Group keeps an eye on development

A group leader asked the city for a timetable for response.
CORTLAND -- A homeowners group is keeping watch over how city officials plan for new residential growth and respond to existing flooding and aesthetic concerns.
Cortland Homeowners for Responsible Development has among its participants homeowners who are engineers, construction professionals, attorneys, accountants, business people, teachers and real estate agents who are volunteering their time.
They say planning, building and zoning ordinances need an overhaul, along with inspection and approval processes. City government, they add, needs to complete a long-range appraisal of infrastructure before committing to further large residential developments.
The new group is urging concerned residents to attend city council meetings and planning, zoning and building commission meetings.
Published concerns
Already the organizers have set up a Web site,, and outlined some key issues of concern:
URequiring developers to secure EPA permits or Army Corps of Engineer permits before receiving the planning and zoning commission's approval.
UFiguring out how to fix the storm water problems on Laura Lane and Anthony Circle.
UAddressing Evon Circle, which "is an eyesore, and a poor representation of our community for anyone coming into Cortland on Route 305 or using Southdale" Drive, the Web site says.
UOnyx Circle and Turquoise Drive residents say they are being flooded since the construction was done to extend Cedar Drive.
UTournament Trail, has flooded twice now, in 2002 and 2004.
Addressing the issues
Karen Reel, a group organizer, asked Mayor Curt Moll and Service Director Don Wittman this week for a timetable on when such matters would be addressed. Both officials have previously met with group representatives, who also include Gerry Bayus, Fred Burazer,Mike and Mary Anne Stefanik and Gail Howard.
Moll said he couldn't give Reel an exact timetable but said the city would continue to be responsive to flooding concerns -- staff time and money permitting.
Tom Opalka of Onyx Place told council that his basement has flooded five times since 2001, including after small rainstorms such as over the Memorial Day weekend. He's pretty much given up on keeping the basement carpeted.
The Cortland Homeowners for Responsible Development Web site offers a message board for discussing the development of vacant land off Cedar Drive, Laura Lane flooding and damage issues, and development of vacant land off Maplewood Drive.
There also are links to documents from the city, including minutes and agendas, and to other agencies, including Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio EPA, Mahoning River Consortium and Mahoning River Watershed.

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