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Oberlin city officials question zoning board member's eligibility

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ELYRIA — City officials are questioning the recent appointment of a Zoning Board of Appeals member who may notmeet the requirements for the position because he did not have an active application on file.

Jim Cunningham, vice chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, asked Law Director John Clark to issue a legal opinion on Don Bryant’s July 2 appointment to the board by City Council.

In Cunningham’s request, dated July 12, he said the most recent application on file from Bryant was dated Nov. 9, 2016. The city considers an application active for a year, according to cityofoberlin.com. Bryant had completed that while seeking a position on the Planning Commission, Cunningham said.

Bryant served on the Planning Commission until May 20, when he resigned because his work required him to travel out of state and it was interfering with his ability to serve.

On Monday, he said the Board of Zoning Appeals meets a few times a year instead of the Planning Commission’s multiple times a month, which is more manageable with his schedule.

He said Clerk of Council Belinda Anderson urged him to consider applying for the Board of Zoning Appeals in a June 4 email because there was a lack of applicants. She also said she’d only need Bryant’s verbal commitment to move forward because the city had his November 2016 application on file.

Cunningham, in his letter to the law director, questioned Anderson’s role in soliciting Bryant for the role.

“The Oberlin City Clerk had no authority to solicit and accept — contrary to Oberlin City Clerk Belinda Anderson’s erroneous, June 4, 2018, 11:07 A.M. e-mail to Don Bryant,” Cunningham wrote in his email to Clark.

Bryant said Monday he was unaware that questions were being raised about his appointment.

City Council President Bryan Burgess said the issue will not be addressed until the Council’s next meeting in August. The Council is in summer recess.

“I can’t recall of the last time someone has complained of a board appointment, so this is a new situation,” Burgess said.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or by email at bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or on Twitter @BruceWalton.
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