November 29, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Council considers land tract for flood control

AVON — City Council is considering rescinding an ordinance that approved plans for a subdivision. Instead, Council might buy the land for stormwater management purposes.

Garland Griffin Homes Inc. initially came to the Avon Planning Commission in April 2013 with plans to build a two phase, 49-home subdivision on 56.8 acres of vacant land along Jaycox and Riegelsberger roads. City Council approved the plans in March.

But the approval didn’t come without complaints from homeowners in nearby Kensington Park Estates, who said the proposed land is known to flood. However, Avon city officials said previously the proposed subdivision would not impact the surrounding floodplain.

But then Mother Nature brought a storm, and with it flooding of the land for the proposed subdivision and nearby Kensington Park Estates.

At Monday night’s City Council work session, Mayor Bryan Jensen said flooding issues, coupled with residents’ concerns, caused the city to change directions. The city now will seek to buy the land for development of a park with stormwater management capabilities — pending a Council decision to rescind the subdivision ordinance.

“Ever since the flooding occurred on May 12, the administration, with Council’s approval, has tried to work with the owner of the property to acquire that piece of land for a passive park,” Jensen said.

Pat Collins, president of the Kensington Park Estates Homeowner’s Association, said residents in his neighborhood didn’t feel another development, or any stormwater retention plans engineers previously presented, would have alleviated flooding.

“Any time there was a heavy storm, our streets got flooded,” Collins said. “You can go ahead and build a castle in a swamp, but it’s still a swamp, and that castle won’t have any value. We hope the city can find a way to use that land to alleviate the amount of water that flows into Kensington.”

Avon law director John Gasior said the city received a letter from the attorney representing Garland Griffin Homes, although he declined to offer specifics as to what the letter said before discussing it with City Council in an executive session.

“They are acknowledging that we want to appropriate the land,” Gasior said.

According to Gasior, the city will negotiate with Garland Griffin Homes to purchase the land. If City Council approves purchasing the land, it will be appraised. Both parties then would negotiate a price based on the appraisal.

According to information on the Lorain County Auditor’s website, Garland Griffin Homes purchased the 56.8 acre parcel on Riegelsberger Road in November for $1.5 million. The auditor’s website said the total market value of the land is $194,390.

Richard Bancroft, a consultant and project manager for Garland Griffin Homes, said the company would “comment when the appropriate time presents itself.”

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.