April 18, 2014

Partly cloudy

Medina Twp. asks city prosecutor to battle Doraty displays

MEDINA TWP. — Instead of hiring a private law firm, town­ship trustees are looking to the Medina City Prosecutor’s Office in its zoning code dispute with Kia dealership owner Bill Doraty.

Township officials say the inflat­able displays Doraty places on the business’s roof at 2925 Medina Road violate township code. Doraty has been using the dis­plays, which are mostly seasonal in nature, since 2008. A giant bee sat on the roof this week.

This bee is the latest inflatable figure atop Bill Doraty’s Kia dealership in Medina Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KAITLIN BUSHINSKI)

This bee is the latest inflatable figure atop Bill Doraty’s Kia dealership in Medina Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KAITLIN BUSHINSKI)

Trustee Ray Jarrett has said Doraty’s displays exceed allowable signage under township zoning code. The inflatables are consid­ered signage because they draw attention to the business, he said.

“Roof signs shall not project above the roof of a building with a flat roof,” according to the code, and inflatables are considered signs per the code.

The township has sent letters to Doraty regarding the violations and has moved to take legal action against the dealership owner.

“It’s kind of a unique situation where there have been several conflicts with different attor­neys,” Jarrett said. Under the Ohio Revised Code, the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office acts as legal adviser to the townships, and normally the township would request the office to pursue legal action.

However, county Prosecutor Dean Holman recommended the township secure outside counsel after a member of the township Zoning Commission alleged Hol­man and township Trustee Michael Todd held a “secret meet­ing” in Columbus about the Doraty issue. Both men deny any meeting took place.

Even though the accusation was false, Holman has said he “wanted to stay above the fray” by declining to be involved.

After Holman declined to take on the case, the township con­tacted Cleveland law firm Walter and Haverfield; but due to the township’s “economic situation,” trustees were advised to see if the city prosecutor’s office could han­dle it.

City Law Director Greg Huber said he too had a con­flict in the case and he appointed Parma Prosecutor Tom Weinreich to handle it. Huber said his department reg­ularly serves as prosecutor for the townships.

“As far as I know, nothing has been sent to Mr. Doraty as far as the new prosecutor. They’re reviewing the case right now,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett said he has tried to work with Doraty “various times” in the past on the issue.

“Normally everybody has observed our zoning code and we’ve never had a problem with approaching individuals or businesses about the zoning codes to correct (something),” Jarrett said. “It’s unfortunate that we’ve got to go in this direction. We have to be fair and consistent across the board in regards to our zon­ing.”

Doraty did not return phone messages seeking comment this week. He has said he is not going to give up protesting the code.

“It all started because I wanted to put an inflatable on my roof,” Doraty has said.

He said if residents can use inflatable seasonal displays in their yards, he should be able to as well.

“They have the inflatables classified under their signs,” Doraty said of the zoning code. “It’s clearly not a sign. It’s a dis­play.”

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.

  • jjones

    People, you wonder why there aren’t any jobs out there? This is why. It is because of our elected officials who have nothing better to do, than to harass good businessmen and drive them out of our state!

    Look at all Bill Doraty does for this community. He is a good businessman. He employs a lot of people. He pays his taxes. He has quality incentive programs for students at Medina High School. He is a good neighbor. He is a good man.

    If he wants to put a balloon on his roof to attract customers to this county, to pay sales taxes HERE instead of Cleveland or somewhere else, we should let him. That’s what car dealers do. They put balloons on their roofs. Let him alone, or better yet, THANK HIM for all he does for us.

    Change your “law” if you have to, but leave him alone! And if the “Trustees” won’t do it, VOTE THEM OUT!

  • phnorris

    Medina Twp. is the most business unfriendly group of Trustees in NE Ohio. I can relate a multitude of stories about the pain and suffering they bring their local businesses. Sign approval delay’s, re-application demands to ultimately collect additional fees, unreasonable architecture demands….the list is endless.

    Ask any builder, new business start up or high profile business person in Medina COUNTY and they will tell you about the mostly negative stories about Medina’s near-sighted, small minded, negative trustees.

    Displays and ballooons sell cars! Sold cars mean jobs and tax collections. The only reasonable guy you can talk to is Mr. Todd. The rest all ‘long’ for the days they can hunt ‘rabbitts on Public Square’ again. Times changed, they have not! Vote these people out!

    Former Medina Twp business ownr and concerned citizen.

  • smp917

    This is really stupid. My kids love to drive by Bill Doraty Kia and see the inflatables. I cannot not wait to see what he puts up next. I do not see that it is hurting anything. Just another thing that Medina does not need to be focused on. Hello, what about our schools and getting bussing for the kids. UNBELIEVABLE, Bill Doraty does good things for Medina and our schools. Leave him alone.

  • commoncents

    Are the inflatables from the local company in Brunswick that makes them? Scherba Industries?

  • dkovacs

    These two new trustees Jarrett and Gardners priorities so out of touch with reality. This balloon is their number one priority followed by a park, trees and lights on poles. The Police Department has no money and not enough cops and it took one almost two hours to respond to my home, the officer was nice and explained that he was the only one working in the Township, so while Bills cars get stolen, houses are being broken into and people are stealing from the Township at least the balloon may come down (or maybe someone will steal it). The Fire Department is always battling with these trustees for needed equiptment with money they have but cant touch. Don’t get me started on the roads…. But hey at least we may not have a balloon. BILL DORATY FOR TRUSTEE !!!

  • dkthomas64

    It’s not only “businesses”, folks. It’s churches. Everytime our church puts out a rolling sign to announce a special event, we get “dinged” and threatened. So we moved to getting printed signs (more costly). Again, no good. Have to get a permit EVERY time a little sign goes up. What do these people DO all day? Talk about an unfriendly town. Doraty is a CAR DEALERSHIP. It’s not attractive there. There’s no reason to have him take down the inflatables. They are a display. All dealerships do it…balloons and the like. They employ people, obtain sales taxes, sponsor people, and, yes, that balloon is made in Brunswick….locally made displays and these buffoons want to cut off their noses to spite their faces. Unbelievably stupid.

  • oc54

    This is nothing more than a witch hunt. What is the difference if Doraty put up an inflatable or Medina Auto Mall puts flags on all thier cars and tethers a balloon 100 ft. in the air? Let’s put it to the voters of Medina Twp. and see what we think. Better yet, lets drive Doraty out of buisness so that we can all look at an empty car lot, that’s much more attractive than an inflatable. Who ever voted for Jarrett and Gardner obviously didn’t do thier homework. Just glad she’s only on a two year term….Just hope I can continue to enjoy the inflatables for a long time … more eye appealing than the ugly Jarrett and Gardner election signs..(but those are ok to put all over the twp)…. Thank you Bill Doraty for all you do for our community, they should name a park after you!!! o’ya, you have to be a trustee for that to happen.. BILL DORATY FOR MEDINA TWP. TRUSTEE!!

  • davem

    I used to live in Medina Township. It’s very discouraging to see the trustee’s with such an anti-business attitude. Even the mattress store at Rt 18 and Fenn was turned down for their request for signage. One must wonder why the rest of the plaza sits vacant.

    Perhaps one way to remedy the financial troubles of the district as reported by the Gazette on October 2nd is to be open to working with businesses that will help retain and add jobs to our community rather than trying to run them off. I agree with the poster above – BILL DORATY FOR TRUSTEE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • latenight

    The Medina Township Trustees need to take a quick look up the hill on Route 18 and see what an empty car dealership looks like! The Mitsubishi store is just now opening after being closed for close to two years. Every new car dealership in Medina, is in Medina Township, except for one. The amount of tax revenue these dealerships generate enormous. Each one of these dealerships employ a tremendous amount of people. (Some near 100 employees) Every one of these Medina Township Dealerships support this community. Bill Doraty has grown up in Medina Township. He started in a little used car dealership just north of Fenn Road, in Medina Township, 15 years ago. He grew his dealership to a much larger used car dealership and eventually to a New Kia franchise on Pearl Rd.,again in Medina Township. And finally, because of Bill’s hard work and commitment, he was able to build his current dealership, still in Medina Township. For more than fifteen years, Bill Doraty has done nothing but invest time, commitment and money in to the Medina and Medina Township communities. I do not know these trustees, nor do I want to. I do know Bill Doraty, and I would bet that he has done a lot more than the trustees could ever dream about doing for this community. If Bill would run for Trustee, he would win!

  • crystal19985

    It looks like the only people that are bothered with the inflatables are the trustees.Why all of a sudden are they making a big deal of them now.Did someone get upset with Mr. Doraty and now has it out for him.Leave the man be and his business.There are much more important things to take care of than harassing someone over a giant balloon that isn’t bothering anyone.

  • 1fef

    What’s next Medina TWP? No Christmas or other holiday displays in our yards? Are you freaking kidding me with this?

  • gismo

    Mr Doraty does so much for this community how come we can not leave him alone. The Township trusties should focus on some real problems. Like some properties that look like junk yards. We need more People like Bill Doraty so that this community can move forward and stop being petty. Inflatables are not signs because if they are the trustees will have to fine everyone who displays one in there yard thats one way to make money.
    The election is coming up and there will be signs all over town, do they have permits and are they fined ???? I do think not . i vote like every body else Bill Doraty for Trustee!!!!!!!!!!!