Trustees vote to move forward with Drug Mart annexation appeal

by Melissa Martin

Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 trustees meetings

Hinckley Township Trustees voted 2-1 Nov. 21 to move forward with the appeal of the Drug Mart annexation decision handed down this fall by the Medina County Court of Common Pleas.

Melissa Augustine and Monique Ascherl voted to continue the appeal, which sends the case to the 9th District Court of Appeals for a new hearing.

In a secondary motion, trustees approved an additional $15,000 for legal fees. Because the appeal has already cost Hinckley taxpayers $30,000, Jack Swedyk voted against proceeding.

“I don’t see a path forward that is successful, either by starting a new appeal process or going forward [with it],” he said.

Swedyk reminded the board that the court has ruled in favor of the applicant, so even if the appellate court overturned the commissioner’s decision, the case would be remanded back to the Medina County Court of Common Pleas. At that point, Drug Mart could correct any defects in their application ahead of the hearing. Alternatively, he said, Drug Mart could file for an expedited hearing, which means there would be no court hearing, just one before the board of commissioners.

“I just do not see a successful path moving forward,” Swedyk said. “I don’t see this as something that is winnable.”

Augustine disagreed, saying she has “brought up a new challenge” the township should consider. She elected not to unveil the strategy in the event the township uses it in court.

“I think this is one of the things we really should consider moving forward,” she said. “This is a way for Hinckley to maintain its borders. … I really hope that the next board [of trustees] considers forming a joint economic development district [with the city of Brunswick] moving forward.”

Though Ascherl supported moving forward with the appellate process, she said this is not the time to consider a JEDD.

“A JEDD conversation needs to happen after the annexation, one way or another,” she said. “That is an ultimatum to say we can make this go away. That is not going into an agreement as equal partners. That would be going into an agreement with us being the child and Brunswick being the parent telling us what they will allow us to have in the partnership.”

In other action, trustees approved the purchase of an upgraded camera system for the exterior of the police station at a cost of $17,952.

Administrative Sgt. Michael Schroll told trustees the department plans to use funds donated to the department from the police foundation to purchase the equipment from Hinckley’s own Zadar Technology Inc.

Schroll said the township’s current camera system at the station is approximately 15 years old and the quality of the equipment, particularly the DVR used to record footage, has become unreliable.

“We can use it outside to see people come and go, but it‘s too pixelated to identify anyone [using the footage],” he said. “We want to replace it with more current technology.

The current system features 11 cameras, but Schroll said the department has elected to add an additional camera to cover “a dead spot.”

From the time the equipment was ordered, Schroll said the new system was expected to be installed within two to three weeks and should be operational by the beginning of January.

Trustees also approved a second request by the department to purchase up to $3,000 in monitors for the camera system.

Schroll said the department planned to take advantage of Black Friday sales to purchase nine new Samsung 4K televisions. Three of the televisions are 50-inch, while six others are 43 inches.

Five of the televisions will be used as live-display monitors for the new camera system.

Schroll said the remaining four televisions will be used as part of an upcoming project the department has planned for 2024.

“Right now, we only have one monitor in the front office for the camera system,” he said. “This will help us monitor the cameras live.”

Trustees also accepted the resignation of Patrol Officer Robert Gabriel, effective Nov. 1. Schroll said Gabriel began working part-time for the police department in the 1980s and has continued to assist during special events, among other assignments.

Schroll said Gabriel recently retired from the Middleburg Heights Police Department and has moved to southern Ohio with his wife and horses.

Newly elected Trustee Cyntia Engleman was administered the oath of office Dec. 5 by County Commissioner Colleen Swedyk. She will replace Augustine Jan. 1.

Engleman thanked the community and voters for their support.

“My thanks goes out ot everybody,” she said. “I thank you for putting your trust in me for the next four years and for trusting me to work with the other two trustees for all that is good and right in our community.” ∞