April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Sheffield stalls joint-development zone deal with Lorain

SHEFFIELD — The joint economic development zone agreement between Lorain and Sheffield is on hold.

While not a deal-breaker, Mayor John Hunter said landscaping changes inserted into the agreement by Lorain officials before it was approved by the Lorain City Council last week have stalled passage by Sheffield Council. The changes involve a 50-foot buffer zone, fencing and mounds separating Lorain residential homes from the 45-acre region running north on Colorado Avenue on the east side. Lorain would provide wastewater services to businesses that locate in the zone in Sheffield. The village would be responsible for all construction and maintenance of the sewer facilities of the businesses.

Hunter said after Monday’s Council meeting that the changes would dictate the standards to the village for the buffer zone and fencing.

“If you lived in Amherst, can I go over there and set your standards in Amherst?” Hunter asked. “We’ve got to deal with the issue.”

Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko said the only change was one sentence in the agreement recommending a landscape mound and a fence. Krasienko, who said he’s confident a deal will be reached, said the contract language requests rather than dictates landscaping changes.

Krasienko said east side residents he’s spoken with want more retail options in the neighborhood. “This is something that complements the neighborhood,” he said.

Hunter said he hopes to have a public hearing and deliver the agreement to Council for a vote by July 27 because Council members go on summer break for a month in August. Hunter expressed frustration that negotiations have taken about three years, which he blamed on Lorain officials.

“You come to an agreement, take it to Lorain and they change their minds,” he said. “You say one thing, then we do what you say and then you come back and say, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ ”

Despite the delays, Hunter said he believes an agreement will be reached.

“It’s a win-win situation for Lorain, Sheffield and the property owners,” he said.

“We don’t want to delay it any further. We just want to do it right.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.