Commissioner Dimora & friends toast: More Whiskey Island for Cuyahoga County

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 05/01/2005 - 02:00.

April 30th offered a sneak preview of NEO's newest and most interesting "regional gateway" park, the Whiskey Island "Wendy Park" - a restoration of the only natural shoreline in downtown Cleveland. Hosted by "The Friends of Whiskey Island", scores of area environmental and social activists assembled with Cuyahoga Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and many other community leaders and representatives to share visions of the remarkable landscape surrounding this "urban oasis" and vision for the future of the Whiskey Island property that has been subject of blight and political battle for many years.

Anyone who knows this region knows of Whiskey Island, though few people appreciate its value to the community, much less know how to get there. Exit the Shoreway, aka Route 2, or walk or ride your bike to Edgewater Park, and just inside the entrance turn right and look for signs to "Whiskey Island" and "Wendy Park" - travel back east along the barely recognizable road behind the water treatment plant, past the rock-piles and marinas that litter the lakefront, running parallel to the railroad tracks, across a one-lane bridge, and surface at the surprising, charming little Bourbon Street Cafe, nestled by Cleveland's only public marina - you'll feel like you're trespassing, but this is your land, thanks to a recent acquisition by Cuyahoga County. The question being addressed at this get together was: will this remain your land?

 

The battle of Whiskey Island has gone on for some time. Local businessman Dan Moore has for five+ years led efforts to put the land to good use - the Cuyahoga County Commissioners recently paid over $6 million to buy it - the City of Cleveland wants to get its hands on it to deal with the Cleveland Cuyahoga Port Authority for a comprehensive lakefront development program and the Port Authority has sued to claim Whiskey Island by eminent domain. This classic political wheeling and dealing is a mess, even as suddenly this remarkable little island has been cleaned up.

Friends Of Whiskey Island Director Ed Hauser told the group touring the island that the clean-up had removed 10 containers of trash, over 100 tires, and 500 tons of concrete, all of which was recycled. The beachfront was cleared of driftwood, which is now stacked for chipping for use in the new park, and the Natural History Museum is assisting to replant the habitat with native varietals. Having been to the site last year, before the clean up began, I can say the reclamation so far is truly remarkable.

Walking east from the marina and Bourbon Street Cafe, the parkland features several volleyball courts and then acres of open fields and bluffs overlooking Lake Erie to the north and the industrial grit and grime of the Cuyahoga River and Flats to the south and east - in the distance is the best view of Cleveland available without a boat.

As the tour reached the Cuyahoga River bank, one of Cleveland's greatest architectural landmarks came into clear view - the 1940 Dyer designed Moderne-style Coast Guard station now owned by the City of Cleveland. As described on the Ohio Trespassers website, it "just sits there, beautifully decayed". See an insightful expression of Cleveland past and present below.

 

The story of this National Landmark building is especially telling of the decay of Cleveland, and foretelling of what may happen to Whiskey Island if left to the wrong hands. As reported in a candy-coated but informative article in the Free Times, Jacob's Investments bought the building in good shape in 1984, operated it for a year as a private club, and then drove the building into ruin, and the has city allowed it to be demolished by neglect for two decades since - for the last seven years the roof has been collapsed and now only the shell remains.

 

The architect who designed the Coast Guard station also designed Cleveland City Hall, but that hasn't led to the city showing their most prominent lakefront landmark any respect. The city allowed Jacobs to demolish the building, without pursuing them for building code violations, and then for $1 and other favors the city took on the burden of solving these problems that Jacobs caused society. Since the city took on responsibility for the building, condition has been allowed to decline further.

It doesn't take a visionary to realize this is a disgrace that must be corrected. Knowing it is the fault of decades of corporate and city mismanagement excuses the current city administration from responsibility for the past neglect, but immediate action must be taken. The city pursues a 50 year plan for lakefront development, and seeks to take control of Whiskey Island, yet isn't taking the small steps to show responsibility for the community that they already own and control. Perhaps a symbol of commitment and competency restoring the Coast Guard station would help the city earn the community's trust. Until then, urban trespassers can savor the past glory of the Cleveland skyline from this beautifully decayed disaster.

 

 

It takes no imagination to envision the Coast Guard station restored by the city to past glory, connected to the Whiskey Island park being restored by the county, all enjoyed by NEOans of all ages, for ages.

And that was the point of this preview party by the Friends of Whiskey Island - to make obvious the value of imagining a better life in Northeast Ohio, where citizens take action - save islands - clear 100s of tons of trash - collaborate with County Commissioners - restore our environment. Imagine a society where developers do the right things, and environmentalists work with government leaders, and all of them work for all the people... see the reality of Whiskey Island today.

 

 

The tour of Whiskey Island ended with Ed Hauser speaking to the group about how Whiskey Island went from an industrial wasteland to a public park - the story of Dan Moore pursuing a deal that guaranteed a park in memory of his daughter Wendy, who passed away in a skiing accident, which led to Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and then Commissioner Tim McCormick buying the island for the county, and then many people working to turn the dump into an urban oasis. Most important, attendees were warned that the park is at risk, as the slate of county commissioners has changed since it was acquired by Cuyahoga and support of county ownership is not unanimous, and the city of Cleveland is collaborating with the port authority to take the park away and make the island an extension of the port. The story the city and port ask us to envision is one of a 50 year plan - a vision looking many unknown city administrations and a generation of port administrators into the future, with an equally uncertain present. If reality means anything, it is safer to say we now have a park owned by our county that is in ascent, bordered by a national landmark owned by the city that is in decline, surrounded by a port that is hideous. True, the city has big plans for the future, it seems largely secured by the prospect of Casino Gambling, brought to you by the same Jacobs Investments that was allowed to destroy the Coast Guard station. Where do you place your bets for your children and grandchildren to play?

 

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Continue to Implement the Whiskey Island Plan

Citizen and Taxpayer Request to the

Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

Continue to Implement the Cuyahoga
County

Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan

And

Cease Negotiations with the

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
for the

Sale/Transfer of the Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land

Citizen and Taxpayer Request
Prepared by:

Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue
#402

Cleveland, Ohio 44102

March 17, 2005

Citizen and Taxpayer
Request Prepared for:

Honorable Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

Timothy Hagan- President, Jimmy Dimora, and Peter Lawson Jones

Cuyahoga County
Administration Building

1219 Ontario Street,
Fourth Floor

Cleveland, OH 44113

Distribution List:

Interested Citizens, Public Officials, Organizations,
and Media Sources

Governor of Ohio- Robert Taft

Ohio Lake Erie Commission: Samuel Speck- Director, ODNR- Chair, OLEC; Joseph
Koncelik- Director, OEPA; Fred Dailey- Director, ODOA; Bruce Johnson- Director,
ODOD; J. Nick Baird- Director, ODOH; Gordon Proctor- Director, ODOT

Ohio Attorney General- Jim Petro

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor- William Mason; David Lambert, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Board of
Directors
: Rev. Sterling Glover,
Chair; John Carney, Vice Chair; Michael Wager, Secretary/Fiscal Officer; Monte
Ahuja; Candace Jones; Miriam Lugo; Robert Peto; Steven Williams; Leonard Young

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, President- Gary Failor

Cuyahoga County Planning Commission: Jimmy Dimora, Chair; Board Members; Paul Alsenas,
Director

Mayor of Cleveland- Jane Campbell

Cleveland City Council: Frank Jackson, President; Joe Cimperman, Ward 13
(Port Authority location); Matt Zone, Ward 17 (Port Authority location); Cleveland
City Council Members

Cleveland Lakefront Plan Advisory Committee: Tracy Kirksey, Chair; Committee Members

Cleveland City Planning Commission: Anthony Coyne, Chair; Board Members; Robert Brown,
Director; Debbie Berry, Lakefront Plan Project Manager

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COVER LETTER- CITIZEN AND TAXPAYER
REQUESTS

Introduction

Overview

Conclusion

REQUEST
#1

1.1. CONTINUE
TO IMPLEMENT CUYAHOGA COUNTY’S WHISKEY
ISLAND
IMPROVEMENT
PLAN

1.1.1. Overview:
Whiskey Island Improvement Plan

1.1.2. Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan
is Fiscally and Environmentally Responsible

1.1.3. Whiskey Island Improvement Plan has Very
Little Affect on the Execution of the Waterfront District Plan and Port
Authority/City of Cleveland MOU

1.2. REASONS
TO CONTINUE TO IMPLEMENT WHISKEY ISLAND IMPROVEMENT PLAN

1.2.1. Consistent
with the Ohio’s Coastal Management Policies and Regulations

1.2.2. Consistent
with County Planning Commission Initiatives and Plans

1.2.3. Consistent
with Public Opinion for a Park, Access, Recreation and Boating

1.2.4. Represent County Residents Interest
in our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land

REQUEST #2

2.1. CEASE
NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE PORT AUTHORITY FOR THE SALE AND/OR TRANSFER
OF OUR WHISKEY ISLAND PUBLIC TRUST LAND

2.1.1. Overview-
City/Port Whiskey Island Plan

2.1.2. City/Port Whiskey Island Plan is
Fiscally and Environmentally Irresponsible

2.2. REASONS
TO CEASE NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE PORT AUTHORITY FOR WHISKEY
ISLAND

2.2.1. No
Independent Port of Cleveland Capacity Assessment

2.2.2. No
Justification for City/Port Whiskey
Island Plans
- Arbitrary and Capricious

2.2.3 No Consistency between the ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront
District Plan
, Port Master Plan, and City Laws

2.2.4. No
Endorsement from ODNR on the Whiskey
Island Small Area Plan

2.2.5. No
Public Hearings on Modifications to Port Authority’s “Official Plan�

2.2.6. No County Representation for the
Waterfront District Plan or MOU

2.2.7. No
Comments Gathered from the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission

ATTACHMENTS

County
Commissioners Letter- Request to Mayor Campbell for an Independent Port Study

Timeline-
Overview of Significant Plans, Initiatives, Events, and Articles

My Request
Letter- ODNR Public Hearings for the Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease

March 17, 2005

Honorable Board of
Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

Timothy Hagan-
President, Jimmy Dimora, and Peter Lawson Jones

Cuyahoga County Administration Building

1219 Ontario Street, Fourth Floor

Cleveland, OH 44113

Dear Board of Cuyahoga
County Commissioners:

Introduction

I am respectfully submitting my Citizen and Taxpayer Request
because of concerns and knowledge that the Board of Cuyahoga County
Commissioners (County Commissioners) are negotiating with the
Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (Port Authority) for the sale and/or
transfer of the Whiskey Island Marina property (Whiskey Island Public Trust
Land).

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has assigned
the rights, title and interest for the Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease
(SUB-0295A-CU) to Cuyahoga County. For
the first time in history, the public has the rights, title and interests for
this precious lakefront and riverfront property. The ODNR holds this property in trust for 11 million Ohioans and
has to approve any modifications to the Whiskey Island Submerged Land
Lease.

I refer to the Whiskey Island Marina property, as our
“Whiskey Island Public Trust Land� because it is our public trust land for
public uses. The Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land is extremely important because of its role in the natural systems of
the Lake Erie shoreline and its location at the mouth of the Cuyahoga
River. Public opinion supports a
regional gateway public park and keeping the existing recreational marina for
public uses on our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land.

In fairness, Commissioner Dimora voted to acquire our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land for the people of Cuyahoga County and to
implement the county’s Whiskey Island
Improvement Plan
. Commissioner
Dimora also opposes the sale of it to the Port Authority. Both Commissioners Hagan and Jones are in
favor of selling it to the Port Authority for the relocation of a bulk storage
facility on the river to the existing Whiskey Island Marina basin on the
lakefront. The Port Authority will deed
the Whiskey Island greenspace area to the city of Cleveland for a new
large-scale marina development project.

Over the last seven years, I have participated in state,
county, city and port authority public meetings and public hearings regarding
Ohio’s and Cleveland’s waterways initiatives.
As a result of this effort, I would like to share information about two
different plans for our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land.

I am requesting a
written response from all three County Commissioners within three (3)
business days from receiving this Citizen and Taxpayer Request
. I
will forward the responses on your positions to the distribution list; no
response will be noted.
This urgent
request is due to the extreme importance of our Whiskey Island Public Trust
Land and the County Commissioners attempting to finalize a deal with the Port
Authority within a week according to a WEWS newscast on March 10, 2005. I look forward to your responses regarding
this urgent request.

Overview

The decision in December 2004 by County Commissioners
McCormack and Dimora to acquire our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land was a
decision that will enhance the quality of life for the people of this
community. One month after the
monumental acquisition of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land, Commissioners
Hagan and Jones are now reversing this historic purchase and have decided to
sell it to the Port Authority. They
want to sell this land to an appointed board that has successfully eliminated
its obligation to conduct public hearings for its maritime development plans
from the Ohio Revised Code and its Rules and Regulations.

Now, the two County Commissioners are making a decision that
the people will mourn because it will reduce existing public access to Lake
Erie and the Cuyahoga River. It is a
decision whether to restore and preserve a 20-acre greenspace and the natural
shoreline with public access, or to have a large-scale marina development
project with diminished public access.
It is a decision whether to maintain a 500 boat recreational marina with
public access that generates revenue to sustain our Whiskey Island Public Trust
Land, or to relocate a Port Authority bulk storage facility from the river and
pile mountains of gravel seventy feet high on the existing marina, with no
public access.

This is a decision whether to be accountable to the public
they serve. The County Commissioners
have admitted that in order to make an intelligent decision about the future of
Whiskey Island, an independent consultant must conduct an objective study of
the Port of Cleveland’s current and future needs. Their commitment to make an intelligent decision was stated in a
letter to Mayor Campbell regarding a Study
of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port Needs,
“The failure to do so will prohibit us from making intelligent decisions on competing land
use proposals
.� At this time, no
one knows the future needs of the Port Authority. Therefore, no one can make intelligent decisions prior to an
independent study for the Port of Cleveland’s current and future needs.

Many other issues need to be addressed and resolved prior to
any negotiations with the Port Authority.
Mainly, there has been no justification for the Port Authority to
acquire our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land.
There seems to a hidden agenda as to the urgency of this
acquisition. The eastside port
operations will remain for a long time to come and the Port Authority never
provided any options to consolidate bulk handling operations on the river.

Conclusion

The citizens of Cuyahoga County and Ohio cannot afford to
lose this opportunity to implement the county’s Whiskey Island Improvement Plan that will restore our natural
resources and enhance our quality of life.
Selling our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land to the Port Authority for
its development plan, will damage our natural resources and diminished our
quality of life.

Because of our right to know and in celebration of the first
“National Sunshine Week: Your Right to
Know,
� I will be submitting public records requests to city, county,
city-county port authority, and state officials. I will further investigate the public records on which elected
and appointed officials have made decisions regarding our Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land and share my findings with interested citizens, public officials,
organizations and media sources.

Logic requires that the Port Authority must conduct a public
hearing for its future development plans and that city and county must
commission an independent Port of Cleveland capacity assessment and analyze the
results to make an intelligent decision about our Whiskey Island Public Trust
Land.

REQUEST #1

1.1. CONTINUE TO IMPLEMENT CUYAHOGA
COUNTY’S WHISKEY ISLAND IMPROVEMENT
PLAN

The County Commissioners should continue to implement the
county’s Whiskey Island Improvement Plan,
considering the facts and information presented below.

1.1.1. Overview: Whiskey Island Improvement Plan

For the first time in history, since Moses Cleaveland
arrived in 1796, the region will benefit with this regional gateway park on our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land, with the potential to connect the east and
west lakefront and the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway to the south. For the first time in history, the people of
Cuyahoga County own the rights for public use to our Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land.

The park will allow all citizens an opportunity to enjoy our
natural resources and to enhance our quality of life 365 days a year, where the
Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie. These
quality of life opportunities include but are not limited to hiking, jogging,
biking, fishing, picnicking, bird watching, volleyball, kayaking, sailing,
power boating, nature and history education, and of course watching the sunrise
over our great city and sunset over our great lake.

In February 2005, the county has started to implement the Whiskey Island Improvement Plan that
will actually improve our natural resources instead of impair them. The
county’s plan includes restoring the Whiskey Island greenspace area and the
only natural shoreline in downtown Cleveland.
This plan will improve public access to the shores of Lake Erie and the banks
of the Cuyahoga River.

The plan will also retain the 500 boat recreational marina,
the only marina in Cleveland that allows public access. Whiskey Island Marina is the model for
public access marinas that the Cleveland Lakefront Partners are striving for in
the Waterfront District Plan.

1.1.2. Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan
is Fiscally and Environmentally Responsible

The County Commissioners acquired our Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land that includes the 20-acres of greenspace area, the 10-acre
recreational marina and the adjacent 30-acres of Lake Erie submerged land for
$6.25 million of county public money.

The development costs for county’s Whiskey Island Improvement Plan to restore the greenspace area and
the natural shoreline and maintain the marina is a fraction of the public money
needed for the City/Port Whiskey Island
Plan
. The marina will also generate
income to help sustain our regional gateway park and our public recreational marina. The quality of life benefits for all
citizens will be well worth the cost.

The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission’s innovative and
ecologically sensitive plan capitalizes on the benefits of re-use, restoration,
and fiscally sound improvements of existing lakefront assets.

1.1.3. Whiskey Island Improvement Plan has Very
Little Affect on the Execution of the Waterfront
District Plan
and City/Port Memorandum
of Understanding (MOU)

The County Commissioners purchase of the Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land does not have any affect on the Cleveland Waterfront District Plan for the Port
Authority’s relocation of the eastside international break/bulk docks to the Cleveland
Harbor west breakwall. The plan to
relocate the Port Authority to the breakwall with a cost to the public of over
$650,000,000 can proceed without the proposed Whiskey Island bulk storage
facility.

The County Commissioners purchase of the Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land has a minimal affect on executing agreements in the City/Port
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The exception is the city of Cleveland’s $3,750,000 in rent reduction to
the Port Authority for Docks 24 and 26, if the Port Authority acquires the
property and deeds the greenspace area to the city.

It would be prudent for the Port Authority to have its staff
investigate consolidating bulk handling on the river, prior to its costly plan
to destroy the Whiskey Island Marina - a 500 boat recreational marina on the
lakefront. The 2005 Port Authority Maritime Business Plan states, “We look for the opportunity to add
additional staff as the operations grow.
The additional staff can pursue such projects as: 1) Consolidation of
bulk handling properties on the Cuyahoga River...
� Consolidation of bulk
handling on the river has been a stated goal of the city planning commission.

1.2. REASONS TO CONTINUE TO IMPLEMENT
THE WHISKEY ISLAND IMPROVEMENT
PLAN

The County Commissioners should continue to implement the
county’s Whiskey Island Improvement Plan,
acknowledging the reasons presented below.

1.2.1. Consistent with the Ohio Coastal Management Program (OCMP) Policies
and Regulations

The ODNR is designated to implement the provisions of the
OCMP. The ODNR has supported the
county’s plans for Whiskey Island by assigning the Submerged Land Lease for our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land to Cuyahoga County for public uses.

·
Any modifications to the submerged land lease must be
approved by the ODNR and are subject to public hearings, and a Coastal Consistency Review for any
project needing permits.

·
The Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan
is consistent with the policies and regulations of
the federally and state approved OCMP.

·
The county’s plan for restoration of the greenspace and
shoreline, continued public access and recreational boating is also consistent
with the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s Lake
Erie Protection & Restoration Plan
and Balanced Growth Initiative.

1.2.2. Consistent with the Cuyahoga County
Planning Commission’s Initiatives and Plans

The County Commissioners have invested a lot of county public
money for its sustainable and visionary planning initiatives. These plans concluded
that our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land should remain for public use with
public access, greenspace, trail connections, recreation and boating.

·
The County
Greenspace Plan
recommended that it remain as greenspace in the Greenprint Plan.

·
The Cuyahoga
Valley Initiative
recognized its importance for the role it plays in the
natural systems of Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River and as an important regional gateway
park.

·
The Towpath Trail
Extension Plan
depicts a Whiskey Island lakefront connection trail to the
Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway.

·
The Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan
recommends restoration of the greenspace and
natural shoreline along with continued public access, recreation and boating.

1.2.3. Consistent with Public Opinion for a
Park, Continued Access, Recreation and Boating

Public comments gathered by the Cleveland City Planning Commission
for the Waterfront District Plan
demonstrate the overwhelming support for a public park, continued public
access, recreation and boating on Whiskey Island.

·
There were not any (0) Waterfront District Plan public comments that recommended the
installation of a Port Authority facility for bulk gravel storage on Whiskey
Island Marina, nor do the public comments support the construction of a new
marina on the Whiskey Island greenspace.

·
The Friends of Whiskey Island gathered over 3500
signatures on a petition in support of a public park on Whiskey Island and
submitted the petition to state, county and city officials.

1.2.4. Represents the County Residents
Interest in our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land

The County Commissioners have an obligation to represent and
protect the interests of their constituents and the taxpayers of Cuyahoga
County. The people of Cuyahoga County, the
largest populated subdivision of Ohio, are now the owners of our Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land - held in trust for 11 million Ohioans.

·
The County Commissioners have a responsibility to the
people of Cuyahoga County and Ohio for the best public uses of our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land.

·
The County Commissioners must stand up for the county’s
large investment in its sustainable and visionary planning initiatives that
concluded our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land should remain for public use with
public access, greenspace, trail connections, recreation and boating.

·
The County Commissioners have an obligation to
represent all their constituents and the county taxpayers’ interests in any
deals with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga
County
Port Authority.

·
The county’s suburban communities (not including the
city of Cleveland) pay for 80% of the Port Authority tax levy revenue.

·
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga
County
Port Authority has acquired all of its property on the lakefront
with county taxpayer money.

REQUEST #2

2.1. CEASE NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE PORT
AUTHORITY FOR THE SALE AND/OR
TRANSFER OF OUR WHISKEY ISLAND PUBLIC TRUST LAND

The County Commissioners should cease negotiations with Port
Authority for the sale and/or transfer of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land,
considering the facts and information presented below.

2.1.1 Overview: Waterfront District Plan- Whiskey Island Small Area Plan

The reasoning behind the Whiskey
Island Small Area Plan
(City/Port
Whiskey Island Plan
), a fiscally irresponsible and environmentally
destructive plan is to relocate a 10-acre bulk storage facility on Dock 20 to
the Whiskey Island Marina basin. The City/Port Whiskey Island Plan will
destroy our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land for a year-to-year lease of
$150,000 to Kenmore Construction located in Summit County.

The plan to relocate the Port Authority bulk facility
includes filling in the marina basin to store mountains of gravel seventy feet
high; bulk head the marina basin; building truck access roads; demolishing the
existing 500 boat recreational marina docks, buildings and infrastructure.

The City/Port Whiskey Island Plan also
includes a new large-scale marina development project on the 20-acre greenspace
area and natural shoreline that includes building a new breakwall; dredging the
harbor; installing new docks; bulk heading the natural shoreline; and the
destruction of the greenspace area by constructing new marina buildings and
large parking lots to accommodate a large marina.

The Port Authority never provided any alternatives to
relocate and consolidate the Dock 20 bulk storage facility on the Cuyahoga
River. Nor did the Port Authority
provide a feasibility study, an economic impact study, or an environmental
impact assessment for its plan. The
Port Authority’s plan will be a “Mistake on the Lake.�

2.1.2. City/Port
Whiskey Island Plan
is Fiscally and Environmentally Irresponsible

The City/Port Whiskey
Island Plan
will need to use tens of millions of federal, state and local
public money to develop its environmentally destructive plans. The costly plans will diminish the citizens’
quality of life, truncate public access and have a negative environmental
impact on the aquatic and wildlife habitats on and around our Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land.

The ODNR’s Coastal
Consistency Review
process will have to examine all the federal, state and
local permits needed for the projects.
The ODNR’s submerged land lease will require public hearings for the
modifications that are necessary for the City/Port
Whiskey Island Plan
. The OEPA
“Permit to Install for Air Sources� for the new bulk storage facility may
exceed current approved air standards when combined with the adjacent pellet
transfer station at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal.

The Port Authority acquired the Old River Channel property
with county tax dollars and passed a resolution to lease the property to
Kenmore Construction, but never developed a bulk storage facility there. This property is heavily contaminated, but
suitable for industrial use. As part of
the City/Port MOU, the Port Authority
is to transfer this property to the city of Cleveland to develop as a park, for
a lease extension on Docks 24 and 26 through the year 2053. The Port Authority originally acquired this
Old River Channel property for a bulk storage facility, but now it wants to
acquire our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land for a bulk storage facility.

2.2. REASONS TO CEASE NEGOTIATIONS
WITH THE PORT AUTHORITY FOR WHISKEY
ISLAND

The County Commissioners should cease negotiations with Port
Authority for the sale and/or transfer of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land,
considering the reasons presented below.

2.2.1. No Independent Port of Cleveland Capacity Assessment

The County Commissioners have admitted that in order to make
an intelligent decision about the future of Whiskey Island, an independent
consultant must conduct an objective study of the Port of Cleveland’s current
and future needs. At this time, no
one knows the future needs of the Port Authority.

The County Commissioners clearly stated their commitment to
make an intelligent decision regarding Whiskey Island and other projects in a
letter regarding a “Study of
Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port Needs
,� to Mayor Campbell on June 8, 2004:

“…Among the most
pivotal issues is the future of the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port. The lakefront planning process, the Cuyahoga
Valley Initiative, downtown revitalization, the potential for large public
facilities, the future of Whiskey Island and other projects are contingent
on the needs, location and role of the Port. We must “right-size� the Port for the future, determine the role
that the Port will play in the regional economy, and reach consensus on the
Port’s ideal physical configuration. The
failure to do so will prohibit us from making intelligent decisions on competing land use proposals
.

It is unacceptable to the residents of Cuyahoga County that
the County Commissioners are completely disregarding their previously stated
commitment to make an informed and intelligent decision regarding Whiskey
Island. A County Commissioner has
stated that they are not waiting for the results of the independent Study of Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port
Needs
. They are proceeding with the
decision to sell our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land to the Port Authority
without the independent study completed.

The Study of
Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Port Needs
must be a comprehensive capacity
assessment that includes the entire Port of Cleveland. The Port of Cleveland includes all of the
private bulk storage facilities on the river and the Port Authority’s lakefront
and riverfront facilities. The
assessment must address the misplaced intent to relocate bulk storage from the
river to the lakefront. It also must address the massive relocation of the
eastside international break/bulk docks to the west break wall. Anything less will be irresponsible.

2.2.2. No Justification for the Port Authority
Acquisition of Whiskey Island Marina

The Port Authority has not justified the necessity to
acquire the Whiskey Island Marina property.
An agreement between the Port Authority and City of Cleveland
Administration attempted to justify the acquisition by approving the Policy Statement Regarding Whiskey Island
and Related Lakefront Initiatives
(Policy
Statement
). This agreement proposed
that the Port Authority acquire the Whiskey Island Marina property, keep the
marina basin for port development and deed the eastern portion to the city for
a park.

The Policy Statement’s
feeble attempt to justify the acquisition without details or a support study by
stating, “This Policy recognizes the City
of Cleveland’s Lakefront Plan Initiative, and the continued viability and
growth potential for the Port Authority, are both critical to the development
and diversification of the Greater Cleveland community and that the policy
statement carries out those objectives.
�

This arbitrary and capricious agreement was secretly
developed without effective involvement from the public, the Lakefront Plan
Advisory Committee or Cuyahoga County public officials.

The Policy Statement
eventually evolved into the Memorandum of
Understanding
Ordinance 817-03 (passed 10/06/03), and led to the Port
Authority filing for eminent domain to acquire the property. The Port Authority is currently trying to
acquire our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land from Cuyahoga County through
eminent domain.

The Policy Statement
was approved on November 6, 2002, after only three (3) public meetings. After the Policy Statement, the city held sixteen (16) public meetings to
gather comments. The mayor’s Lakefront
Plan Advisory Committee, “responsible for
the overall policy direction of the Lakefront Plan effort
,� was not
involved with the Policy Statement. The Port
of Cleveland Capacity Assessment
was finished after the Policy Statement in February 2003, with
the results of the assessment.

The Policy Statement
agreement was a willful and unreasonable action taken by the city of Cleveland
and Port Authority to predetermine the Whiskey Island land uses. The city of Cleveland and Port Authority
disregarded the results of the Port of
Cleveland Capacity Assessment
, public comments gathered during sixteen (16)
Waterfront District Plan public
meetings, and input from the Lakefront Plan Advisory Committee regarding the Policy Statement.

In a two-year period starting in July 2002, with Mayor
Campbell proclaiming that Whiskey Island should be a park, the Cleveland
Lakefront Partners changed the land use plans for our Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land four (4) times. The Waterfront District Plan first depicted
our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land greenspace as a park, then as a port
facility, back to a park, and finally a large-scale marina development
project. The City/Port Whiskey Island Plan also has many inconsistencies between
existing city laws, the Whiskey Island Submerged
Land Lease
, the Waterfront District
Plan
and the Port Authority Maritime
Master Plan
(the “Official Plan�).

It is clear that the planning decisions are arbitrary and
capricious for this precious lakefront and riverfront property - our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land.

2.2.3 No Consistency between the ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront District
Plan
, Port Authority Maritime Master
Plan
, and City Laws

The inconsistency between the ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront District Plan, Port
Authority Maritime Master Plan
and city laws- raises serious questions
about the validity of the Port Authority’s and city of Cleveland’s planning
process for Whiskey Island. The
inconsistencies will leave the public with very little confidence regarding the
Port Authority’s and the city of Cleveland’s intended land uses for our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land. The following
public plans, city laws and lease agreements are NOT consistent with one another:

·
ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease
(9/93),
the lease restricts the Whiskey Island property included in the
lease for public uses as a marina and public access areas. The restrictions in this submerged land
lease are not consistent with Waterfront
District Plan
, Port Authority
Maritime Master Plan
, Ordinance No. 551-03 and 817-03.

·
The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
Maritime Master Plan
, the “Official Plan� (7/98),
depicts the Whiskey Island greenspace area as break/bulk port
facility. This maritime master plan is not consistent with ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront District Plan, Ordinance No.
551-03, 817-03 and 1806-03.

·
City of
Cleveland Ordinance No. 551-03 (5/03)
, zoned 1000 feet west of the river on
the Whiskey Island greenspace area for housing. This law is not consistent with the ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront District Plan, Port
Authority Maritime Master Plan
, and Ordinances No. 817-03 and 1806-03.

·
City of
Cleveland Ordinance No. 1806-03 (11/03)
, declaration of restrictions for
the eastern section of Whiskey Island as a public park in perpetuity. This law is not consistent with Waterfront District Plan, Port Authority Maritime Master Plan, and
Ordinance No. 551-03.

·
City of
Cleveland Ordinance No. 817-03 (10/03), amended as 946-04 (8/04)
, Memorandum of Understanding, restricts
the Whiskey Island greenspace as a public park and open space. This law is not consistent with ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront District Plan, Port Authority Maritime Master Plan, and
Ordinance 551-03.

·
Cleveland
Lakefront Partners’ Waterfront District
Plan
- Whiskey Island/Edgewater/Old
River Small Area Plan
(12/04)
depicts Whiskey Island greenspace as a
large-scale marina development project with diminished public access. This small area plan is not consistent with
the ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land
Lease
, Port Authority Maritime Master
Plan
, Ordinances No. 551-03, 817-03 and 1806-03.

2.2.4. ODNR Cannot Endorse the City/ Port Whiskey Island Small Area Plan

The ODNR contributed $1,500,000 through a Capital
Improvement Grant for to the Waterfront
District Plan,
which includes Whiskey Island. As members of the Cleveland Lakefront Partners and the Lakefront
Plan Advisory Committee, an ODNR letter dated June 29, 2004, stated, “…As it is currently represented, and
without additional detail and explanation of responsibilities for construction,
operation, and maintenance, ODNR cannot endorse the Edgewater/Old River
Channel/Whiskey Island small area plan.�

The Whiskey Island Small
Area Plan
requires a public hearing for the justification of the Port
Authority acquisition and additional detail for explanation of responsibilities
for construction, operation, and maintenance prior to issuing the submerged
land lease to the Port Authority. The City/Port Whiskey Island Plan is also
subject to a Coastal Consistency Review by
the ODNR.

2.2.5. No Public Hearings on Modifications to Port
Authority’s “Official Plan�

On September 10, 2004 (prior to the deletion of Article IV,
Section 5), I submitted a formal request and notice to the Port Authority’s
Chair to conduct a public hearing for Port
Authority Expansion Project
modifications to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Maritime Master Plan (the
“Official Plan�) as required by its Rules and Regulations.

Instead of conducting a public hearing to share information
about its development plans and gathering comments from the taxpaying public,
it deleted the obligation to conduct public hearings for its development
plans. This is poor public policy from
an appointed board of a public agency.

The Port Authority must conduct a public hearing for its modifications
to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port
Authority Maritime Master Plan
, the “Official Plan�; otherwise, its plans
are not valid. The Port Authority’s
recent action (Resolution 2005-05) to delete Article IV, Section 5, “Public Hearing with respect to adoption and
modification of plans; validity of plans
,� from in its Rules and
Regulations was arbitrary and capricious.

In April 2001, the Port Authority successfully lobbied to
repeal the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) sections that mandated public hearings for
port authorities’ development plans.
With pressure from the Mayor of Cleveland, Cleveland City Council and
the County Commissioners, the Port Authority amended its Rules and Regulations
to include the repealed sections of the ORC in June 2002. By deleting those sections in January 2005,
the only “Official Plan� that has been approved by the Port Authority Board is
now obsolete and seven years old.

It is unclear what the “Official Plan� of the Port Authority
is. What is very clear is that the Port
Authority will never conduct any public hearing for any of its plans to
gather public comments from the taxpayers that support its existence. The Port Authority can take land through
eminent domain without any public oversight.

The County Commissioners and the city of Cleveland must pass
a resolution urging the Port Authority to reinstate its obligation to conduct
public hearings for its future development plans into its Rules and Regulations
for the benefit of their constituents and county taxpayers. Failure to do so
would support the repeal of the Port Authority’s tax levy.

2.2.6. No Cuyahoga County Representation for the Waterfront District Plan or MOU

The County Commissioners were not involved in the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
and city of Cleveland Policy Statement
or the Memorandum of Understanding agreements. Both agreements require the Port Authority
to acquire our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land.

The County Commissioners were not members of the Cleveland
Lakefront Partners, which directed the consultants on the Waterfront District Plan. The members include the Greater Cleveland
Partnership (formerly Cleveland Tomorrow and the Greater Cleveland Growth
Association), Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition, Cleveland-Cuyahoga
County Port Authority, ODOT, ODNR, and the city of Cleveland.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership, a non-profit organization
representing the business community, had a major influence on the final phase
of the land development strategy for the Waterfront
District Plan
. As stated in their
Request for Proposals, “The goal of this
effort is to provide additional detailed analysis for up to three small areas
and overall renderings that graphically support an economic development
strategy being conducted under the leadership of Cleveland Tomorrow.
�

The County Commissioners must represent the county
taxpayers’, and their constituents’ interests in the Waterfront District Plan and the plans for our Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land.

2.2.8. No Comments Gathered from the Cuyahoga County
Planning Commission Board

The County Commissioners must allow Cuyahoga County Planning
Commission’s (CCPC) Board members and Director to comment on any decision to
sell our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land to the Port Authority. The
CCPC Board members approved the county’s initiatives that concluded that
Whiskey Island should remain for public use, greenspace conservation, recreation
and boating.

The people of Cuyahoga County are the owners of our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land. Cuyahoga
County had no representation on the Cleveland Lakefront Partners and no input
to the Port Authority and city of Cleveland Policy
Statement
and MOU agreements. The CCPC should be allowed to give input to
the importance of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land as a regional gateway park,
public access, recreation and boating for the people of Cuyahoga County and
Ohio.

Reply: Dimora support for the Whiskey Island has not wavered

REPLY REGARDING -

 

Citizen and Taxpayer Request to the

Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

 

Continue to Implement the Cuyahoga
County

Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan

And

Cease Negotiations with the

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
for the

Sale/Transfer of the Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land

 

REPLY REGARDING - Citizen and Taxpayer Request Prepared by:

Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue
#402

Cleveland, Ohio 44102

 

April 7, 2005

 

REPLY REGARDING - Citizen and Taxpayer Request Prepared for:

Honorable Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

Timothy Hagan- President, Jimmy Dimora, and Peter Lawson Jones

Cuyahoga County
Administration Building

1219 Ontario Street,
Fourth Floor

Cleveland, OH 44113

Distribution List:

Interested Citizens, Public Officials, Organizations,
and Media Sources

Governor of Ohio- Robert Taft

Ohio Lake Erie Commission: Samuel Speck- Director, ODNR- Chair, OLEC; Joseph
Koncelik- Director, OEPA; Fred Dailey- Director, ODOA; Bruce Johnson- Director,
ODOD; J. Nick Baird- Director, ODOH; Gordon Proctor- Director, ODOT

Ohio Attorney General- Jim Petro

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor- William Mason; David Lambert, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Board of
Directors
: Rev. Sterling Glover,
Chair; John Carney, Vice Chair; Michael Wager, Secretary/Fiscal Officer; Monte
Ahuja; Candace Jones; Miriam Lugo; Robert Peto; Steven Williams; Leonard Young

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, President- Gary Failor

Cuyahoga County Planning Commission: Jimmy Dimora, Chair; Board Members; Paul Alsenas,
Director

Mayor of Cleveland- Jane Campbell

Cleveland City Council: Frank Jackson, President; Joe Cimperman, Ward 13
(Port Authority location); Matt Zone, Ward 17 (Port Authority location); Cleveland
City Council Members

Cleveland Lakefront Plan Advisory Committee: Tracy Kirksey, Chair; Committee Members

Cleveland City Planning Commission: Anthony Coyne, Chair; Board Members; Robert Brown,
Director; Debbie Berry, Lakefront Plan Project Manager

April 7, 2005

 

Honorable Board of
Cuyahoga County Commissioners:

Timothy Hagan-
President, Jimmy Dimora, and Peter Lawson Jones

Cuyahoga County Administration Building

1219 Ontario Street, Fourth Floor

Cleveland, OH 44113

 

Dear Board of Cuyahoga
County Commissioners:

 

On March 17, 2005, I submitted an urgent "Citizen and Taxpayer Request" to
the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners regarding the sale of our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land to Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.  The urgency of the request is that the sale
of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land is occurring without the proper due
diligence that is required for transactions involving public trust lands.  As you are aware, our Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land is held in trust for 11 million Ohioans by the ODNR, and the people
of Cuyahoga County own the rights, title and interests for this precious
lakefront and riverfront property.

 

Due to a local newscast on March 10, stating that a deal
between the Cuyahoga County and the Port Authority "should be struck within a week," I requested the County
Commissioners to respond in three days. 
I thank Commissioner Dimora for his prompt reply on March 18, regarding
my Citizen and Taxpayer Request.  Commissioners Hagan and Jones have not
replied.  Although the County Commissioners
are not mandated to reply, the legitimate questions and concerns regarding the
sale of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land remain unanswered for the people
of this community.

 

Commissioner Dimora's response letter text is copied below:

Dear Mr. Hauser:

 

Please accept this
response to your March 17, 2005 letter regarding the Whiskey Island Park
Concept Plan.  My support for the
Whiskey Island Concept Plan has not wavered and I share the vision of a
world-class lakefront park, natural area and marina at Whiskey Island.

 

As mentioned in your
letter, my former colleague Tim McCormack and I voted in favor of Cuyahoga
County's purchase of Whiskey Island in December 2004.  I continue to believe that the purchase and the maintained
ownership of Whiskey Island is in the best interest of the taxpayers of
Cuyahoga County.  My current colleagues,
Commissioners Timothy F. Hagan and Peter Lawson Jones have publicly expressed
their desire to sell Whiskey Island to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port
Authority.  I have been strongly urging
them to reconsider.

 

Whiskey Island is
truly a unique piece of greenspace with the potential to bring years of
enjoyment to the citizens of Cuyahoga County. 
I look forward to your continued input and support.

 

Sincerely,

Jimmy Dimora,
Commissioner

 

The public officials of Cuyahoga County, the City of
Cleveland, and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority must acknowledge
and address the issues brought forth in my Citizen
and Taxpayer Request
, prior to any negotiations to sell our Whiskey Island
Public Trust land to the Port Authority. 
The issues brought forth in my Citizen
and Taxpayer Request
are as follows:

Request #1

Continue to
Implement Cuyahoga County’s Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan

·       
Whiskey Island
Improvement Plan
is Fiscally and Environmentally Responsible

·       
Whiskey Island
Improvement Plan
has Very Little Affect on the Execution of the Waterfront District Plan and City of
Cleveland/Port Authority Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU)

 

Reasons to
Continue To Implement Whiskey Island Improvement
Plan

·       
Consistent with the Ohio’s Coastal Management Policies
and Regulations

·       
Consistent with the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission's
Initiatives and Plans

·       
Consistent with Public Opinion for a Park, Public Access,
Recreation and Boating

·       
Represent County Residents Interest in our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land

 

Request #2

Cease Negotiations
with the Port Authority for the Sale and/or Transfer of our Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land

·       
City/Port Whiskey
Island Plan
is Fiscally and Environmentally Irresponsible

 

Reasons to Cease
Negotiations with the Port Authority to sell our Whiskey Island Public Trust
Land

·       
No Independent Port of Cleveland Capacity Assessment

·       
No Justification for City/Port Whiskey Island Plans- Arbitrary and Capricious

·       
No Consistency between the ODNR Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease, Waterfront District Plan, Cleveland-Cuyahoga
County Port Authority Maritime Master Plan
, and City Laws

·       
No Endorsement from ODNR for the Whiskey Island Small Area Plan

·       
No Public Hearings on Modifications to Port Authority’s
“Official Plan�

·       
No County Representation for the Waterfront District Plan or City/Port Authority MOU

·       
No Comments Gathered from the Cuyahoga County Planning
Commission

 

As a citizen and taxpayer of this community, I will continue
to investigate the issues brought forth above and share my findings with public
officials and interested parties in the near future.  Although citizens are not mandated to participate in their governments'
decision-making process, I will continue to participate and hold our public
officials, at all levels of government, accountable for their decisions.

 

I continue to look forward to your responses regarding this
urgent Citizen and Taxpayer Request.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue #402

Cleveland, Ohio 44102

 

Attachments:

·       
Commissioner Dimora's response to my Citizen and Taxpayer Request (March 18,
2005)

·       
Citizen and
Taxpayer Request to the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioner
(March 17,
2005)

Request for Public Hearing on Whiskey Island

Citizen and Taxpayer Request to the

Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

 

Conduct a Public Hearing Prior to the

“Supplemental
Assignment and Assumption
�

and / or

“Consent
to Assignment
�

Regarding the Whiskey Island Submerged
Land Lease

(SUB-0295A-CU)

 

 

Citizen and Taxpayer
Request Prepared by:

Ed Hauser

11125 Lake Avenue
#402

Cleveland, Ohio 44102

 

March 16, 2005

 

Citizen and Taxpayer
Request Prepared for:

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Samuel W. Speck, Director

Ohio Lake Erie
Commission Meeting

Alum Creek State
Park- Horace R. Collins Laboratory

Delaware, Ohio 43015

 

Distribution List:

Interested Citizens, Public Officials, Organizations,
and Media Sources

Governor of Ohio- Robert Taft

Ohio Lake Erie Commission: Samuel Speck- Director, ODNR- Chair, OLEC; Joseph
Koncelik- Director, OEPA; Fred Dailey- Director, ODOA; Bruce Johnson- Director,
ODOD; J. Nick Baird- Director, ODOH; Gordon Proctor- Director, ODOT

Ohio Attorney General- Jim Petro

Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners: Tim Hagan, President; Jimmy Dimora, and Peter Lawson
Jones

Cuyahoga County Planning Commission: Jimmy Dimora, Chair; Board Members; Paul Alsenas,
Director

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor- William Mason; David Lambert, Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Board of
Directors
: Rev. Sterling Glover,
Chair; John Carney, Vice Chair; Michael Wager, Secretary/Fiscal Officer; Monte
Ahuja; Candace Jones; Miriam Lugo; Robert Peto; Steven Williams; Leonard Young

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, President- Gary Failor

Mayor of Cleveland- Jane Campbell

Cleveland City Council: Frank Jackson, President; Joe Cimperman, Ward 13
(Port Authority location); Matt Zone, Ward 17 (Port Authority location); Cleveland
City Council Members

Cleveland Lakefront Plan Advisory Committee: Tracy Kirksey, Chair; Committee Members

Cleveland City Planning Commission: Anthony Coyne, Chair; Board Members; Robert Brown,
Director; Debbie Berry, Lakefront Plan Project Manager

 

March 16, 2005

 

Samuel W. Speck

Director, Ohio Department
of Natural Resources

1930 Belcher Drive, Building D-3

Columbus, Ohio 43224-1387

 

Dear Director Speck:

 

INTRODUCTION

I am respectfully submitting my Citizen and Taxpayer Request
because of concerns and knowledge that the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners
(County Commissioners) are negotiating with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port
Authority (Port Authority) for the sale and/or transfer of the Whiskey Island
Marina property (Whiskey Island Public Trust Land).  

 

In fairness, Commissioner Dimora voted to acquire our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land for the people of Cuyahoga County and to
implement the county’s Whiskey Island
Improvement Plan
.  Commissioner
Dimora also opposes the sale of it to the Port Authority.  Both Commissioners Hagan and Jones are in
favor of selling it to the Port Authority.

 

Please consider my request to conduct a public hearing during
the lease application review period and prior to the “Supplemental Assignment and Assumption� and / or “Consent to Assignment� regarding the Whiskey
Island Submerged Land Lease (SUB-0295A-CU). 
The anticipated Supplemental
Assignment and Assumption of the Submerged Land Lease
is between Cuyahoga
County and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has assigned
the rights, title and interest for the Whiskey Island submerged lands lease
(SUB-0295A-CU) to Cuyahoga County.  For
the first time in history, the public has the rights, title and interests for
this precious lakefront and riverfront property.  The ODNR holds this property in trust for 11 million Ohioans and
has to approve any modifications to the Whiskey Island Submerged Land
Lease. 

 

I refer to the Whiskey Island Marina property, as our
“Whiskey Island Public Trust Land� because it is our public trust land for
public uses.  The Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land is extremely important because of its role in the natural systems of
the Lake Erie shoreline and its location at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River.  Public opinion supports a regional gateway
public park and keeping the existing recreational marina for public uses on our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land.

 

Over the last seven years, I have participated in state,
county, city and port authority public meetings and public hearings regarding
Ohio’s and Cleveland’s waterways initiatives. 
Over the last three years, I have given public comments at the Ohio Lake
Erie Commission meetings and the Coastal Resources Advisory Council meetings
regarding Whiskey Island issues.

 

I am respectfully requesting
a written response from you.  I
would like to know if you will request the applicants to supply additional
information and declare that a public hearing be held to obtain the necessary
information.
  This urgent request is
due to the extreme importance of our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land and the
County Commissioners attempting to finalize a deal with the Port Authority
within a week according to a WEWS newscast on March 10, 2005.  I look forward to your response regarding
this urgent request.

 

OVERVIEW OF THE
CUYAHOGA COUNTY PLANS AND THE CITY/PORT PLANS

 

Cuyahoga County
Planning Commission’s Whiskey Island
Improvement Plan

For the first time in history, since Moses Cleaveland
arrived in 1796, the region will benefit with this regional gateway park on our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land, with the potential to connect the east and
west lakefront and the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway to the
south.  For the first time in history,
the people of Cuyahoga County own the rights for public use to our Whiskey
Island Public Trust Land.

 

The park will allow all citizens an opportunity to enjoy our
natural resources and to enhance our quality of life 365 days a year, where the
Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie.  These
quality of life opportunities include but are not limited to hiking, jogging,
biking, fishing, picnicking, bird watching, volleyball, kayaking, sailing,
power boating, nature and history education, and of course watching the sunrise
over our great city and sunset over our great lake.

 

In February 2005, the county has started to implement the Whiskey Island Improvement Plan that
will actually improve our natural resources instead of impair them. The
county’s plan includes restoring the Whiskey Island greenspace area and the
only natural shoreline in downtown Cleveland. 
This plan will improve public access to the shores of Lake Erie and the banks
of the Cuyahoga River. 

 

The plan will also retain the 500 boat recreational marina,
the only marina in Cleveland that allows public access.  Whiskey Island Marina is the model for
public access marinas that the Cleveland Lakefront Partners are striving for in
the Waterfront District Plan. 

 

Whiskey Island Improvement Plan is Fiscally and Environmentally
Responsible

The County Commissioners acquired our Whiskey Island Public
Trust Land that includes the 20-acres of greenspace area, the 10-acre
recreational marina and the adjacent 30-acres of Lake Erie submerged land for
$6.25 million of county public money. 

 

The development costs for county’s Whiskey Island Improvement Plan to restore the greenspace area and
the natural shoreline and maintain the marina is a fraction of the public money
needed for the City/Port Whiskey Island
Plan
.  The marina will also generate
income to help sustain our regional gateway park and our public recreational
marina. 

 

The quality of life benefits for all citizens will be well
worth the cost.  The Cuyahoga County Planning
Commission’s innovative and ecologically sensitive plan capitalizes on the
benefits of re-use, restoration, and fiscally sound improvements of existing
lakefront assets.

 

Consistent with the Ohio Coastal Management Program (OCMP)
Policies and Regulations

The ODNR is designated to implement the provisions of the
OCMP.  The ODNR has supported the
county’s plans for Whiskey Island by assigning the Submerged Lands Lease for
our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land to Cuyahoga County for public uses. 

·       
Any modifications to the submerged land lease must be
approved by the ODNR and are subject to public hearings, and a Coastal Consistency Review for any
project needing permits.

·       
The Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan
is consistent with the policies and regulations of
the federally and state approved OCMP. 

·       
The county’s plan for restoration of the greenspace and
shoreline, continued public access and recreational boating is also consistent
with the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s Lake
Erie Protection & Restoration Plan
and Balanced Growth Initiative.

Consistent with the Cuyahoga
County Planning Commissions Initiatives and Plans

The County Commissioners have invested a lot of county public
money for its sustainable and visionary planning initiatives that concluded our
Whiskey Island Public Trust Land should remain for public use with public
access, greenspace, trail connections, recreation and boating.

·       
The County
Greenspace Plan
recommended that it remain as greenspace in the Greenprint Plan. 

·       
The Cuyahoga
Valley Initiative
recognized its importance for the role it plays in the
natural systems of Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River and as an important regional
gateway park. 

·       
The Towpath Trail
Extension Plan
depicts a Whiskey Island lakefront connection trail to the
Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway. 

·       
The Whiskey
Island Improvement Plan
recommends restoration of the greenspace and natural
shoreline along with continued public access, recreation and boating.

 

Consistent with
Public Opinion for a Park, Continued Access, Recreation and Boating

Public comments gathered by the Cleveland City Planning
Commission for the Waterfront District
Plan
demonstrate the overwhelming support for a public park, continued
public access, recreation and boating and on Whiskey Island. 

·       
There were not any (0) Waterfront District Plan public comments that recommended the
installation of a Port Authority facility for bulk gravel storage on Whiskey
Island Marina, nor do the public comments support the construction of a new
marina on the Whiskey Island greenspace. 

·       
The Friends of Whiskey Island gathered over 3500
signatures on a petition in support of a public park on Whiskey Island and
submitted the petition to state, county and city officials.

 

Cleveland
Lakefront Partners Waterfront District
Plan- Whiskey Island Small Area Plan

The reasoning behind the Whiskey
Island Small Area Plan
(City/Port
Whiskey Island Plan
), a fiscally irresponsible and environmentally
destructive plan is to relocate a 10-acre bulk storage facility on Dock 20 to
the Whiskey Island Marina basin.  The City/Port Whiskey Island Plan will
destroy our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land for a year-to-year lease of
$150,000 to Kenmore Construction located in Summit County.

 

The plan to relocate the Port Authority bulk facility
includes filling in the marina basin to store mountains of gravel seventy feet
high; bulk head the marina basin; building truck access roads; demolishing the
existing 500 boat recreational marina docks, buildings and infrastructure. 

 

The City/Port Whiskey
Island Plan
also includes a new large-scale recreational marina development
project on the 20-acre greenspace area and natural shoreline that includes
building a new breakwall; dredging the harbor; installing new docks; bulk head
the natural shoreline; destruction of the greenspace area by constructing new
marina buildings and large parking lots to accommodate a large marina.

 

The Port Authority never provided any alternatives to
relocate and consolidate the Dock 20 bulk storage facility on the Cuyahoga
River.  Nor did the Port Authority
provide a feasibility study, an economic impact study, or an environmental
impact assessment for its plan.  The
Port Authority’s plan will be a “Mistake on the Lake.� 

 

City/Port Whiskey Island Plan is Fiscally and Environmentally
Irresponsible

The City/Port Whiskey
Island Plan
will need to use tens of millions of federal, state and local public
money to develop its environmentally destructive plans.  The costly plans will diminish the citizens’
quality of life, truncate public access and have a negative environmental
impact on the aquatic and wildlife habitats on and around our Whiskey Island
Public Trust Land. 

 

The ODNR’s Coastal
Consistency Review
process will have to examine all the federal, state and
local permits needed for the projects. 
The ODNR’s submerged land lease will require public hearings for the
modifications that are necessary for the City/Port
Whiskey Island Plan
.  The OEPA
Permit to Install for Air Sources for the new bulk storage facility may exceed
the air standards combined with the adjacent pellet transfer station at the
Cleveland Bulk Terminal. 

 

ODNR Cannot Endorse
the City/Port Whiskey Island Plan

The ODNR contributed $1,500,000 through a Capital
Improvement Grant for to the Waterfront
District Plan,
which includes Whiskey Island.  An ODNR letter to the Cleveland Lakefront Plan Project Manager dated
June 29, 2004, stated, “…As it is
currently represented, and without additional detail and explanation of
responsibilities for construction, operation, and maintenance, ODNR cannot
endorse the Edgewater/Old River Channel/Whiskey Island small area plan.�
  

 

CONCLUSION

The City/Port Whiskey
Island Plan
should require a public hearing for additional detail and
explanation of responsibilities for construction, operation, and maintenance
prior to issuing the submerged land lease to the Port Authority.  The Port/City
Whiskey Island Plan
is also subject to a Coastal Consistency Review by the ODNR.  The Port Authority deleted its obligation to conduct public
hearings and denied my requests in the past. 
The Cleveland Lakefront Partners public meetings did not justify its
plans for our Whiskey Island Public Trust Land and did not provide adequate
details for the public to understand the logic behind its plans.

 

Therefore, as a citizen and taxpayer of Cleveland, Cuyahoga
County and Ohio, I am advising and requesting a “Public Hearing� to be
conducted by the ODNR for any change in the current Whiskey Island Submerged
Land Lease (“Supplemental Assignment and Assumption of Submerged Lands Lease�-
SUB-0295A-CU, December 16, 2004), by appropriation and/or transfer and/or sale
from Cuyahoga County to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and/or any
other public agency and/or private party. 
As required by OAC 1501-6-04: Public
Hearing/Public Meeting
.

 

The Submerged Land Lease Public Hearing must address, but
not be limited to the following:

·       
The “Cleveland-Cuyahoga
County Port Authority Expansion Project
�

·       
The “Cleveland
Waterfront District Plan-Whiskey Island Small Area Plan
,� approved December
17, 2004

·       
The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission “Whiskey Island Improvement Plan�

·       
Public money needed for development of for the
City/Port and the County’s Whiskey Island plans

·       
Provision by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port
Authority and/or any other entity to provide for the restoration, relocation,
or duplication of the property or facilities

·       
Coastal
Consistency Review
- federal, state and local permits for air quality, water
quality, shoreline structures, breakwaters, dredging…

·       
An “Environmental
Impact Statement
� for the degradation to this coastal property and
surrounding environment

·       
Public Comments

·       
Other

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Ed Hauser

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Reply on Whiskey Island

March 21, 2006

Mr. Ed Hauser
11125 Lake Avenue #402
Cleveland, OH 44102


Dear Mr. Hauser:

We are in receipt of your Citizen and Taxpayer Request asking the ODNR to conduct a public hearing prior to "Supplemental Assignment and Assumption and/or Consent to Assign" regarding the Whiskey Island Submerged Land Lease.

As this time we have not received any nor do we have any pending application for any of the above actions you enumerate in your request.

If and when we receive any such application you may be sure that we will consider your request at that more appropriate time.

Thank you for your interest in the ODNR.


Sincerely,

Samuel W. Speck
Director

SWS/ga