Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Pat Wack steps down after 18 years of service

Mayor hopes to appoint new member in January

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- After nearly two decades as the chairman of the Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission, Pat Wack has decided not to seek reappointment to the Commission.

He made the announcement earlier this month. His current term expires Jan. 31, 2014.

"It's been 18 years. It's been a long time," Wack, 69, said. "I've enjoyed it. It's been great. We've done a lot of projects."

His decision to step down as a Commission member came from constraints of time and geographic location. He and his wife, Nancy Wack, enjoy vacationing and visiting their grandchildren who live in the U.S. and overseas, which he says makes it difficult for him to attend all of the Commission meetings.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with every commissioner and city official who served during my term," he said. "I would especially like to thank Jerry Taylor, who has served as vice chairman for my entire tenure and is the only member who was on the board prior to 1995."

He added the Commission couldn't have done its work as successfully without the cooperation and assistance of former Mayor Chris Grimm, Mayor Dave Kline and the city's Building Department, especially Roger Lyons, the former city engineer and current code enforcement official.

"I thank him for all his years of dedicated service to the city of Tallmadge. He has really been a pillar on Planning and Zoning," Kline said.

Kline hopes to appoint a new Commission member in January.

Former Mayor Paul Warzinski appointed Wack to the Commission in 1994, he was elected chairman in 1995, a position he's held ever since.

The Commission reviews and provides input about nearly every zoning change and commercial and residential development in the city. Some of the projects that came before Commission during his tenure include the building of Eastwood Square shopping plaza at Eastwood and South avenues, major renovations and the addition of a gas station at Giant Eagle on West Avenue, the new Tallmadge High School on North Munroe Road in 2008, several additions and updates to Summit Racing on Southeast Avenue, Tallmadge Recreation Center on North Munroe Road in 2004, AHEPA 63 Senior Apartments on South Avenue that opened this year, the proposed mixed-use development of the property next to City Hall where the former Tallmadge Middle School sits, and all single family home and condominium developments.

The Commission also oversees revisions to the city's comprehensive, land use and thoroughfare plans and the Design Control District.

Wack has found one of the most challenging aspects of being a Commission member is trying to adhere to the Commission's obligations while pleasing the city's residents.

"As a commission it is our responsibility to act in the best interest of the entire city, but we do our best to balance the concerns of the neighbors and businesses who reside in it and are being affected by any proposed change. Occasionally this requires difficult and unpopular decisions," he said.

Wack said he intends to remain active in the Tallmadge Rotary as a charter member and the Tallmadge Foundation as a trustee, and if he's needed for short-term projects, he'll be happy to oblige. He'll also continue to maintain his active tax, probate, estate planning and business law firm Sansonetti & Wack in Fairlawn.

"I think in the future, as in the past, the continuing challenge for the city is to bring new business and residential development to the city while at the same time preserving its traditional character," Wack said.

Last month, the city honored Wack with a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize him for his contributions to the community. He has also been a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Tallmadge Foundation, Tallmadge Athletic Boosters and chairman of the Charter Commission.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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