STOW: The City Council will meet tonight and could vote on two controversial topics that have dominated the agenda and public comments for several months.
Concerned residents packed City Hall on Monday evening as the council reviewed auto dealer Ron Marhofer’s request to rezone land around his business and Keith Redmon’s request to add cremation equipment to the family’s funeral home
The Marhofer item is expected to receive its third reading; the deadline for the council to vote on Redmon’s request ends this week.
Marhofer wants to redevelop the area around his business at Darrow and Kent roads. Among the key components of the proposal are eliminating Yukon Road, which bisects the dealership property, and improving the intersection at Thorndale Avenue and Darrow Road so it would be a normal 90 degrees.
The project would also involve demolishing some homes on Thorndale Avenue to expand the dealership, if the council approves the rezoning proposal.
Over the summer, Marhofer asked that the issue be tabled to allow him to negotiate with Thorndale Avenue residents concerned about home values and neighborhood aesthetics. The parties were unable to come to an agreement, and the issue is back before the council.
If the item comes to a vote, council member Mike Rasor, Marhofer’s nephew by marriage, said he plans to cast his ballot.
“This is a citywide change to our zoning code. It doesn’t just affect one business,” Rasor said in an email. “I won’t claim a conflict of interest where none exists simply because this is a controversial issue. The Ohio Ethics Commission has given its blessing.”
For the past six months, the council has been reviewing Redmon’s request. Residents who live near the funeral home oppose the legislation.
“To be honest, I am confused why this discussion has gone on for so long,” said Traci Kosmach, who lives with her husband on nearby Williamson Road.
She said she does not have air conditioning and keeps her windows open for several months during the year. She is concerned that emissions from the crematorium will come into her house.
“My reason for opposing this is very simple,” she said. “I do not want a mega furnace in my neighborhood.”
Stow Alliance Fellowship senior pastor John Kitchen, who lives near the funeral home at 3633 Darrow Road, has said he is not worried about potential environmental issues related to the equipment.
“The Redmons are not only wonderful professionals, but they were truly compassionate, caring and sought to do what is best for their customers,” Kitchen said during a meeting on the matter in December. “Their excellent reputation has been earned one family at a time in those darkest hours of their lives.”
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
Heather Beyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.