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After several years of work, the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium released its vision document for the 12-county Northeast Ohio region. The vision makes nine recommendations for improving the future of the region, and identifies 41 initiatives for implementing them. The NEOSCC is collecting signatures from supporters of the vision, and its board is scheduled to vote on the vision's adoption at a February 25 meeting. Marc Lefkowitz of GreenCityBlueLake called it "a path forward that amplifies the good things about our communities."

The 12-county Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium introduced its "business as usual" scenario and hosted a series of public workshops. The "business as usual" scenario presented a vision of how the region would look in 2040 if current development patterns continue. It said that urban sprawl combined with flat population figures would lead to the abandonment of 10.5% of the region's housing stock. Research by Tom Bier of Cleveland State reached a similar conclusion. Nearly 600 people attended the six public workshops, participating in several planning exercises. A Plain Dealer editorial noted that "there's still time to reverse course."

The scenario planning exercise continued with the release of ImagineMyNEO, an interactive tool built on the open-source CrowdGauge framework. It places users in the role of a regional planner, asking them to identify their priorities for the region, select policies and practices, and allot limited resources. The NEOSCC will hold more open houses and workshops later this year.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt drew connections between a series of seemingly-unrelated headlines to outline the "compelling overall narrative" of Northeast Ohio as a region "at odds with itself as it tries to figure out how to meet the 21st century."

The latest report on job sprawl by Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution said that the recession "helped drive a slight uptick in urban core job share in more than half of the nation's largest metro areas between 2007 and 2010." However, job sprawl was more pronounced in the five-county Greater Cleveland area (PDF) from 2000 to 2010. Of the nation's 100 largest metro areas, Greater Cleveland had the 19th-highest share of jobs located in outer-ring communities.

Leaders in Strongsville hope that funding from the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission will be used to build more noise barriers along the Ohio Turnpike and Interstate 71. In addition, a Strongsville city councilman says that the City should pursue funding for a new highway interchange at I-71 and Boston Road.

Steven Litt said that the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is providing the region with "its best shot in decades to come up with a better vision for a more sustainable future that could also shrink the cost of government," but noted that "time is running out for NEOSCC."

Eaton Corp. moved about 700 employees into its new 53-acre campus in the Beachwood portion of the Chagrin Highlands. Its 600,000-square-foot building cost an estimated $170 million and replaces the company's former headquarters in downtown Cleveland. The City of Beachwood expects to gain $600,000 to $850,000 in annual payroll tax revenue.

A new report from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy examined the status of land conservation in a 14-county Northeast Ohio region. It found that the area has preserved about 7% of its land, well below recommended levels. The report also explored farmland preservation, urban sprawl, and other challenges and opportunities. It concluded that "the need to wisely preserve the best of our undeveloped land has never been more urgent."

The new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon opened to the public on December 20. Local officials expect that it will make eastern Avon and Avon Lake more attractive for commercial and residential development. Mayor Smith of Avon called it the hardest thing he'd ever done, and a Sun News editorial called it an example of a successful public-private partnership.

The developer of the planned Edgebrook subdivision in Strongsville hopes to begin construction soon. The 80-unit cluster home development off of Westwood Drive across from Hollo Oval will include a variety of housing styles.

American Greetings announced that it would postpone construction of its new headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake because of the Weiss family's offer to take the company private. Construction had been scheduled to start in early 2013, and the company "believes that the delay will be short". Westlake officials were prepared to issue up to $60 million in bonds to support the project, but currently have little to do.

Civil engineering consultants for the City of Strongsville are updating plans for the second phase of the Foltz Parkway extension project. The project would open about 137 acres in the Strongsville Business and Technology Park for development.

Update: ODOT awarded a $215,000 grant to the City for the extension project.

The revised preliminary development plan for the new American Greetings headquarters building at Crocker Park was approved, first by the Westlake Planning Commission and then by Westlake City Council. The company also will soon receive the second half of $2.5 million state grant.

WCPN reports that most new industrial investments in Ohio are occurring in places other than Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

A study of job accessibility by Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution found that "over three-quarters of all jobs in the 100 largest metropolitan areas are in neighborhoods with transit service" but added that "the typical job is accessible to only about 27 percent of its metropolitan workforce by transit in 90 minutes or less." In the five-county Greater Cleveland area (PDF), the figures were 74.7% and 26.0%, respectively, ranking 42nd and 40th.

Tom Bier continues to deliver his message about urban sprawl and the need for Cuyahoga County to focus on redevelopment, saying that "the only way it can grow its tax base is to redevelop its old core and renew the old places." Meanwhile, Marc Lefkowitz considered what a national shift in housing preferences means to Northeast Ohio.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium launched its Conditions and Trends Platform, a "compilation of research about our region that will allow us to take a collective look at what we are doing as a region and where we seem to be heading." It presents information from the initiative's five work steams for the 12-county Northeast Ohio region, and identified urban sprawl as one of the region's major issues.

Leaders of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium promoted regional cooperation at a recent conference, shared the feedback they gathered (PDF) at a series of events with young leaders, and released an overview (PDF) of their public opinion survey. The survey found that most Northeast Ohioans support sustainability, although few were able to accurately describe the concept. Satisfaction levels were lower among 18 to 24-year-olds. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that the survey "captures welcome signs about a general willingness among residents to change direction." The Consortium has also come under criticism, as board chairman Jason Segedy said that it has yet to address the region's "poor integration between land use and transportation", while Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt questioned its ability to produce meaningful change.

American Greetings unveiled preliminary designs for its planned new headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake. The renderings show a five-story, 650,000-square-foot building. The company plans to break ground in early 2013 and complete construction in mid-2014.

One year into its three-year timeline, the 12-county Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is starting to shift from organization and data collection to public engagement around regional planning and urban sprawl. A Plain Dealer editorial highlighted the need for regional unity, while Marc Lefkowitz wondered whether members will create a new vision and inspire action. Stephen Hambley, Hunter Morrison, and Brad Whitehead discussed the consortium on WCPN's Sound of Ideas. The consortium has held several events for young leaders across Northeast Ohio, and will host an event in Cleveland on May 16.

Update: Steve Hoffman of the Akron Beacon Journal said that "pushing ahead [with regionalism] may be the only option for major metropolitan areas."

Strongsville residents approved a rezoning issue for a proposed Market District supermarket on Pearl Road. Construction of the 110,000-square-foot store could begin as early as July. Opponents said they lacked the time to properly organize. Voters also approved a rezoning for a potential expansion of Strongsville United Church of Christ on Royalton Road.

Giant Eagle modified its plans for a Market District store in Strongsville, increasing the size of the proposed buffer adjacent to neighboring houses. Councilman Matt Schonhut favors the project. The Sun News endorsed the rezoning issue, calling it "a development Strongsville residents can live with." Company officials said they would not come back to voters if the rezoning issue fails.

Update: proponents and opponents of the project are debating its merits.

Giant Eagle increased the size of its proposed new Strongsville supermarket from 92,600 square feet to 110,000 square feet. It would be the first Northeast Ohio store to carry the retailer's Market District name. The first of three public meetings about the plans will be held on January 18 at St. John Neumann Church. Giant Eagle also may be interested in building a Market District store in Lakewood.

Update: more than 200 people attended the public meeting.

Westlake City Council approved a 30-year tax abatement for the planned American Greetings headquarters at Crocker Park. The abatement will begin in 2014, when the new offices are expected to open.

Researchers are the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland examined changes in population densities within metropolitan areas and asked whether they correlated with productivity. They used Greater Cleveland as an example, and said that "evidence suggests that denser MSAs are more productive."

(via Rust Wire)

A 60 Minutes segment looked at the impacts of the housing crisis in Cuyahoga County and at how local governments and residents are responding to foreclosures, abandonment, and underwater mortgages. The Plain Dealer's Brent Larkin also described the struggles. Rob Pitingolo said that exurban housing construction and regional population declines contributed to the problems.

Update: Businessweek also looked at the local housing market.

Construction of the new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is on schedule, and contractors say it should open in spring 2013. The City is still trying to finalize eminent domain agreements with several property owners. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic officially opened its new Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon and closed the Westlake Family Health Center.

Giant Eagle wants to build a 92,600-square-foot supermarket and a gas station on the 13.5-acre Strongsville Golf property on Pearl Road. The new store would replace the existing Giant Eagle next to SouthPark Center. The site's zoning is currently spit between residential and recreation/restaurant classifications, and City Council voted to place the rezoning on the March ballot.

Update: Rust Wire criticized the project, calling it a prime example of urban sprawl.

Funding for the planned new American Greetings headquarters at Crocker Park in Westlake will come from several sources. The Cleveland International Fund intends to raise $65 million for the project, and the state will provide a $15 million loan and a $2.5 million grant. State officials also awarded a $1 million grant to the City for associated road improvements.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week for the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Mayor Smith expressed his frustrations with the long process that led to its approval. Construction is expected to take 18 months. A Morning Journal editorial says it is part of a series of projects "that have made Avon one of Lorain County's most desirable communities".

The first phase of the Pearl Road widening project in Strongsville is complete and the road was officially reopened last week. Mayor Perciak said it would open 500 acres off of Foltz Parkway for industrial development.

MetroHealth will acquire and demolish the 10-story Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare facility adjacent to its main campus in Cleveland. The Ohio Department of Mental Health will provide $3.4 million for demolition and abatement. The psychiatric hospital's patients are being relocated to the facility in Sagamore Hills Township.

A new report from Good Jobs First concludes that property tax incentives fueled urban sprawl in the Cleveland and Cincinnati metropolitan areas. It looks at 63 business relocations in the eight-county Cleveland metropolitan area, and says that "by dispersing jobs away from the two urban cores, the relocations contributed to disparities in wealth and opportunity among localities in the regions. They moved jobs away from areas with higher rates of poverty and people of color to more affluent and less racially diverse areas. And by moving mostly to locations that are not served by public transportation, they denied job opportunities to carless workers and denied thousands more any choice about how to get to work."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the study "adds an important voice to other studies and initiatives, all grounded in the realization that shifting jobs within a region does virtually nothing to advance competitiveness in a global economy." A News-Herald editorial concludes that "Northeast Ohio is better off if community leaders work together to attract new businesses to the region instead of compete against each other for businesses that are already here."

Work on the Cleveland Clinic's $96.3 million Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center is almost finished. The 190,000-square-foot facility will open this month.

Construction of the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is scheduled to begin in September.

Avon City Council approved the issuance of $23.1 million in bonds for the construction of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The financing package does not include assessments against property owners. City Council also approved a funding agreement with the Richard E. Jacobs Group.

Update: Avon City Council passed the final pieces of legislation for the project.

American Greetings notified its employees that it will move its headquarters from Brooklyn to Westlake in 2014. The company plans to build a a 700,000-square-foot complex on a 13-acre site at the southern end of Crocker Park, and is in discussions with the City of Westlake and the Westlake City Schools about a 30-year tax increment financing package. The $100 million development will require about $41 million in infrastructure improvements. Mayor Balbier of Brooklyn said his city made every effort to keep American Greetings, but "can't compete with a wealthy suburb like Westlake."

Update: a Morning Journal editorial said it "should make the entire West Shore region of western Cuyahoga and eastern Lorain counties even more appealing". Roldo Bartimole called it a "big theft of public dollars".

The Center for Neighborhood Technology issued an analysis of the Greater Cleveland economy (PDF). It examines regional strengths and weaknesses, and offers a variety of suggestions. CNT published similar reports for Cincinnati and Columbus.

Update: the Plain Dealer highlighted several of the report's recommendations.

Prompted by a recent blog post and an online conversation, the discussion on this week's Civic Commons radio show centered on urban sprawl. The participants were Angie Schmitt of Rust Wire and economic development professionals Tim Smith of Brunswick and Ralph Waszak of Richfield.

The City of Avon intends to assess 105 property owners for up to a third of the price of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The assessments were not part of the original funding scheme for the interchange, but rising costs have led the City to pursue the assessments. Property owners say that the proposed assessments are unfair, while Mayor Smith counters that they are getting a good deal. Residents opposed to the assessments attended a City Council meeting on Monday and a recent City Council work session.

Best Buy plans to build a 368,060-square-foot distribution center in Streetsboro. The Streetsboro Board of Education approved an eight-year, 100% tax abatement for the development. Payroll processing company Paychex intends to consolidate its offices in Warrensville Heights and Green at a new site in Boston Heights. The Village and the Hudson School District approved a 10-year, 100% tax abatement.

Update: Best Buy is moving its operations from Glenwillow.

The release of Census 2010 population figures prompted a variety of local responses. Dennis Kucinich attributed Cleveland's population decline to the loss of manufacturing jobs, while Bill Callahan drew connections between the population decrease and foreclosure levels. An editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal suggested that "initiatives to rein in expensive sprawl are more important than ever," but a Morning Journal editorial said that "Lorain County needs to capitalize on its growth image".

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial took a more optimistic approach.

The Jacobs Group cleared the trees from a 90-acre site near the intersection of Chester and Center roads in Avon. The company says it is preparing the site for an undecided future development.

As University Hospitals opens its new $298 million Ahuja Medical Center in the Chagrin Highlands, the Plain Dealer looked at the hospital's evidence-based design features, usage of new technologies, and its attention to wellness and green building. The 53-acre campus features 144 patient rooms, and has space for two additional towers that could bring the total to 600 rooms. Steven Litt contrasted the hospital's advanced design and construction techniques with its automobile-oriented location in suburban Beachwood.

Avon City Council added two sites to the list of properties the City is seeking to acquire through eminent domain for the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, bringing the total to 14 properties. Mayor Smith of Avon wants the City to manage construction of the interchange instead of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and a Morning Journal editorial says that state leaders should consider the proposal.

Update: the City reached an agreement to purchase the two properties.

Fairlawn leaders are concerned about plans to build new Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in neighboring Copley Township, and may close two roads in an effort to keep the stores in Fairlawn. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart recently completed a 46,000-square-foot expansion of its Macedonia store, and Giant Eagle hopes to build a 14,184-square-foot expansion of its Brunswick store.

The City of Avon has been unable to reach purchase agreements with the owners of 12 properties needed for the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. Avon City Council yesterday voted to begin the eminent domain process for acquiring the land.

Update: the Sun Sentinel and the Press of Avon Lake have more details.

An Akron Beacon Journal article summarized the recent AMATS study on the proposed relocation of the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in Montrose. An editorial says that "the challenge is for communities to examine together the impact of the proposed move."

A new traffic congestion report from CEOs for Cities offers a critique of the Urban Mobility Report and presents an alternative methodology. The report by Joe Cortright offers "a new view of urban transportation performance. It explores the key role that land use and variations in travel distances play in determining how long Americans spend in peak hour travel." He adds that the Urban Mobility Report "has a number of key flaws that misstate and exaggerate the effects of congestion, and it ignores the critical role that sprawl and travel distances play in aggravating peak period travel."

While the City of Avon has reached purchase agreements with many of the 31 property owners at the site of the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road, it is preparing to take 11 of them to court in an effort to determine a purchase price. Avon City Council also approved expanding the interchange TIF district to encompass 116 parcels.

Update: the Press of Avon Lake has more details.

The Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology continues to advance its BUILT in Ohio initiative, and recently convened stakeholders in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus to discuss smart growth policies.

The Geauga County General Plan Survey (PDF) found that Geauga County voters enjoy the area's small town atmosphere, greenspace, and access to urban amenities, but dislike rapid uncontrolled growth and high taxes.

At Streetsblog Capitol Hill, Angie Schmitt described how decades of urban sprawl have damaged Greater Cleveland and the small hope offered by the Northeast Ohio application for a federal regional planning grant.

An Akron developer has proposed building a retail development on Rothrock Road in Copley Township, possibly to attract the Wal-Mart store from neighboring Fairlawn. Rothrock Road Retail Center would consist of a 147,806-square-foot building and a 136,367-square-foot building. Fairlawn officials are leery of losing the store, and residents in Copley are concerned about the impacts of new development.

Update: AMATS published the Rothrock Road/Montrose Planning Study. It's intended to "offer a clear‐headed, fair‐minded, and accurate planning‐level assessment of the likely consequences that the development and eventual build‐out of the west side of Rothrock Road will have on the transportation system in Montrose."

Plans for the Twinsburg Fashion Place lifestyle center remain stalled. A representative of the developer said that the project is not dead.

Brunswick leaders attended an International Council of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas, and repeated that a "major outdoor retailer" has plans to build in the city by 2011.

The City of Avon will levy special assessments against more than 100 property owners near the planned new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The tax will cover $9 million of the $28 million project. Property owners object to the assessments.

Update: land acquisition for the interchange is underway.

Strongsville officials are marketing a 169-acre property at the end of Foltz Parkway in the Strongsville Business and Technology Park. Another 300-acre site is adjacent to the city-owned property. The area is the largest greenfield site in Cuyahoga County.

Eaton broke ground on its new headquarters campus at the Chagrin Highlands in Beachwood. The Jacobs Group intends to begin work at the site next week.

Officials in Brunswick and Brunswick Hills Township hope to encourage commercial development along the Pearl Road corridor in Medina County. They remain interested in creating a joint economic development district.

Avon City Council may soon approve the proposed tax increment financing district for the area around the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

The Jacobs Group filed initial site plans for Eaton's planned campus in the Beachwood portion of the Chagrin Highlands. In addition to the 10-story headquarters building, the plans call for a five-story parking garage and a 59,000-square-foot fitness center.

Update: the Plain Dealer published more information about the proposal.

The next Levin College Forum is about land use law. It's titled Legal Implications of Zoning Decisions for Smart Planning and Development, and will take place on March 26.

Eaton shared a rendering of the headquarters building for its planned 53-acre campus at the Chagrin Highlands in Beachwood. The company plans to begin building the 470,000-square-foot structure in early 2011.

The City of Brunswick will use $16 million in federal Recovery Zone bonds for a $114 million, 83-acre retail development at I-71 and State Route 303. It will include "the only Northeast Ohio store for a renowned national outdoor retailer." City officials did not identify the company, but previously had been in negotiations with Cabela's.

Update: the Brunswick Sun has more details.

The planned I-90 interchange (PDF) at Nagel Road in Avon was one of five Ohio highway projects placed on an accelerated timetable by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Construction is now scheduled to begin in 2011 and end in late 2012, about a year earlier than originally planned.

The Compact with Ohio Cities Task Force, a 29-member group chaired by Ohio Representative Mike Foley, unveiled a report that recommends state policy changes (PDF) to foster smart growth and redevelopment. The task force's primary conclusion was that "the existing paradigm of single-jurisdictional planning is not only antiquated, but also harmful to every community in Ohio." Its list of recommendations includes restructuring tax incentive programs and allowing municipalities to jointly establish transportation innovation authorities.

Officials in Lake County hope to conduct a balanced growth plan for the eastern part of the county.

The Cleveland Clinic broke ground today for its new Avon Family Health & Surgery Center near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The 186,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2011. Earlier this month, the Clinic began construction of a location in Twinsburg.

Update: the Morning Journal and Chronicle-Telegram have more details. A Morning Journal editorial says that its construction will be good for Avon.

The Cleveland Clinic held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 5 for the $96 million Twinsburg Family Health & Surgery Center. The 190,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2011.

A new report from Policy Matters Ohio examined the distribution patterns of transportation projects funded by federal stimulus dollars. One of its findings is that 63% of the funds distributed by the state's metropolitan planning organizations went to suburban and exurban projects. The report recommends reviewing decision-making processes to ensure that MPOs do not encourage urban sprawl.

On November 5, the Cleveland Clinic will break ground for the first building at its new Twinsburg medical campus. Construction of the $71 million outpatient surgery and medical office building is scheduled to finish in fall 2011.

Eaton Corp. closed on its purchase of 53 acres in the Beachwood portion of the Chagrin Highlands for its new headquarters campus. The price was not revealed.

Update: the Ohio Treasurer's Office issued $10 million in bonds for the project.

A $16 million gift from the Mandel family will fund the move of the Jewish Community Federation from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood.

Smart Growth for Coastal & Waterfront Communities is a new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It presents 10 elements that "augment the existing smart growth principles to reflect the specific challenges and opportunities characterizing the waterfront."

(via Kaid Benfield)

Over 500 acres of the Geauga Lake property are still for sale, although Cedar Fair officials say that the company has not recently received offers for the land. A Bainbridge Township trustee wants to develop a plan for the area.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the new Compact with Ohio Cities Task Force could generate recommendations to refocus and simplify state incentive programs to encourage reinvestment in urban areas instead of urban sprawl.

The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority unanimously voted to issue up to $150 million in bonds to enable the move of Eaton Corp. from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood.

The Brookings Institution posted the text of Bruce Katz's remarks at the recent Restoring Prosperity to Cleveland Mini-Summit.

Over 400 people attended the Restoring Prosperity to Cleveland Mini-Summit on Monday. Keynote speaker Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution made suggestions for improving Ohio's competitiveness through government reform, and urged state leaders to target investments in urban areas instead of spreading them around "like peanut butter."

Eaton Corp. shared initial plans for its new headquarters at a Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority meeting yesterday. The plans include a 470,000-square-foot headquarters building and 220,400-square-foot parking garage. Eaton wants the Port Authority to agree to a complicated financing deal that would enable the company to move from downtown Cleveland to a 53-acre campus in the Beachwood portion of the Chagrin Highlands.

A Restoring Prosperity to Cleveland Mini-Summit will be held at Cleveland State on June 8. The event is part of the Restoring Prosperity to Ohio Initiative of the Brookings Institution and Greater Ohio. The Brookings Institution's Bruce Katz will be the keynote speaker.

The City of Beachwood will build a half-mile road for Eaton's planned new headquarters in the Chagrin Highlands. Half of the funding for Spectrum Parkway West will come from a state grant.

While automakers have favored suburban locations for car dealers in recent years, the recently announced Chrysler dealer closings appear to indicate a preference for exurban dealerships. Of the 14 Greater Cleveland dealerships slated to close, eight are in Cuyahoga County. Only four will remain open in Cuyahoga County.

The Ohio EPA approved the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans to build a medical campus on an 88-acre site in Twinsburg. The property includes high-quality wetlands, which will be protected (PDF) by a 37-acre conservation easement. Construction of the hospital has been delayed by the poor economy, and the Clinic has not set a start date.

University Circle Incorporated President Chris Ronayne wrote a Plain Dealer op-ed in which he calls on local leaders to adopt a smart growth strategy that includes city-county consolidation, regional tax sharing, and changes to state policies that enable urban sprawl.

A Plain Dealer editorial on the new job sprawl report from the Brookings Institution concludes that "metropolitan areas are America's economic engines, and as long as the cores are eroding, it will be harder to create and sustain jobs."

While the Cleveland Catholic Diocese is closing churches in urban areas, ground was broken for a new Catholic church in exurban Grafton. Parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Peace have been raising funds for the construction of the new $3 million facility.

Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution analyzed data from 1998 to 2006 to update research on job sprawl in 98 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. She found that private sector employment continued to decentralize. Over 45% of employees work more than 10 miles away from downtowns, compared to the 21% who work within three miles of city centers. Greater Cleveland was one of 53 large metropolitan areas classified as experiencing rapid decentralization, with 45.7% of jobs located more than 10 miles away and 16.2% of jobs located within three miles of downtown as of 2006.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese released the full list of parishes that will close or merge over the next 15 months. In the eight-county Diocese, 29 churches will close and 41 others will merge to form 18 new parishes. In Cuyahoga County, 38 churches will close or merge. Most are in the City of Cleveland. The Plain Dealer mapped the downsizing plans, while WKSU and WCPN looked at the adaptive reuse of former church buildings. WCPN also devoted Monday's Sound of Ideas program to a discussion of the Diocese's plans.

Citing the need to be fiscally responsible, the Cleveland Clinic announced that it will delay the start of construction of planned new medical centers in Twinsburg and Avon. CEO Toby Cosgrove said that the Clinic remains committed to the facilities.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

The Plain Dealer examined the 2007 Census of Agriculture's figures for the seven-county Greater Cleveland area. The region lost 100,000 acres farmland between 2002 and 2007, 20% of the total supply. Cuyahoga and Summit counties saw some the most rapid drops in Ohio, while Lorain and Medina counties experienced some of the state's highest losses of agricultural land.

The Edgar Farm in Valley View, one of the farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, will be offered for lease through the Countryside Initiative later this year.

Beachwood City Council, Eaton Corp., and two school districts agreed to a 30-year tax increment financing package for the company's planned new headquarters in the Chagrin Highlands. The State of Ohio has already committed $71 million in tax breaks and loans to facilitate the company's move from downtown Cleveland.

Update: The Plain Dealer reports that the combined incentives are worth more than $90 million.

The Jacobs Group dropped its plans to build retail on a 30-acre portion of the former Geauga Lake site in Bainbridge Township after the development's would-be anchor store pulled out of the project.

Update: Crain's Cleveland Business has more details.

Laketran gave its inaugural Smart Growth Award to the City of Wickliffe for the way it has adopted transit-oriented development practices.

North Ridgeville City Council rejected a rezoning request for the proposed 218-acre Hampton Place subdivision. They also extended a moratorium on planned community developments for 90 days.

The Bainbridge Township Trustees are preparing for a legal challenge of the Township's large-lot residential zoning. In North Ridgeville, City Council is evaluating planned community development legislation. A Council committee recommended extending a moratorium on planned community developments.

Population growth in North Ridgeville is straining the resources of the school district's bus fleet. Meanwhile, police departments in Geauga and Lake counties are struggling to deal with a crime rate that has increased along with their populations.

Cleveland Clinic representatives presented plans for the first phase of a family health center to the Avon Planning Commission on Wednesday. The Clinic wants to build a 120,000-square-foot health facility and a 61,000-square-foot surgery center, plus a 900-space parking lot.

The City of Twinsburg will hire a consultant to help analyze the costs and benefits of the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center. The results will inform City officials in anticipated tax increment financing negotiations.

The Jacobs Group is under contract to purchase 30 acres of the 540-acre Geauga Lake site from Cedar Fair. The property is in Bainbridge Township, and the company intends develop it as big box retail.

Update: the Aurora Advocate has more information.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted plans for the first phase of a new heath center in Avon on 40 acres near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The plans show an 181,000-square foot facility with medical offices and an outpatient surgical center.

Summa Health System is continuing with its plans to build a hospital in northern Summit County's Route 8 corridor, despite opposition from Akron General. Industry analysts say that Summa's strategy is to compete with the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals systems.

Regional groups of parishes in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese submitted plans for consolidating churches to the Vibrant Parish Life Committee. The greatest reduction in parishes will be in the City of Cleveland, where recommendations call for closing up to 26 of the 61 parishes. Bishop Lennon will make the final decision on closings next March.

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution and Lavea Brachman of Greater Ohio say that "Ohio policies stack the deck against core communities, systematically favoring the growth of new places over the redevelopment of older ones and failing to leverage the assets in these places in any coherent way" and that state programs and policies should "identify and build on the key assets that drive prosperity in the places where they occur."

While market conditions have forced the cancellation of some proposed retail projects, developers of the upscale Twinsburg Fashion Place in Summit County and the Cedar Center redevelopment in South Euclid are proceeding with their plans.

The North Ridgeville Planning Commission approved the preliminary plan for Hampton Place, a 218 acre planned unit development to be built north of Center Ridge Road. The plans call for the subdivision to include 540 to 550 single-family homes and cluster houses.

While black churches are facing pressure to follow their congregants to the suburbs, many of them remain committed to their Cleveland neighborhoods. The Plain Dealer used a multimedia presentation to illustrate the role of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Fairfax.

The Jacobs Group purchased almost 200 acres this summer near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, but has not revealed its plans for the area. Mayor Smith thinks that the company is planning "something big."

Eaton is reluctant to move to the Flats because the nine acre site on the east bank is too small for the campus the company intends to build. Mayor Jackson said that the City did all it could to keep the company's headquarters in downtown Cleveland, but a Plain Dealer analysis notes that Jackson's emphasis on regionalism left him with little room to protest a move to Beachwood. The City and Port Authority are looking at other development options for the Waterfront loop property.

In a statement (PDF) released today, Eaton Corp. revealed that a location in the Chagrin Highlands is the leading candidate for the company's new headquarters. A site in the Flats east bank development was previously thought to be the most likely location. Mayor Jackson said that while he is disappointed, he respects the decision.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial says that Cleveland leaders must attempt to keep the company downtown. WKSU's Kevin Niedermier spoke with Frank Jackson about the news.

Over 1,000 people attended the Restoring Our Prosperity Policy Summit in Columbus yesterday to discuss the economic competitiveness of Ohio's cities. A recurring theme of the initiative, a project of the Brookings Institution and Greater Ohio, was the need for intergovernmental partnerships.

A preliminary report issued in conjunction with the event says that "state policies have failed to keep pace with the changing dynamics of today's social, environmental, and economic reality" and identifies strategies for reinvigorating Ohio's 32 "core communities". The final report will be delivered in January.

The Jewish Community Federation's Building Committee will recommend moving the agency's headquarters from downtown Cleveland to Beachwood, while maintaining an undefined presence in downtown Cleveland. A Plain Dealer editorial says the the headquarters should remain downtown. The full board is scheduled to vote on the move this afternoon.

Update: the board of trustees voted to move the offices to Beachwood.

Leaders of the Jewish Community Federation appear to favor moving its headquarters to Beachwood, despite advocacy for the existing downtown Cleveland location.

Supporters of a downtown headquarters for the Jewish Community Federation proposed an expansion its downtown offices into a campus as an alternative to the proposal to move the headquarters to Beachwood.

Cedar Fair may postpone the sale of large portions of the former Geauga Lake site because the company feels that the offers for the land are too low. The delay could provide more time for the roller coaster enthusiasts seeking to preserve the Big Dipper.

The Avon Planning Commission approved plans for the planned new YMCA and for Heritage Village, a 79,000 square foot shopping center proposed for Detroit Road.

Some residents and leaders in North Ridgeville object to a pair of proposals from developers who want to build around 900 units of housing on the City's south side.

A pair of Downtown Dialogues were held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings about "the future of Jewish life downtown" and the "priorities for reaching that vision." The Jewish Community Federation is contemplating a move from its downtown Cleveland headquarters to Beachwood, an option opposed by an ad hoc group of Jewish citizens. Steven Litt also feels that its headquarters should remain downtown.

Yesterday, the Avon Planning Commission approved two rezonings for properties owned by the Jacobs Group. Both are near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The panel recommended rezoning a five acre parcel and two-thirds of a 104 acre property from office to multi-use.

The Twinsburg Township Trustees unanimously voted to rezone the site of the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center from residential and neighborhood commercial to interchange mixed use.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin supplies more details.

Cedar Fair is in negotiations with three companies for the sale of the former Geauga Lake site. They reached an agreement with an unidentified buyer for Geauga Lake Hotel and the 11 acres that surround it. Another company is interested in building retail on 100 acres on the west end of the property, and a third wants to build housing on 440 acres between the other two areas. Meanwhile, roller coaster enthusiasts are pessimistic about the future of the historic Big Dipper.

The Sun Press examined the causes of population declines in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights and how leaders have reacted to the changes.

One homeowner on the site of the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center is refusing to sell her house. Developer Dr. Bahman Guyuron said that "the project is going to go forward, whether she cooperates or not."

If the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland moves its headquarters to the suburbs from downtown Cleveland, Cleveland State University has expressed an interest in using the existing building for offices. It was built in 1965 and designed by noted modernist architect Edward Durell Stone.

The Richard E. Jacobs Group purchased an 89 acre property near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Earlier this year, the property was rezoned for commercial development. The company is also pursuing a purchase and rezoning of a neighboring 110 acre site.

The planned retail development on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club continues to be a source of controversy, and a Boston Heights resident is now suing the Village for overriding last year's referendum issue.

The Village of Boston Heights settled a lawsuit with the developers seeking to build on the former Boston Heights Country Club site. The settlement (PDF) allows the developers to construct retail and office space on 100 acres of the 160 acre property.

In this week's Free Times, Bruce Fisher writes about urban sprawl and the presidential candidates' lack of attention to urban issues.

Avon City Council recently approved two rezoning requests for land near the planned I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. An 18 acre site at Jaycox and Chester Roads was rezoned to permit commercial development, and a 32 acre site at Nagel Road and I-90 was rezoned from residential to general business. City Council tabled two other rezoning requests for properties at Center and Detroit Roads that are involved in a legal battle.

The Village of Boston Heights reached a tentative settlement (PDF) with the developer seeking to build big box retail and possibly a hospital on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club. Village leaders approved a similar development last spring, but it was rejected by voters in a November referendum issue. The developer responded by suing the Village. Residents are now considering litigation of their own.

At a public hearing in Twinsburg Township, some residents expressed their support for the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center, but were concerned that the City of Twinsburg might attempt to annex the property. Developer Bahman Guyuron characterized the situation as a race between his project and the proposed mixed-use Central Parc development in Solon.

Central Parc is facing a potential delay due to issues surrounding the planned expansion of a stormwater detention basin near North Huntington Drive. The development could also create increased costs for the City due to the projected need to hire additional safety personnel.

The Musical Arts Association is interested in selling 600 acres at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but the Park cannot afford to purchase the land. Park officials are also concerned about the possible sale and development of the privately-owned Brandywine Golf Course in Peninsula. America's Heritage For Sale, a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association, says that the Park needs $8 million to purchase the properties.

Update: the Plain Dealer published a map and additional details. WKSU also reported on the issue.

The Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission is considering a rezoning request by the developer of the proposed 803,731 square foot Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center. The Zoning Commission is also contemplating the development's traffic implications. Developer Bahman Guyuron wants to begin construction as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. says that his proposed Central Parc development in Solon needs to be built first in order to reach its full economic potential.

This week's Twinsburg Sun asks many questions about Twinsburg Fashion Place, the proposed lifestyle center in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. Representatives of the developer will appear at the Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission meeting on Monday.

The City of Avon has seen a great deal of recent retail development, and more stores are planned or under construction. Additional requests for retail rezonings (PDF) have prompted some observers to ask if the area is at a saturation point.

Plans for the Twinsburg Fashion Place lifestyle center were unveiled yesterday. The proposed $100 million retail development would sit on 95 acres in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. Developers asserted that the project could create 1,200 jobs.

Update: the Plain Dealer gathered reactions to the announcement.

Developer Greg Romes of Lake Pointe Construction plans to demolish the former Avon Center School on Detroit Road to make way for a shopping center. The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1910.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County will spend $150,000 on efforts to reduce the impacts of increased stormwater runoff on Furnace Run and its Rock Creek tributary.

Akron-based Summa Health System and a group of Medina-based doctors yesterday announced plans to build a 75,000 square foot outpatient medical complex on Route 18 in Medina and Montville Township. The plans follow the local trend of medical facility construction in exurban areas.

The board of the Macedonia and Northfield Center Township JEDD approved funding for the Route 8 corridor land use study. The board also voted to nullify an annexation agreement that it ratified last year for the proposed soccer stadium complex.

By February 1, the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce is expected to select a consultant to prepare a land use study for the Route 8 corridor between Highland Road and Hines Hill Road in Macedonia and Northfield Center Township.

The planned construction of an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon prompted rezoning requests from developers wanting to build on surrounding properties. The Avon Planning Commission heard requests to rezone 120 nearby acres for retail space and medical offices.

Summa Health System and Western Reserve Hospital Partners have proposed building a new hospital at an undetermined location in northern Summit County's Route 8 corridor. The construction would join a planned Cleveland Clinic facility and a new University Hospitals facility in Twinsburg.

Yesterday, Avon City Council approved a tax increment financing package for the area along Chester Road between Center and Nagel Roads. Revenues from the 30-year TIF will be used to pay for roughly ⅓ of the planned Nagel Road interchange. Another third will be funded by municipal bonds, and the final third by the Jacobs Group.

Tuesday's Plain Dealer pointed out air quality concerns about the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon that was approved in October. Greater Cleveland must reduce air pollution to meet federal standards, and some are concerned that continued urban sprawl will create more problems.

Because Boston Heights voters rejected the retail development proposal for the site of the former Boston Hills County Club, the developer's $10 million lawsuit against the Village will continue. He says that the issue left the property without an economically viable use.

Recent and planned medical center construction by the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals has been exclusively in suburban and exurban communities, and not in the region's core cities. The Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, continues to reshape its main campus in Cleveland. Steven Litt notes that "it's far too soon to judge how good a job the Clinic is doing architecturally," but "it is a good time to start gathering impressions and to hear about the Clinic's design goals."

In Boston Heights, two retail zoning issues will appear on next Tuesday's ballot as the result of referendums. Issue 51 is a vote on the retail rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club, and Issue 52 is about adding big box stores as a conditional use in retail business districts.

Up to $40,000 has been made available to conduct an economic development study for the site of the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia. Mayor Kuchta stated that he would prefer the development to remain on hold until the study is completed.

The NOACA Governing Board passed a resolution (PDF) approving the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, contingent upon the establishment of a revenue sharing plan. Prospective membership in the joint economic development zone was expanded to include eight Lorain County communities. Cleveland officials called the agreement "a giant step toward regional cooperation," but others feel that it may lead to NOACA's demise.

(Update: The Morning Journal and Plain Dealer have more details.)

Avon leaders offered a compromise agreement intended to end the controversy over the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. In exchange for approving the interchange, an 800 acre joint economic development zone in Avon would be created by Avon, Cleveland, and six western Cuyahoga County suburbs. Under the proposal, if a company with a payroll of more than $1 million were to move from one of the member cities to the Avon development zone, the two cities would evenly split its income tax revenue for five years. A Plain Dealer editorial says that the "region needs a coherent development strategy."

(Update: The Plain Dealer and Chronicle-Telegram report that officials are close to reaching a deal.)

The NOACA Governing Board is scheduled to vote on Friday on the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, and Cleveland officials requested a weighted vote. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County leaders say they will vote to disapprove the interchange unless a revenue sharing plan "that addresses the negative economic impacts on surrounding communities" is implemented. Two Lorain County commissioners responded by threatening to withdraw from NOACA.

Frank Jackson said that he's "not trying to pick a fight" over the interchange, but Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien and a Morning Journal editorial disagree with the tactics of Cuyahoga County leaders. Critics of NOACA say that the agency has not done enough to promote regional planning efforts.

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove again asserted that the Clinic intends to build a facility in Avon, regardless of whether the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road is approved.

WCPN reported on the continuing controversy over the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, and devoted yesterday's Sound of Ideas program to a discussion of the issue, asking, "Are we coming together as a region, or are we still tied to parochial interests?" Also yesterday, Elyria City Council declined to vote on a resolution opposing the interchange.

At his lecture at Case Western Reserve yesterday, Robert Bruegmann said that urban sprawl is neither new nor bad. He was also optimistic about Cleveland's future, saying, "Unless the opportunity is squandered, unless the remarkable investment in assets is squandered, Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are poised to do very remarkable things in the 21st century."

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta declared that "the stadium issue is dead." He said a lack of investments from developers of the proposed soccer stadium complex and an environmental impact study performed by the National Park Service changed his mind about the project.

Professor Robert Bruegmann will give a free public lecture titled "Cleveland and Sprawl: A Global Perspective" on September 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the Thwing Center ballroom at Case Western Reserve University. His most recent book, Sprawl: A Compact History, offers a contrarian view of urban sprawl.

On Monday, several Cleveland Heights councilmembers spoke out against the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

The Jacobs Group has begun the construction of Avon Crossing, a 270,000 square foot shopping center at I-90 and State Route 83. It will be anchored by a 140,000 square foot Lowe's and a 100,000 square foot J.C. Penney store.

A Morning Journal editorial says that fighting the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon is "the worst thing Elyria City Council could do for their town's future."

At the request of the City of Avon, the NOACA Governing Board postponed a vote on the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road until October 12. On Friday, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove spoke in support of the interchange, while Elyria Mayor Bill Grace stated his opposition. The City of Cleveland submitted a written response (MS Word) to the final economic assessment (PDF, 14 MB) prepared by consultants. Elyria City Council, meanwhile, will consider a resolution opposing the interchange at its October 1 meeting.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta expects that the proposed soccer stadium complex will not be built in the near future. He also wants to conduct an economic development study for the Route 8 corridor.

(Update: The News-Leader has more details.)

This week's West Shore Sun and West Life News summarize the vigorous debate over the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

At a public forum in Elyria last night, consultants for NOACA presented preliminary results of their impact analysis of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. They said that the interchange (PDF) would benefit Avon and have no material impacts on surrounding areas. Officials from Cuyahoga County communities disagreed, and said that it would hasten urban sprawl. A Morning Journal editorial again portrayed Cuyahoga County leaders as obstructionists.

The Plain Dealer examined the impacts of acute outmigration on Cleveland neighborhoods, explored the strategies proposed by shrinking cities advocates, and looked at the reactions from Cleveland politicians.

NOACA's Transportation Advisory Committee approved the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon by a vote of 19-11. The economic impact assessment for the controversial proposal should be completed by September 7, and the agency's Governing Board is scheduled to vote on September 14.

Summit County leaders want more information about the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia before they decide whether to put a sin tax for the stadium on the ballot.

On Friday, NOACA consultants presented a progress report (PDF) on the economic impact assessment for the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. The Cleveland Clinic announced their support of the controversial interchange, and unveiled plans for a nearby 170,000 square foot facility. NOACA will hold a public meeting about the interchange on August 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Spitzer Conference Center in Elyria, and approval of the proposal is on the August 17th agenda of the NOACA Transportation Advisory Committee.

The City of Avon and Lake Pointe Construction have been unable to resolve their differences about the proposed residential to retail rezoning of about 24 acres at the southeast corner of Detroit and Center Roads, and the lawsuit is growing more complicated.

Developers of the proposed soccer stadium and retail development scaled back the complex to 125 acres in Macedeonia and dropped the proposed annexation of 200 acres of Northfield Township.

John Cole, the editor of the Morning Journal, is unhappy that NOACA is conducting an analysis (PDF, 38 MB) of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, saying, "The deliberate sand-bagging of legitimate Lorain County projects in the name of urban sprawl or noise pollution or whatever fabricated nonsense by the assorted mayors and commissioners of Cuyahoga County is reprehensible."

Summit County Council decided not to place a sin tax for the proposed soccer stadium on the November ballot. Officials felt that the timing was wrong because there are two other countywide levies on the November ballot. The sin tax may appear on the March ballot. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that it was a wise decision.

The developer of a proposed shopping center on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club filed a complaint in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. The complaint asks for $10 million from the Village of Boston Heights if residents are successful in an effort to get the retail rezoning on the ballot via referendum.

Officials from Macedonia and Northfield Center Township reached a tentative agreement that calls for Macedonia to annex more than 200 acres along Route 8 south of Highland Road for the proposed soccer stadium complex. On August 6, Summit County Council is expected to vote on placing the proposed sin tax on the November ballot.

(Update: annexation talks are continuing, and Summit County Council has not yet voted on the sin tax proposal.)

The Sun has additional reactions from public officials about the status report on the potential impacts of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

Consultants presented preliminary results of the economic impact study for the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. If the interchange is built, they anticipate significant land use changes in the surrounding area, including up to 110 acres of new retail development. Avon officials disagree with the findings. The full study is scheduled to be completed in September.

(Update: Cuyahoga County officials are concerned that the interchange could exacerbate urban sprawl.)

The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque will show Radiant City, a Canadian documentary about urban sprawl on August 30 and September 2.

Bahman Guyuron, a Lyndhurst-based plastic surgeon, wants to build a shopping center on 90 acres in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. He owns all but one property in the area south of I-480 and east of Hadden Road, and the Twinsburg Township Trustees initiated the process to acquire the remaining property via eminent domain in March. The development would require the Twinsburg Township portion to be rezoned from residential to commercial, and Guyuron also wants the City and Township to establish a JEDD.

By a vote of 3-2, Macedonia City Council approved a controversial 100%, 30 year tax increment financing package for the proposed Mary Maria senior housing complex. The TIF will be used to fund the construction of a road connecting Valley View Road to Route 82.

Rich Cochran of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy said that Northeast Ohio needs to preserve an additional 200,000 acres of parks and greenspace, and called urban sprawl the biggest threat to the region and its quality of life.

A free public screening of the Lincoln Institute documentary on Cleveland will be held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Auditorium on June 27 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.

(Update: The Brooklyn Sun Journal has more details.)

Developer Paul Garofolo presented his plans for the proposed soccer stadium complex to Summit County Council on Monday. In addition to the retractable roof stadium, the plans call for a large retail component, a medical campus, and hotel development. He said the project could bring as much as $12 billion dollars to the county over the next 30 years.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial concludes that Summit County Council "must have a clear understanding of the net benefit before giving their approval" to a sin tax issue to support the proposed soccer stadium complex.

Summit County Council unanimously approved a tax increment financing agreement with a developer planning to build a road as part of a senior housing complex in Macedonia. City Council has not voted on the proposal.

Yesterday, a resolution for a sin tax to support the proposed Summit County soccer stadium complex was introduced in Summit County Council. The 35-year tax on cigarettes, wine, and beer would be used to raise $100 million for the development of the 400 acre site in Macedonia and Northfield Center Township. The proposed tax will appear on the November ballot if it's approved by August 23.

Macedonia City Council is considering a proposed tax increment financing package for public improvements in a new senior housing complex.

Trulia Hindsight displays an animated map of residential properties, color coded by year of construction. The map for Greater Cleveland shows the outward migration of residential construction.

(via information aesthetics)

Target has expressed an interest in building a store on an 11.23 acre property at the southwest corner of the Brunswick Town Square development. Plans for the project earlier called for the construction of 141 townhouses on the site.

Developers of the proposed northern Summit County soccer stadium complex asked the board of the Nordonia Hills City Schools District to extend the 2006 compensation agreement until June 30, 2008. The agreement expired last December. Developer Paul Garofolo indicated that he hopes to seek voter approval for public funding of a retractable dome for the proposed stadium in November.

Today's Plain Dealer includes a look at the growth of Brunswick and the efforts of municipal officials to encourage development.

Yesterday, Boston Heights residents delivered referendum petitions to the Village regarding the rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club. If the signatures are certified, the issue may appear on the November ballot.

Boston Heights Village Council approved a controversial rezoning of the former Boston Hills County Club, rezoning almost 66 acres from residential to retail. Developers want to build a shopping center on the rezoned portion of the site and 100 houses on the remaining area. Residents opposed to the development plan to fight the rezoning.

Boston Heights Village Council is considering raising the maximum permitted size of single-story retail establishments from 50,000 square feet to 125,000 square feet. If approved, it would permit the construction of proposed big box stores.

The latest US Census Bureau county population estimates show continued population losses in Greater Cleveland. Between July 2005 and July 2006, Cuyahoga County lost an estimated 16,187 people, and the seven county area lost 11,475. Medina County was again Northeast Ohio's fastest-growing county, with an estimated 12.1% population increase since 2000. Cleveland.com provides an interactive map showing population change in Ohio between 2000 and 2006.

(Update: Paul Oyaski and Mark Rosentraub discussed the figures with Regina Brett on Friday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN.)

On Monday, Bay Village City Council passed a resolution of support for the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon.

(Update: the Sun Herald has more details.)

On Friday, the NOACA Governing Board approved an RFP for an economic impact study of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. The study will investigate the interchange's effects on employment and wages, tax base, and public services.

NOACA staff will present plans for their study of the I-90 interchange proposal to the NOACA Governing Board for approval or modification this month. Traffic engineering consultants for the City of Avon say that traffic projections predict levels of service of D, E, and F by 2030 if the Nagel Road interchange is not built, and a level of service C if it is constructed.

Plain Dealer columnist Kevin O'Brien asserts that NOACA should allow construction of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon, because a refusal would impinge on the rights of individuals to choose where they will live. If the interchange is rejected, "sprawl will continue along whatever turns out to be the path of least resistance, because sprawl offers choices that make people happy."

North Ridgeville has become one of the fastest growing cities in Northeast Ohio. 2,741 houses were built in the City between 2000 and 2006, the most in the region. City officials say 400 homes could be built this year, with 4,000 more expected in the next 10 years.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park does not support the proposed retail and residential development on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club, because it would cause increased flooding, erosion, and sedimentation problems along Brandywine Creek, and also create traffic congestion, ruin the area's rural character, and degrade the National Park.

Some Lorain County politicians, including Avon Mayor Jim Smith, continue to strongly object to NOACA conducting a study of the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Other Lorain County leaders want the study completed within 60 days, but NOACA indicated that the study would likely be finished in the second quarter of 2007. John Kahl, the CEO of Henkel Consumer Adhesives in Avon, supports the construction of the interchange, while others contend that it would be a step back for regionalism in Northeast Ohio.

About 30 Boston Heights residents attended a public meeting on Wednesday about the residential and retail development proposed for the site of Boston Heights Country Club. Many in attendance did not support the plans. "I don't think anyone here wants our community to turn into Macedonia," said one.

Ed Morrison shares his thoughts on the connections between urban sprawl, single-use zoning, and regionalism. "We need to find new ways of collaborating across political boundaries. We are beginning to make some progress in this direction, but our progress is altogether too slow."

Developers of the proposed soccer stadium and retail development in northern Summit County submitted an "amended and restated compensation agreement" to the Nordonia Hills City Schools, after the previous agreement approved last April expired at the end of 2006.

In addition to the planned 40 acre Avon Crossings retail center on State Route 83, additional retail development is planned in Avon for a 12 acre site at Route 83 and Route 254 and for a property on Detroit Road near Avon Commons.

Mayor Smith of Avon is upset that the NOACA board elected to study the proposed I-90 interchange at Lear Road and that he was not invited to a meeting to discuss the parameters of the study. A Lorain Morning Journal editorial accuses NOACA leadership of being obstructionist.

On Friday, the NOACA Governing Board unanimously voted to study the proposed I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. NOACA staff will evaluate how the interchange could affect future development in the region before a vote is held on its approval. Some Lorain County leaders were unhappy with the decision.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges NOACA to carefully study the potential ramifications of the proposed new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road in Avon. Meanwhile, Westlake is considering a proposal to vacate a mile-long section of nearby Avon Road to create room for additional development.

The Avon Planning Commission approved a general development plan for the 36 acre Avon Crossing shopping center at State Route 83 and Chester Road. It's slated to be anchored by a Lowe's and an unnamed 100,000 square foot store.

(via Urban Ohio)

The cover story in the current issue of Science Weekly examines the correlations between urban sprawl and obesity, and considers several studies conducted over the past few years that looked at walkability and health concerns.

(via Boing Boing)

Rural Boston Heights in Summit County has become very attractive to retail developers, and Village leaders are dealing with proposals for two major retail centers near the intersection of the Ohio Turnpike and State Route 8. The site of the proposed Summit County soccer stadium/retail development is also nearby.

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