Falls City Council Asks Commission Member to Resign | News, Sports, Jobs


NEWTON FALLS – The village council has asked the chairman of the planning / zoning commission, Brian Axiotis, to step down from the board after officials said he “Showed a complete inability to be neutral before public meetings on zoning matters. “

In a motion passed by the board last week, Axiotis’ attitude towards the Newton Falls Commerce Association asking for a retail license and the comments he posted on Facebook were cited as reasons for his withdrawal.

Council members said they felt “Sir. Axiotis has proven incapable of performing adequately as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, let alone president.

Officials said if Axiotis did not resign, the council would recommend that the Planning and Zoning Commission remove him, as the village charter allows.

The commission sits as judges to determine zoning overrides and appeals of zoning inspector’s decisions and rules on conditional use permits.

Fourth Ward Councilor Chris Granchie said he and other officials had received numerous written and verbal complaints about Axiotis’ unprofessional conduct.

“I am very disappointed with this”, he said.

Second Ward City Councilor John Baryak said anyone who attends a meeting should be respected, without foul language or name calling, especially from someone who represents the village.

“Your conduct reflects on all citizens and we cannot have it” he said.

Axiotis, who attended the meeting, said he was entitled to his comments on Facebook as part of his right to free speech.

He asked how the board can initiate the process to remove someone from a public board and how the motion was on the board’s agenda.

Axiotis asked how the board is transparent on many issues when people ask questions or have concerns in meetings and are closed, or ordered to be removed or face consequences, including termination.

“We can do better. All of us,” he told the council and other village officials.

Residents told council that Axiotis posted offensive social media posts and had an attitude when interacting with the trade association, residents and zoning inspector decisions.

Resident Julie Lemon said Axiotis, as a public official, should behave more professionally and with decorum and not do “vulgar and offensive comments” in line.

Lemon said that Axiotis called the people “liars” and argues with many people in meetings, which she has seen while watching recorded meetings.

“He represents the community and should be held to a higher level. He does not speak for the entire town planning and zoning council. I would like him to resign, but he has too much pride to do so, “he added. she said.

Baryak’s motion to remove him from the commission was not given a second at the December 6 meeting, but was unanimously approved by the board on Wednesday.

Lemon said other members of the planning / zoning commission need to look into Axiotis’ behavior.

In the remaining cases, council voted 3-2 allowing the electric utility to remove a smart meter from a house at 312 Ridge Road.

Board members Baryak, Tesa Spletzer and Mike Serotko voted for while board members Granchie and Julie Stimpert voted against.

Officials said a smart meter was placed in a garage at 312 Ridge Road by a private company and residents said a power surge caused damage to their refrigerators.

Spletzer said the Jamie Kline family, who live in the house, agreed to pay the $ 205 to remove the meter and have opted out of the electric meter program.

“This one and only situation is the only exception in the future of the meter program. This is the one and only time we do it ”, Spletzer said.

Granchie said the matter should be between residents and the electric utility, not the council.

“I don’t know why the council would pass any law to do anything in our capacity to get in the middle of this. It doesn’t seem fair to me ”, said Granchie.

“How do you do this for one person and not for another. I fear that this will create a precedent ”, said Stimpert.

Spletzer said meters were installed on houses and other buildings that were not supposed to have one. Spletzer said someone went to the Klines property and put a meter on their garage where it shouldn’t have gone.

Mayor Ken Kline has said he wants the public to know that there is no connection between him and the Kline family.

Resident Jim Luonuansuu said if the village paid for one person’s meter removal, then they would have to pay for other residents

He said the board was making these sets “A dangerous precedent”.

Bill George of the Electrical Department said a meter in the garage had been turned off and had not been activated.

“We don’t pull the meters when they’re started. It was disabled for one reason or another. The meters remain on indefinitely in case the customer decides to have the service again ”, said Georges.

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