The COVID-19 pandemic effectively sidelined efforts to move forward with the issue of creating a Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District. Nonetheless, the issue has surfaced once again, and this is a summary update as of Oct. 10, 2021:
* Articles have been published recently, including in Crain’s Cleveland Business (https://www.crainscleveland.com/real-estate/battle-yellow-creek-set-resume)
and two relevant stories in the Akron Beacon Journal (July 10 Supporters await next step on potential Yellow Creek Watershed Conservancy District (beaconjournal.com) and Committee to discuss progress toward Yellow Creek watershed district (beaconjournal.com) on Sept. 17) providing updates on the issue:
* Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Kelly McLaughlin and Medina County Common Pleas Court Judge Chris Collier have been assigned to what will be the conservancy court. They held a case management conference Sept. 29 for attorneys and anyone who had addressed the court. Conservancy district petitioners were asked to provide addresses and parcel numbers of every property in the watershed, so as to ensure notification by the court of when a public hearing date to evaluate the pros and cons of this CD creation will be scheduled. Once those public records are provided (due by mid-October), Citizens for Yellow Creek will determine how best to reach out to everyone in the watershed to ensure they are educated about this matter.
* The official date for a public hearing has not yet been confirmed; however, indications are it will not take place before the middle of December and more likely into early next year. The court discussed holding a hybrid hearing with both virtual/in-person options and indicated that with the degree of interest around this matter, the public hearings are likely to take place over the course of several evenings.
* Of the nine communities in the Yellow Creek Watershed – Akron, Bath Twp., Copley Twp., Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Granger Twp., Richfield Twp., Richfield Village and Sharon Twp. – all but Cuyahoga Falls are on record opposing this CD formation at this time.
* The most recent journal entry of the court indicated only those who DID NOT sign the original petition to form the district could present testimony in opposition. However, we have affidavits from 85-plus (to date) property owners who signed the original petition and have subsequently requested their names be removed from those petitions. The court has been informed of this and has not yet made any decision regarding either testimony or signature disqualification.
* Citizens for Yellow Creek and others opposed to this concept will work with the attorneys of record to help buttress the case and provide a cohesive and unified opposition in this matter. Another update will follow with specific action items/ideas on how citizens opposed to a conservancy district can help prepare for the upcoming public hearing.
* On Oct. 13, the court received the address listings requested from Yellow Creek Foundation for every parcel/property in the watershed so as to ensure proper notification for a public hearing. Those addresses are public record so CYC can get those and reach out in whatever way the committee decides to inform people of this. This also means there is nothing standing in the way of the conservancy court convening and deciding on a public hearing date. The court has 60 days from that convening, but they may opt for it to happen sooner rather than later.