NORTH CANTON City council will consult with an outside expert on plans to change the zoning of Fieldcrest Estate.
Council has had ongoing discussions of a plan to create a new Fieldcrest Estate District that would encompass the myriad uses of the 50-acre estate on Easthill Street SE. At Monday's meeting, council briefly reviewed an expert's analysis of that plan.
Last month, the city hired consulting firm Calfee Zoning to review and analyze the proposed district. A consultant from the firm will present that analysis at next week's council meeting.
The city doesn't want this issue to fall through the cracks; "We want to keep it moving," said Director of Administrative Services Patrick DeOrio.
By bringing in the expert next week, Council can work on the issue over its winter break and return in January ready to move on, he said.
Council will not hold its regular Monday meetings Dec. 18, Dec. 25 or Jan. 1. They held back to back meetings Monday.
The city's Planning Commission approved the creation of the Fieldcrest Estate District earlier this year. Council has been discussing that plan since September.
Fieldcrest has been operating outside of city zoning code for years. The property, which once belonged to the Hoover family, hosts several events, has a bed and breakfast, operates a restaurant and shop and can be rented for weddings and other special occasions.
The property is in an area zoned R-7 (single-family residential) and surrounded by homes. It is near the border of Plain Township.
Calfee reviewed North Canton's Master Plan to determine how the proposed district would fit with the city's plans for the future, as well as zoning maps to understand its context with existing properties, DeOrio said, referencing the report.
To view the report, see CantonRep.com.
Calfee recommended that council not approve the new district.
Instead, the firm recommended the city maintain the current residential zoning designation and create a Fieldcrest Historic District overlay district, similar to existing mixed-use zoning districts already in city zoning codes.
The overlay district should contain regulations specific to the unique development and uses of Fieldcrest while maintaining the underlying residential zoning prevalent in the area, the report reads.
This approach would respect existing development and allow for future development that keeps with nearby residential development. It also assures those living in single-family homes around the property that the city won’t abandon or forego the possibility of residential development in favor of commercial development of “uncertain density and intensity” as well as avoid spot zoning, the report reads.
Current uses on the property would become lawful, but any newly established uses would need to be approved.
The overlay district would protect residents and the city in the event that Fieldcrest is sold or the owners go out of business, DeOrio said, adding that such a scenario is unlikely.
Council discussed the creation of a Gold Star Families Memorial Monument.
The monuments, which honor veterans who've died serving in the US military and their families, are created in partnership with the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. Williams is a World War II Medal of Honor recipient who crated the foundation to place Gold Star monuments in every state.
In Ohio, Farfield, Grove City and Medina have Gold Star monuments.
Fundraising is already underway for the North Canton monument and $26,000 is already available for the project, said Dr. Timothy P. Novelli, a North Canton chiropractor and founder of the Patriot Project.
The goal is to get children involved in the effort, he said.
"I want to start getting our young people to realize the sacrifices made on their behalf, on your behalf..." so the understand the importance of respecting military families from a young age, Novelli said.
The city would donate the location for the monument and possibly some work on the site.
Council discussed possible locations for the monument, including in Price Park near the existing Blue Star memorial.
New city administrator
Council approved the appointment of DeOrio as the city's new Director of Administration starting January 8.
Current City Administrator Mike Grimes is retiring.
DeOrio was hired in his current position in January. He was a city councilman from 2005-2011.
In a special council meeting following the regular committee meeting, council adopted several pieces of legislation on emergency (without the requisite three readings):
• An ordinance to correct errors in previous legislation establishing rental rates and policies for city owned facilities.
• An ordinance that would allow employees to donate unused paid leave to fellow employees are “in critical need of leave due to the serious illness of the employee or a member of the employee’s immediate family.” City employees approached administration about donating time to a coworker, said Council President Daniel "Jeff" Peters.
• An ordinance allowing the city to seek quotes for janitorial services.
• An ordinance authorizing the police to donate unclaimed bicycles and bicycle parts to the Salvation Army.
• An ordinance authorizing the city to contract with Canton for legal representation for prosecution of criminal cases in Canton Municipal Court. The city contracts with Canton rather than hiring an in-house city prosecutor.
• An ordinance modifying the city’s municipal income tax code. The legislation reflects changes made at the state level, said Finance Director Laura Brown.
Up next: Meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.