Saturday, December 3, 2011

Master Plan Nov 17

Reviewed the 2001 Community Attitude Survey and suggested changes...

An online survey was discussed as a supplement to the official survey being mailed to 1 of 15  residents in the new year.  The online survey would give an opportunity to clarify items from the official survey, to get a wider audience of residents and to get an audience not included, that being business owners.  The idea was to solicit from the industrial section, it was suggested to be more broad and include retail as well.

The draft survey was reviewed question by question and comments and suggestions were made, see the minutes for details.

Next Meeting - Next Year when Survey results are tabulated...

Minutes are here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

City Hall Calendar

Oh, the good old days, when things were simple...

For the 3 years that I have been extremely active in local politics, I stayed informed of city meetings by looking at the city's web site calendar at least once a week.  It was bookmarked, I went right to it, and in 5 seconds, i knew what meetings were coming up.

Now we have a new web site, well not so new, it's been in production since July 1.  I was excited to see the "Notify Me" feature, perfect, I'll sign up to be notified of public meetings and I won't have to stalk the calendar page.  That hope was dashed when I received an email of a special meeting 20 minutes AFTER it had finished.  I've talked to the Clerk, IT Dir, and Law Director, I expressed concern for compliance with Ohio Sunshine Laws (see links on ).

Back to the old way, I'm subscribed to the new Notify Me feature, can't depend on it, so its back to looking at the Calendar, but now its not so simple since it contains over 50 senior events.

I thought that backup process was going to work until tonight when I saw no regular safety meeting scheduled for November, odd since I remember a specific discussion in caucus (off camera) that the meeting was to be rescheduled.  So I asked another committee member, and he confirmed that the Safety Meeting was rescheduled to Nov 16, but it wasn't on the calendar.  Another person said "Yes it is!" I looked at my iPad again and showed him, "its not here!" He ran to the clerks office and came back with a printed paper calendar that showed the Safety meeting on the 16th.

But IT DID NOT show the special safety meeting on the 7th that WAS on the web site.

SO NOW in these new days, to stay informed, I need to look in THREE places (paper, online, notify), rather than one (online).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Master Plan Nov 1

Reviewed the 2001 Community Attitude Survey and suggested changes...

The county reformatted the 2001 survey, updating it for mark sense technology (bubbles instead of boxes). It was suggested to review questions, if the answer won't help the MasterPlan then consider removing the question. It was also suggested that current responses could be compared to the 2001 if the question format remains similar.

The Survey will relate to the SWOT (blog and minutes) and Goals (draft minutes, final minutes).

Question 1 removed.

There was some discussion about the city services question for items that aren't  completely city services (Schools, Library, Cultural). It was decided to move Cultural issues out of this question.

Remove mention of cleaning and maintaining sidewalks from question 2 as Jim Stanek has proposed that this really isn't a city responsibility.  Many people there were not aware of this policy shift introduced at the Public Works committee.  However it was left into question 3 because people "may want it". No explanation of how this issue is being discussed will be included, so its likely they won't understand it either.

Question 10 will be moved to after Question 4.
Cultural questions may occur after this question.

It was raised that the schools are the number 1 city asset, how should they be included here?  Some thought the schools should NOT be included, they have their own strategic process.  It was suggested that a question on city/school collaboration or how well they work together would be useful.  It was suggested that the admin talk to the schools about the survey.

Question 5 (shopping) remove the both in/out column and add an internet shopping column.  Discussion on whether to delete or keep question 6.

Question 9, top 5 only.

Delete questions 11, 12, 15.  Keep 13 & 14 (RTA)

Combine question 18 & 19.

Orange had questions about online access.  Suggested to ask Internet value of services & access to community services.

Add a question about people's leisure activities.


Next Meeting - Thur Nov 17
Agenda: Meeting with County on Community Attitudes Survey
The Mayor and Council will be asked for input
The next draft will be prepared and discussed on the 17th and finalized

Minutes are here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Master Plan Oct 13


Community Attitudes Survey (x min)

Goals (about x hr)
Quickly completed review of updated 2000 goals and reviewed new open goals.

Next Meetings - Tue Nov 1 and Thur Nov 17
Agenda: Meeting with County on Community Attitudes Survey

Minutes are here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Master Plan Sept 22


Community Standards Survey (15 min)
City Entrance Signs (22 min)
Admin and Council definitely want community sign, and preferred it at entrance, committee unanimously rejected the idea that they be at the entrance.

Goals (about 1 hr)
Quickly completed review of updated 2000 goals and reviewed new open goals.  Following 6 items.

Next Meeting - Oct 13th
Agenda: Meeting with County on Community Attitudes Survey

Minutes are here.

Master Plan Aug 18


Community Standards Survey (30 min)
City Entrance Signs (25 min)
Goals (1 hr 10 min)

Next Meeting - Sept 22nd

Minutes are here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Master Plan July 21


Community Standards Survey (30 min)
City Entrance Signs (25 min)
Goals (1 hr 10 min)
Frankland suggested formulating goals from the SWOT (last 4 meetings), but the committee decided to review the old goals first.  They reviewed the first 9 out of 16 goals.  They'll review the next page of goals next meeting.  At some point the current SWOT should be reviewed to see if there are new goals to be stated.

Next Meeting - Aug 18th

Minutes are here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Master Plan June 23

The top 5 of the SWOT were discussed and ranked as follows


  1. Schools
  2. Economic Strength and Diversity
  3. Municipal Services
  4. Industry
  5. Family Oriented community


  1. Under developed, unattractive, retail area
  2. Traffic congestion
  3. Unregulated unregistered rental property
  4. Business perceived difficulty working with the city
  5. Nothing to attract young professionals (night life)


  1. Following MasterPlan
  2. Regional Cooperation resulting in positive impact
  3. Improve, expand access, to recreational areas (Timberlane & Arther Rd Pool)
  4. Connector Rd and exits
  5. Recycling / Green Energy


  1. Diminishing availability of school funding sources
  2. Aging industrial infrastructure
  3. Development in adjacent communities (they get money, we get traffic)
  4. Diminishing capacity for waste removal (dump space, could increase taxes)
  5. Regionalism that negatively impacts (misguided regionalism proposals)
The next mtg will be July 21st.
Minutes are here.

One member raised the issue of the "three slabs"


The rails to trails discussion, involved passing out a map and telling the committee we must set priorities and that the N&S railroad has funding and legislative support.  We could mention the W&LE, but N&S is a priority, see the comparison for yourself below:

Comparison Chart

StatusOfficially AbandonedUnused but not abandoned
Track and RR TiesRemovedPresent
Plant GrowthGenerally clearVery overgrown
Partnership opportunityMetroParkCuyahoga County
Viability as trailImmediateLong term
DestinationSolon to Chagrin FallsBainbridge Market Place to Downtown Cleveland

W&LE is abandoned and usable now! 

See more info at the new Solon Trails Site.

Minutes are unavailable.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Master Plan May 26


A reminder of an alternate rails to trails was made and Rob said it would be covered at the next meeting.

Minutes are unavailable.

Master Plan May 12


Minutes are here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Master Plan Apr 21


This was the first goal setting meeting.  The next mtg or two will continue this process.

Next will come the Community Attitude Survey, this will be contracted from the Cuyahoga County Planning group.

Some misc discussions included:
Glenwillow relationships
Solon on Facebook
Orange School district - in Ward 5A north Solon
Absent - 3 of 10 reps
Crime at Rec Center
Permitted Uses not updated with 2005 Zoning updates

Strengths -
Weaknesses -
Opportunities -
Threats -

  1. Schools
  2. Housing Variety
  3. Population Diversity
  4. Solid Industry/Tax base
  5. Access to Highways
  6. Quality of city services
    - EMS, Safety, Service
  7. Good Leadership (esp Mayor)
  8. Good recreation facilities
  9. Family Oriented Community
  10. Proximity to MetroParks
  11. Increasing stability of residential population
    - in 2001, they noted decreasing stability
  12. Station St as alternate connection between SOM and Solon

  1. Traffic
  2. Lack of large medical facility
    (observers note, Ed Suit discouraged UH from building next to Sedlaks)
  3. Lack of quality retail/resturant
  4. Poor building infrastructure
    (aging shopping centers)
  5. Lack of sidewalks
    Industrial and Residential areas
  6. Poor aesthetics of Streetscape in Retail Areas
  7. Not pedestrian friendly (esp in retail)
  8. Insufficient inventory of Soccer & Baseball fields (etc?)
  9. Poorly designed existing road infrastructure
    (?need more lanes)
  10. Aging commercial and industrial stock
  11. Poor directional signage to important community destinations
  12. Outdated Codified Ordinances
    (allows farm animals etc, Frankland (non-JD) is rewriting them)
  13. Complex ownership of existing shopping center(s?)
    - Perwick family (GE plaza) has many equal owners who must agree 100% and never do
  14. Unregulated rental property (rental regs)
  15. Lack of housing opportunity for young professionals (night life, Coral style multi-use)
  16. Lack of pedestrian infrastructure and attractions
    (like Popcorn Store in Chagrin Falls)
  17. Lack of connection between Old S Miles and Bainbridge Rd

  1. Access to Services in other communities (?)
  2. Ability to rework park layout
  3. Following Master Plan (?)
  4. Connector Road
    (generally & as proposed by Coral)
  5. Additional 422 exit where possible
  6. Encourage and promote citizen partcipation
    -a) city has this under control with new web
    -b) electronic msg board on SOM bridge by firestation
    -c) social media, Solon has Facebook Fan page (is the city involved?)
    -d) newsletter (for the non-connected)
    -e) residential email alerts (like school or road projects)
  7. Increasing recycling program
  8. Pursue Green Energy Sources
  9. Expand access to parks
  10. Make city more bike & pedestrian friendly
  11. Greater regional cooperation
  12. Transition from development related focus to property maintenance related focus
    (rental regs)

  1. State Funding for schools
  2. Development in adjacent communities
    - Regional impact (commercial projects)
    - Residential Development Impact on Schools
  3. Increased Traffic Volumes
    - from internal and external sources
    - development of Colbert farm in Twinsburg on SOM
  4. Increasing crime
  5. Decreasing residential property values
  6. Diminishing capacity for waste removal

Future meetings scheduled, Thur May 5 and Wed May 18.   Rescheduled to May 12 & May 23.
Minutes are here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Master Plan Mar 24

This meeting reviewed the Industrial Core Plan.

There was discussion of

  • New Zoning Codes
  • Old permitted uses
  • ReZoning to Industrial, see below
  • Relaxing restrictions on Enterprise Parkway
    Would that make it the 5th shopping center?
  • New Auto Service District, All auto service in city is non-conforming use
  • Next mtg April 21 on Goal Setting
  • After Goal Setting, the Planning Dept will make updates and run them by committee
There were 3 major rezoning issues in the Industrial Core Plan:
  1. Bainbridge Rd West
    No objections from residents, Small section of houses between SOM and Harper recommended as transitional office service
  2. SOM/Aurora West
    Objections from residents, Near Verizon, was removed from plan, NOT referred to committee
  3. Solon and Richmond
    Objections from residents, suggested that large track be redeveloped as new industrial
    Was removed from plan, BUT referred to committee, committee discussed and reached consensus to recommend that this land remain residential, wetlands are not conducive to industrial redevelopment.
Both the CRD and Industrial Core have an entire new set of zoning classifications, these will need to be sent to the voters for approval.  The permitted uses also need a revamp.

One of the 11 missing chapters - Residential Neighborhood Future Plan will be written and reviewed by the group.

Minutes are here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

State of the City

Every March the Mayor gives a talk to the Chamber of Commerce about the State of the City.  This year it will be on March 22, deadline to register is March 18, click here for details.  An article in the Solon Patch can be found here.

Look at archived programs to see prior talks.  Click here for the latest talk.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Infrastructure Budget


Despite our huge $9M infrastructure budget, this years projects outpace it by $1.3M.  Rather than making the difficult decision of what projects to do and which to delay, it was decided that this was a "bubble" year and that we'd be more balanced in future years, that the costs will come in below the estimates, and that we would issue bonds if necessary to cover the costs.

This city spends a tremendous amount on paving.

Deer Culling


The expensive deer culling was stopped for a year and now they want to restart it...

At the recent Safety Meeting they approved $30K to use a thermal count of the deer, despite an alternative method costing only $5K.

This year, as before they plan on counting Glenwillow deer.  No one seems to know why we'd pay extra to count deer that aren't in our city.  Will Glenwillow be paying for part of the count?  Will they kick into the $150K that will undoubtedly reduce their deer population?  UNLIKELY?

Finance allocated $150K (only $100K was requested) for an unknown plan before any study was done.  Doesn't seem like prudent fiscally conservative finance.

For more info on Deer Management Issues see

Budget Hearings

Rough Draft

Budget Hearings

Budget posted here.

Master Plan Mar 10

This meeting continued on with the Central Retail District (CRD) Plan.  Observers using the newer web version have difficulty following the the discussion where the old page numbering and chapters are being refereed to.

The new Commercial Zoning regulations were discussed, these have not been passed by the voters yet.

The CRD Infrastructure issues were discussed including

  • Bainbridge Rd Straightening
  • Connector Rd (suggestion to be put behind Sears/Marcs
  • Other Connector Rd (behind Bob Evans)
  • Bainbridge Rd widening to 3 lanes west of SOM
  • Requirement that new development have banked cross access, so multiple properties can be accessed with one curb cut
  • Solon Rd widening to 6 lanes
  • Underground Utilities are less unslightly but more expensive, a rather high figure of $1M/quarter mile was used.
The issues of 422 access were discussed.  Solon didn't want Big Box retail, so now its in Bainbridge and we get the traffic.  Could another exit be added to 422 half way between SOM and 306?

Discussions on removing the N&S bridge or converting it to a pedestrian walkway were made, a practical suggestion was to "re-purpose" rather than "remove".

The issue was raised that when the economy bounces back we should be ready for it by concentrating on the CRD, Rob concurred saying that he had planned on covering just the CRD and Ind Core "this time", next time is in six years.

Again the new street signs were discussed.

A Community Attitudes Survey was also discussed.

Next meeting is in 2 weeks, topic will be the Industrial Core, the controversial change of residential to new industrial is likely to be discussed.

Issues observed but not discussed at the meeting include:

  • It is unclear how observers can have input to this process
  • As plan is discussed there are dated items that are not being noted
  • N&S was discussed as a future pedestrian walkway, no mention was made of the much more practical W&LE RR
  • If only the CRD and Ind Core are topics for this time how will we catch up with the 11 missing chapters and 4 documents parts?
  • Minutes are taking about a month to be published
Minutes are here.

Master Plan Feb 24


This meeting consisted of reviewing the first half of the Central Retail District Plan (CRD).

The three shopping centers in the center of town were discussed.

Issues observed but not discussed at the meeting include:

The redevelopment plan for the Sears/Marcs plan shows the entire existing lot, but does not take into consideration three other major Master Plan goals, the straightening of Bainbridge Rd, the Connector Rd parallel to SOM, and the SOM Boulevard plan.

Minutes are here.

Master Plan Feb 10

Feb 10, 2010 was the first meeting of the Solon Master Plan Citizens Input Committee.  There are 10 members, 1 member from each ward, 1 rep from the Planning Commission (Rodger Newberry) and 2 more appointments by the Mayor.  The meeting is headed by Rob Frankland Planning Director with his secretary and Planner 2 in attendance.  Planning Commission Chair Mazur has also been a regular attendee.

The previous Master Plan was in 1975, in 2001 a Citizens Committee was formed and in 2005 there work was done, however the zoning code was even older so Rob worked on that.  Also in 2005 the charter was updated to require a Master Plan review every 6 years.  In 2010, after some discussion and some changes the Master Plan was adopted (2010-218) so it could be reviewed in 2011.

While the Master Plan discussed many issues, 11 of its 27 chapters are missing:

  • First four chapters of the Introduction including
    • Abstract of the city
    • Background and Purpose
    • Summary of process
    • Description of Study Areas
  • Seven chapters of the Future Land Use including
    • Peripheral retail and industrial core plans
    • Residential Plan (mentioned as important at this meeting)
    • Parks, Recreation
    • Community Character
    • Population Growth Mgt (related to Parkstone and Abate controversies)
    • Misc Planning Policies
  • Misc Document Parts including Table of Contents, Index, List of Maps and Charts, and Appendix

Two more chapters, the traffic and sewer engineering studies have been printed for members but are not yet on the web.

Several updates have been made to the Master Plan available on the web, the version now available does not show these missing chapters and all chapter numbers have been removed.

The first meeting was mainly to introduce the members to the Master Planning process.

A new issue, federally mandated street signs was discussed.

When the planning goals (formerly Ch 5) were discussed, a comment was made that these appeared to be Vision Statements and not actionable tasks.

Minutes are here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

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