Aurora sells three East Mennonite parcels, pays note for 91 acres

Ken Lahmers
Special to the Aurora Advocate
Aurora, Ohio

AURORA – The city is moving forward with plans to sell three parcels on East Mennonite Road and pay off the 2019 purchase of 91 acres near the Mantua Township border.

On Jan. 11, City Council authorized the mayor to sell two lots of 3.79 acres each to Sumit Davre/Shilpa Chaudhary and Sean T. Devins for $129,000 each and a third lot of 4.8 acres to Kenneth J. and Betty L. Deeb for $153,900.

The three parcels are part of 91 acres the city purchased in 2019 from Emil Hach, Dean Olson and Kenneth Olson for $775,000 so the land could be preserved. The land is on the north side of the road between the Moebius Nature Center and the Mantua Township border.

Council approved offering the lots for sale in September and the planning commission shortly thereafter approved a lot split.

The three lots are in an R-2 residential zoning district and have no structures on them.

The two westernmost lots are adjacent to each other. Between them and the easternmost lot is a strip of land in a flood plain which the city will retain as part of its remaining 79 acres.

Planning-Zoning-Building Director Denise Januska has said the city will designate the money from the sale of the three parcels for maintaining existing parks and perhaps acquiring more parkland.

Council also appropriated $315,000 from the general fund to pay off the outstanding promissory note on the 91 acres and remove the outstanding lien from the property.

Originally, $160,000 was scheduled to be paid off by Feb. 1, with the remaining $155,000 scheduled to be paid off by Feb. 1, 2022. The proposed 2021 budget will be amended so the full payment can be made this year.


• Council approved the establishment of an unclassified, non-union, non-exempt full-time executive assistant to the police chief position with a salary range of $44,949 to $70,000.

The position will replace the administrative assistant in the police department, a union position now held by Sue Wright, who will retire in February. The union agreed to the change in its current contract. Police Chief Brian Byard said the new job description will better fit the needs of the department.

• The current replacement pages of the Aurora codified ordinances, as prepared by the Walter H. Drane Co., were approved.

• Council OK’d hiring Mark Smolen as a Service Technician II in the water department and promoting Benjamin Palsha to a paramedic/driver in the fire department. Smolen replaces another person who has transferred to a technician position outside the water department.

• Two ordinances moved on to third reading – the city’s 2021 appropriations and Heritage Capital Corp.’s request to rezone 16.4 acres at the Bertram Inn complex from I-1 industrial to mixed-use development. A public hearing on the latter is set for Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

• The Bertram Inn’s management hopes to convert several overnight lodging rooms into condominiums. If council approves, the rezoning would appear on the May primary election ballot for voters to decide.

• Councilman Jim Vaca requested funds be included in the budget for repaving East Boulevard, and urged the administration to consider adding a couple of service department employees either full- or part-time. “The city is getting bigger, and we need some new personnel for snow plowing and other tasks,” he said.

• Councilman Dennis Kovach said Winchell Road also could stand repaving or some repairs in certain spots.

Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said the 2021 road paving list has not been finalized, but the paving budget was reduced “several hundred thousand dollars” from last year. She said there are no plans to add personnel this year.

• Councilman John Kudley said he would like to see money designated in the budget for repairs to headstones and maintenance at the Mennonite Church cemetery. He also said he has some issues with the amount of raises for certain employees.

The mayor explained most city employees are receiving 2 percent raises, but some are receiving more, and she will discuss the reasoning for the higher increases with Council reps at an executive session prior to the Jan. 25 session.

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