November 28, 2014

Elyria
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Councilman steps in to push zoning rules toward the fall ballot

NEW RUSSIA TWP. — Faced with the daunting task of trying to put a referendum on the ballot to oppose new zoning codes, residents in New Russia Township sent out a SOS.
To their rescue came the Lorain County Republican Party’s new boy wonder.
Nick Brusky, the 26-year-old Amherst councilman, who was lauded with praise after he successful organized a drive to get the county income tax issue on the ballot to give residents a say, swooped in and rescued the novice members of the New Russia Township Political Action Committee.
“If anyone calls and asks for help, I try to be there,” Brusky said. “That goes not only for the residents in Amherst, but also anyone in the county. That’s just the kind of person I am.”
Brusky said he already knew the uphill battle the township residents faced and was happy to lend a hand. After all, when he first started pulling together friends and associates in his own petition drive, he called on others who had done it before him.
“I guess I’m paying it forward by helping out people in need,” he said. “It’s good for people to have the right to vote on some issues that are important to them. That’s one of the things that make this country great.”
The end result: The PAC far surpassed the 60 signers needed to fulfill their petitions requirements — representatives delivered 414 names during Monday’s trustees meeting.
“A lot of people were very interested in having it go to the vote of the people,” resident Tim Abraham said. “We are still getting calls from people wishing they could have signed the petition.”
Abraham said the petitioners worked hard over the course of the six days from the Tuesday after Memorial Day to Sunday with Brusky as their go-to guy for advice.
“He was a tremendous help from beginning to end,” Abraham said.
The three-member board of trustees will spend the next two weeks reviewing the petitions before they are sent to the Lorain County Board of Elections for further evaluation, trustee Dick Williams said.
Williams described the review by trustees as more of a formality, adding that the petitions likely will head over to the Board of Elections next week with no opposition from trustees.
“We don’t have a problem with people exercising their rights, but I’m confident the zoning code will be upheld as it was written by the township’s Zoning Commission and subsequently passed by the trustees,” he said. “Residents will sign any petition just because you come to the door. But in the next six months, they will read the book and see we are doing what’s in the best interest of the township.”
Abraham knows some names could be thrown out, but he said that probably won’t matter given the number collected. “We have plenty extra to spare,” he said.
“All we ever wanted was a vote of the residents — not to be handed a 241-page book and told to accept it with no say-so,” he said.
While the matter awaits voter approval, Williams said, the township will operate with the old zoning code. Enforcement of the new zoning code will be on hold until after November.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.