreements with the subscribers.
Mr. Esborn stated that OneCommunity has launched a subsidiary called Everstream. Everstream has the ability to actively market internet connections to Beta Drive businesses. Mr. Esborn believes that using Everstream would accomplish the Village’s goal of providing fast, inexpensive internet to businesses. Everstream wants to use the Village’s fiber to sell subscriptions. Mr. Esborn believes this is feasible if we make sure the cost to the businesses is in line with what is being charged to current subscribers and the Village is compensated for its fiber. Mr. Esborn stated that Everstream’s model includes folding in the cost of the lateral connection. He believes there are additional questions regarding entering into an exclusive arrangement with Everstream and whether the Village would offer this opportunity to other providers. Mr. Esborn suggested that we speak with Everstream further and invite a representative to come in to discuss the opportunity with Council.
Mr. Wynne stated that that the Village would be inviting a competitor into its space. Mr. Marrie agreed and stated that we need to make sure the Village doesn’t come out on the short end. Mr. Esborn emphasized that Everstream has the ability to make the sale on the spot unlike his attempts to market the fiber which require that he go back to OneCommunity for pricing, terms, etc. Mr. Saponaro suggested that more information be obtained as the Village has the ability to control the timeframe and that this proposal is essentially equivalent to using a broker.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by
Diane Wolgamuth, Director of Administration