Tax abatements approved for new construction, renovations

City Council approved the mayor's tax abatement initiative to incentivize new housing starts and remodeling within the city. The goal of the program is to reverse the city's population decline by making better housing more affordable. Before Council began conducting its regular business, University of Akron President Mathew Wilson introduced himself to Council and spoke about the progress he has been making both in forging relationships within the community and increasing enrollment. He said paid enrollment is up 20 percent over last year at this time. Below in order are videos of Monday's committee meetings and Council meeting.  Committees April 24, 2017 from Akron City Council on Vimeo Council April 24, 2017 from Akron City Council on Vimeo.

Akron considers medical marijuana facilities

Legislation was introduced that would regulate medical marijuana facilities in the City of Akron in anticipation of the State of Ohio's issuance of licenses to businesses for cultivation, processing, testing and dispensing of medical marijuana across the State. Public hearings on the zoning restrictions will be held at a regular council meeting May 1 at 7 p.m. This week also marks the debut of City Council committee meeting being made available on Council's website. Below in order are videos of Monday's committee meetings and Council meeting.  April 17, 2017 from Akron City Council on Vimeo April 17, 2017 from Akron City Council on Vimeo

Council to add video recordings of committee meetings to website

While Council considers the logistics of live streaming meetings, President Marilyn Keith has directed that committee meetings be recorded and posted to the City Council website beginning Monday, April 17. The process involves recording the meetings, compressing the video to make it suitable for the Web, and uploading the video to City Council's Vimeo page. The recordings generally become available for viewing a day or two after the Council meetings.

Tax abatement proposal considered by Council

Legislation to abate property taxes on new commercial and home construction and home improvements was introduced at Monday's Council meeting. The goal of the tax abatement progrm is to spur new development and grow the city's population. The legislation is the result of more than a year of study and data analysis and was a key recommendation of the city’s "Planning to Grow Akron" housing strategy report and the Greater Ohio Policy Center’s “Build in Akron” report.

Akron Soul Train begins journey

Conditional zoning that will allow a "living community for artists" to be known as Akron Soul Train was approved by Council at Monday's meeting. The new development on the west side North Howard, north of Beech Street, will include housing and exhibition and performance space for artist.

Expanded non-discrimination law passes

Council passed an ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to existing discrimination laws at Monday's Council meeting. The ordinance also created the Akron Civil Rights Commission to enforce complaints of unlawful discrimination. Council also passed resolutions honoring Ellet football coach Joe Yost and Deputy Clerk of Council Connie Genevish. With more than 200 victories, Jost is the winningest football coach in Akron history. Genevish worked for the city and Council for more than 30 years.

Council considers legislation to create Akron Civil Rights Commission

Legislation was introduced on Monday that would form an Akron Civil Rights Commission to hear discrimination cases and to extend existing protections to the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.The commission would hear complaints brought by residents who believe they have been discriminated against because of their age, sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, military status, disability or marital status, as well as for gender identity and sexual orientation. A Special Committee of Council was formed to consider the legislation and make a recommendation to Council.

City asks for grant to study child violence

Council approved the city's application for a $30,000 grant from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services. The grant will be used to hire an Akron Youth Violence Facilitator who will research youth violence in the city and develop an intervention plan. Council also passed a resolution Monday evening opposing the transfer of a liquor permit to Game 7 Bar & Grille, citing several recent shootings and many more police responses to violence at the bar.

Council approves neighborhood grant program

Neighborhood-based organizations in every ward will again be able to apply for grants from the city this year. Council approved allocating $10,000 to each ward for the "My Neighborhood Our Akron" grant program. Grant amounts can range from $250 to $1,000 for qualifying neighborhood improvements. The Department of Neighborhood Assistance will administer the grant program.

Tony Swain law passed by Council

Legislation that will give school crossing guards the same authority as school bus drivers - to implicate motorists who ignore orders and endanger children - was approved unanimously by Council Monday evening. Police will now be able to issue citations based on the eyewitness reports of school crossing guards. Prior to passage of the new law, police had to witness the infraction. The new law was named in honor of Tony Swain, who was killed by a motorists speeding through a school zone at Glover elementary school. Eyewitnesses said he gave his own life while pausing to push his sister away from a vehicle speeding through the school zone.

Akron City Council