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City Business News - August, 2014

Updated 8/19/14

Economic Development Activity

Christopher Tool -
A site plan was approved for a 20,000 sq. ft. addition at 30500 Carter Street.

Tarkett USA, Inc.
- A Job Creation Grant was approved for Tarkett USA, Inc., which purchased a 50,000 sq. ft. office building at 30000 Aurora Road.  The building will serve as the international company's North American headquarters, with 135 employees in the first full year of operation.

SSSS, Inc. – A site plan was approved for 5,300 sq. ft. building at 33160 Solon Road for use as a Hindu cultural center.

AMG Marketing Resources, Inc. - Council approved a Job Creation Grant for the advertising and marketing agency that will purchase a 10,500 sq. ft. office building at 30670 Bainbridge Road.  The firm will create 30 new jobs in Solon.

Zoning Issues

Proposed Rezoning - Council received a request from The Fountains of Solon LLC to rezone 21.65 acres from C-3 Commercial to R-3 Multi-Family Residential.  The project, known as The Fountains of Solon, would be located on Solon Road east of Route 91.  The multi-family development of luxury apartment rental units would consist of two 3-story buildings with 77 suites each,  and thirty-two 2-story townhouses.  Due to time constraints in getting the issue on the November ballot, the developers opted to withdraw their application from City review and pursue placing the issue on the ballot by initiative petition.   By State law, this alternative method requires the developers to obtain signatures from 10% of the number of people who voted in the last municipal election.   The developers submitted a proposed development agreement with the City intended to legally bind the project to the proposed luxury apartment concept.  
  
Proposed Rezoning - DJM Group, LLC, owner of 5910 and 5900 Harper Road, submitted a request to rezone 4 properties on the NW and SE corners of the Aurora Road/Harper Road intersection to I-1 Warehousing & Assembly from O-2 Office Park, C-5 Industrial Retail & Service, and I-2 Industrial Manufacturing.  The rezoning would permit R&D and medical/dental offices in all of the affected buildings. (Medical/dental offices are currently permitted in O-2 and C-5, but not I-2.)  The affected properties are 5910 and 5900 Harper, 30000 Aurora, and 6001 Cochran.  Council referred the item to the Planning Commission for study and a recommendation. A public hearing will be at the 7/29/14 Planning Commission meeting.

Ballot Issue: Zoning Code Update of Permitted Uses
– Council voted to place two issues related to the  comprehensive update and revision of uses permitted within the city on the November ballot.  This is the first such update in approximately 70 years.  The proposed code update focuses on three main goals: 1) Evaluate all existing uses and remove and/or clarify any that are problematic; 2) Establish a standardized format for the listing of permitted, accessory and prohibited uses throughout the Zoning Code;  3)  Add use categories that are typically included in a modern zoning ordinance.   To enable the electorate to vote on proposed residential and non-residential regulations separately, the update has been separated into two ballot issues. To read the proposed ordinances, please see Meetings & Notices at www.solonohio.org.  

Until voters have a chance to cast their ballots on these issues, a moratorium has been placed on variances, site plan approvals, and issuance of permits relating to the prohibited uses listed within the proposed ordinance. 

Temporary Event Ordinance – Council approved an ordinance to accommodate requests for temporary, short term events such as sidewalk sales, arts and crafts shows, musical entertainment and general promotional activities, typically received from commercial and industrial businesses. The ordinance establishes an application and review process for a temporary event permit that can be approved by the Mayor or her designee, subject to review by the safety forces and relevant staff.   

Financial Matters

Regional Income Tax Collection - Council approved legislation to outsource the administration of its municipal income tax collections to the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA). This change was approved due to the challenge of administering the city's growing collections with inhouse staff, and because of pending State legislation that would impact administrative requirements. 

Kudos

The City of Solon received a clean audit from the State of Ohio, with no findings of material noncompliance or weakness.  Solon’s 2013 annual audit report is available on the City’s web site.


For the fifth consecutive year, the City of Solon Finance Department received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its 2012 Comprehensive Annual Finance Report.  According to the national Government Finance Officers Association, this certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. 

The City of Solon and Greater Cleveland Partnership received the 2014 Team NEO Economic Development Plus Award, Business Attraction category, for their joint efforts in the relocation of the Nestle Pizza Division from Northbrook IL to Solon.  Winners in this and other categories were announced at the July. 

Three Solon High School graduates - Zach Schwartz, Samir Amrania, and Vibhu Krishna - partnered in the summer of 2012 to create LightHouse Ohio—the country's first entrepreneurial accelerator for high school students.  Since its inception, LightHouse Ohio has worked with hundreds of students from dozens of Northeast Ohio high schools (including many from Solon), and has received recognition from nationally renowned entrepreneurs and politicians. Congratulations to Lighthouse Ohio for being named a finalist in the 2014 Team NEO Economic Development Plus Awards, Fostering Entrepreneurship category!  As a nonprofit, the organization is currently looking for donors to help sponsor named fellowships for its students, teams and businesses! If you are interested in supporting entrepreneurship at the high school level, please contact or visit www.lighthouseohio.com

Engineering Updates

In addition to information below, please visit the Engineering Department page for project updates.

Aurora Road Traffic Study - GPD Group, the City's traffic engineering consultant, will perform a traffic study of Aurora Road between S.O.M. Center Road and the eastern corporation limit.

S.O.M. Center
- Council approved the following items: 1) Removal of the restriction prohibiting a left turn on S.O.M. Center northbound at Linden Drive,  2) Authorized the City Engineer to restripe pavement markings to provide a northbound left turn lane on SOM Center at Linden Drive with an updated traffic signal to provide a left turn arrow,  3) Authorized the City Engineer to proceed with plans to provide for two-way center left turn lanes on SOM Center Road between Linden Drive and Park East Drive.  

Traffic Signalization Project - Installation of signal poles is in progress.  All 43 traffic signals within the City will be replaced and/or upgraded during the 2 year project. Upon completion, all signals will be accessible through a central computer system located at City Hall. The system will include the latest in traffic technology including video detection and fiber optic communications. 80% of the $4.2 million project cost is covered by a grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency.  There will be temporary lane closures at the various intersections during construction.  Project completion is expected in February, 2015.

Aurora/SOM Intersection Improvements – Right-of-way acquisition is underway in anticipation of construction in 2016.  Improvements will include the addition of a lane on the east side of SOM Center Road and widening of Aurora Road east of SOM to add a northbound turning lane onto SOM.   Ultimately, there will be two westbound through lanes on Aurora and two left turn lanes both northbound and southbound on SOM.  ODOT will pay 90% of the project cost, with the City to pay the remaining 10%. 

Resources

Broadband Access
- An alternate solution for broadband Internet access is available to the Solon business community.  Easton Telecom can provide business class wireless access virtually anywhere in the City, as a primary or secondary source, using the same technology and network that serves Ohio public safety forces.  For more information, contact Easton account representative Bob Glassman of Commtrol at 216-245-1500.

Energy Efficiency Rebate Program – First Energy is offering rebates to industrial and commercial businesses for improvements to increase energy efficiency and reduce electricity consumption.  These programs are offered in accordance with Ohio Senate Bill 221 of 2008 and are designed to help meet the state’s goals to reduce electricity usage and peak demand while encouraging commercial and industrial customers to save energy and money. The cost of these programs is recovered through customer rates in accordance with Senate Bill 221.  Generally,  pre-approval is required before purchase and installation of materials. Improvements may include, but are not limited to, lighting for existing or new facilities, appliances, HVAC and water heating, food service equipment, facility audits, and equipment for data centers. For more information, visit www.energysaveoh-business.com or contact Brian Smith of Sodexo (program delivery contractor for First Energy) at 330-398-9650.

Business Seminars – Please visit the city's web site for a list of business seminars and special events sponsored by local economic development agencies.

Reverse 911 Ready Notify Service - The City of Solon, in cooperation with Cuyahoga County, is offering a Reverse 911 system to further enhance the City’s ability to provide residents and businesses with up-to-date safety information. The system will provides emergency information, such as the recent tornado warning and updates.  

The system will be activated August 18th.  Registration is free and simple.  Go to www.solonohio.org and look for the Ready Notify logo on the right hand side of the web page.  Click on the logo and you will be directed to the sign up page to register.  You may choose to be notified of information from any of Cuyahoga County's 59 communities, so if you have family or friends in another community you can be notified of situations that may impact them as well.  Registrants will be responsible for making any changes to your account (updated phone numbers, emails, etc.)

All Solon residents, businesses and their employees are encouraged to register for this free service.  


 


City of Solon Ohio City of Solon, Ohio
34200 Bainbridge Rd.
Solon, OH 44139
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