Documenters: Brimfield Township Trustees meeting for March 20, 2024

Brimfield Township Trustees
March 20, 2024
8 a.m.


Sue Fields Vice Chair
Nic Coia Trustee
John Dalziel Fiscal Officer
Roy Mosley III Chief of Police
Holly Woods Administrator
Craig Mullaly Fire Chief
Dave Rufener Roads
Cassie Weyer Parks and Rec
Joe Jamison IT

Documenter’s Notes

Vice Chair Sue Fields called a near-capacity room to order with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence. Tensions were elevated due to recent social media content regarding Joe’s Barbecue. Fields clearly explained the order of the meeting to follow. Fiscal Officer John Dalziel read a prepared statement concerning township zoning codes as they relate to Joe’s Barbecue:

“Since 2018, we have retained hundreds of jobs, creating nearly 1,100 new jobs thanks to our small business development…. In the six years that Joe’s Barbecue has been open, we are not aware of any missed days of operation because of any actions taken by the zoning commission…. Joe’s Barbecue is awaiting a permit from Portage County Combined General Health District, not the Brimfield Zoning Commission…. We will continue to support businesses larger and small and seek to advance the economic growth and development of Brimfield Township.” Following the statement, Dalziel indicated that Public Comments would not become conversations. The trustees and township staff did not respond to public comment.

Following the statement, the minutes from six public hearings held March 4 were tabled for corrections, and the minutes from the trustee meeting March 6 were accepted into record. The agenda was approved with minor additions and a clerical correction. Purchase orders and warrants were approved for payment. Fields then opened the floor. Each citizen who wished to speak was limited to three minutes.

Nine community members spoke during this time; all but one concerned Joe’s Barbecue. For the sake of brevity, this documenter has grouped some comments by content rather than maintaining order. Burt Riddick and Amber Groghan suggested the adoption of standing legislation and permanent licensing for mobile food businesses. Groghan was prematurely gaveled for time by Fields as she began to speak about a conflict of interest. The timekeeper interjected that Groghan had time left to speak, but Groghan had lost her train of thought.

Tammy Lindsay expressed a perception of impropriety since Trustee Mike Kostensky is also a restaurateur. Aaron Garrett does not believe new legislation targets Joe’s. Garrett expressed support for the board’s attempts to limit vendors within the township, but he reiterated his support for Joe’s Barbecue, noting that Joe’s has purchased the property where the business began. Jenna Farley and Marissa Purcell expressed their general support for Joe’s Barbecue and expressed concern over the township’s handling of the matter and the mood of the citizens. Brimfield Zoning Chair Tom Johnson read from the Ohio Revised Code comparing mobile food laws in Summit and Portage counties. Johnson argued that the law states mobile food operations must move frequently. Time expired before Johnson concluded his argument.

Finally, Joe Menendez, who owns Joe’s Barbeque, took the podium. He claimed there have been five permit changes in the six years his business has been open. Menendez suggested that Kostensky, who was absent from the meeting, had willfully avoided the morning’s meeting. Dalziel interjected on Kostensky’s behalf. Menendez shot back: “I thought this wasn’t a discussion. I think that’s why Mike’s not here.”

James McKee offered the lone non-barbecue comment, asking Economic and Zoning Director Michael Hlad about specific buffer distances between McKee’s property and his new neighbor. Hlad did not provide an answer during Public Comments.

Fields commended the audience for its participation.

Lindsay presented a safety concern regarding the egress from Speedway. Motorists turning right from Speedway enter a school zone without any signage.


The regular department reports proceeded quickly. Chief Roy Mosley III reported that the first ASHER exercise, coordinated by Portage County EMA, took place March 15. The board approved the purchase of a Keyscan access system from Silco Fire & Security in the amount of $10,460.


Chief Craig Mullaly reported a few items awaiting completion on the new fire station, including door and leak issues. All three new hires passed EMT Basics, and the department has one class to complete an in-house paramedic refresher course. Mullaly has contacted two ambulance vendors to begin the purchase process – currently a two-year lead time. The township is adding to the ambulance fleet to accommodate population growth. The trustees approved the purchase of six mobile radio stations from Vasu Communications for $17,469.42.


The trustees accepted the resignation of James Bishop from Roads.

Zoning/Economic Development

The trustees approved the preparation of conceptual drawings within the town center district by Wohlwend Engineering for the purpose of temporary use. A representative of Wohlwend estimated the planning project to cost $3,500. According to Hlad, the township is assessing a half-dozen properties.

Additionally, Hlad reported continuing work on Dunkin’ Donuts and the recent opening of Jack’s Pizza, and the trustees were presented an updated land-use table from regional planning. A commenter stated that a local business had recently been told to remove a sign. “That’s not coming from zoning; that’s not coming from the township,” Hlad said. He also responded to McKee’s earlier request for information by offering the code reference numbers.

Coia suggested a six-month mobile food permit to address the township’s predicament. Hlad explained that the trustees would have to create legislation asking the zoning board to modify the existing code, which would come back to the trustees for final approval following the approval of the regional planning commission. Hlad was also asked to explain the makeup of the zoning commission and the board of zoning appeals to the audience.

Coia then proposed amending the agenda to include legislation asking zoning to review the current 90-day temporary use permit, expanding it to six months, with renewable six-month permits. The motion passed. Coia then proposed said amendment, which also passed.


Superintendent Dave Rufener provided updates from the road crew, including: culverts and ditching, preparation for pothole work, salt status, chip-and-seal pricing, and tree removal pricing. Truck 25 is back in action. Cranberry Creek Phase 4 will soon be dedicated to the township. The trustees approved the preparation of a bid book by the Portage County Engineers. Legislation was passed to approve public ads for bids March 29 and April 5, and to announce a bid opening at 7:45 a.m. April 17. Bids are to be delivered to the fiscal office the same day.

Parks and Rec

Playground repairs have been completed with the delivery of mulch. The department hosted a scrapbooking event at the library and the annual Woodcock Walk. Temporary fencing was installed at McGuire Park to deter ATV traffic. After consulting with its insurance provider and attorney, Brimfield Parks and Rec will be taking over the sixth-grade cross country program.


Joe Jamison reported his ongoing work to systematize IT procedures. He asked for board approval to purchase door access for Phase B from Silco in the amount of $9,917; the board approved.


Two deeds were issued.

For the Good of Brimfield Township

McKee was not satisfied with Hlad’s response to his zoning question. “No setback changes have occurred in the LI district as long as I’ve been here,” Hlad answered. “There’s buffers. So I’d have to go into the code and look at the landscape buffers. There’s no one answer to this.”

Bill Anderson reported collecting about 6,000 pounds of canned goods for the Brimfield Community Cupboard at Brimfield Elementary School.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 a.m.

Ryan Lind
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