GetGo Put on November Ballot with Some Reservations
Stickan, Hargate raise concerns about project at council meeting
The Highland Heights City Council voted to put the Shoppes at Brainard Crossing/GetGo project on the November ballot as expected, but not without some stiff opposition from two council members at the final regular meeting before breaking for August on Tuesday evening.
Council voted, 5-1, on the ordinance that placed the project on the ballot and voted, 4-2, on the development agreement with the Osborne Capital Group.
Ward 4 Council Member Lisa Marie Stickan voted against both the development agreement and the ordinance, while Edwin Hargate, a council member at large, voted against the development agreement but for the ordinance.
Stickan felt too many elements of the development agreement are unclear for concerned members of her ward and believes the ordinance and agreement are tied together in such a way that she couldn’t split her vote.
Stickan focused particular attention on the project’s signage that has been a problem for her and many in her ward.
“(The sign’s) created a lot of questions in the residents’ mind. It just sort of says Brainard Crossing. It doesn’t reference the GetGo. When that sign went up, there were a lot questions I was fielding about the project: ‘Did it happen already? Was it already approved? Is it including the GetGo?” Stickan said. “The developer needs to be straightforward with the terms of the project.”
Hargate believes the project needed more consideration of other developmental ideas for the property located at the old Catalano grocery store site, not to mention other legal considerations.
“This whole process was done without involvement of a planning expert. It’s essential you have a planning expert involved because not only do they make the agreement better – resolving and taking a look at what issues that are out there – but it is also important to protect the city’s zoning master plan. There could be litigation issues in the future on Wilson Mills Rd. If you don’t do that, you’re weakening the city’s position,” Hargate said.
Hargate also doesn’t believe the project brings true economic development to the city with a gas station bringing minimum wage jobs into the area. Plus it’ll be operating late in the evening which doesn’t appeal to Hargate and some residents.
Murphy reiterated the council’s decision is not an endorsement of the plan and that this is Osborne Capital Group and Giant Eagle’s proposal for Highland Heights residents to examine and vote upon.
Mayor Scott Coleman expressed his support for the ballot measure and said he would sign off on the project if it comes across his desk.
“I think we’ve come a long way with this project. I wanted to thank Mr. (Lance) Osborne for getting involved and listening to the concerns that we had. And it’s addressed most of the concerns the citizens had,” Coleman said. “I think we’re at a point right now where the residents have a right to speak and have a right to voice their opinion.”
Well, one person who certainly was happy Tuesday evening was Lance Osborne of the Osborne Capital Group.
“It’s on the ballot. That’s where we wanted it to be,” Osborne said. “We’ll present our plans to the citizens. It’s a strong plan. It’s the best plan for the city.”
Osborne said again Tuesday that there will be two public meetings to discuss the project with residents, but those have not been scheduled yet.
Murphy said residents will be receiving further information about the project in the mail but didn’t know exactly when it would be sent.