Doug Clyde chosen as Democratic nominee for Summit County Council race
For Doug Clyde, winning the Summit County Democratic Party’s nomination for the County Council race represents an important statement about how the views and positions he has taken as a candidate are being perceived.
“The nature of this thing that was, in fact, both astonishing and humbling was the amount of support and the people who were willing to stand up and support me,” Clyde said. “It exceeded my expectations and I am very grateful that I don’t have to go through a primary.”
Clyde, age 64, of Oakley, received 66 percent, or 59 of the 89 county delegate’s votes, on Saturday to defeat Sean Wharton, a fellow East Side planning commissioner. Clyde will now go head to head against Republican candidate Colin DeFord during November’s General Election.
While addressing party members at the convention, Clyde continued to highlight his experience in land use and resort-based development, drawing a distinction between himself and his opponent, Sean Wharton.
Clyde recently declined to forward a positive recommendation to the County Council on the Eastern Summit Planning Commission’s rezone proposal and accompanying amendments to the development code. Wharton voted in favor of it.
“It is the epitome of sprawl,” Clyde said. “To put this in perspective for you, this will be the largest rezone in either the East or West Side in Summit County, period. The job of county government is protect citizens. The zoning proposed by my opponent will increase sprawl and will render the impacts on issues such as traffic, water quality, and affordable housing, completely unparalleled.”
Clyde said while “perhaps hundreds” of landowners supported the zoning, “zoning is not based on public initiative.” He said it is based on the government’s need to provide for the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
“This is not a conversation about rezoning the East Side. This is a conversation about who has the greatest experience about dealing with the issues that face our county collectively,” Clyde said.
However, in Wharton’s view the vote was conducted “as if they were voting for or against the new zoning.” In an interview with The Park Record, Wharton, 50 and a Marion resident, expressed his disappointment in the tone of the conversation at the convention.
“It turned into a ‘do you like the zoning or not because a vote for Sean is a vote for zoning,'” Wharton said. “It’s a pretty dramatic statement and clear message from the county and current council members of what they want and it’s not to represent the people. Instead it is to kind of pull like-minded thinkers into the group.
“Doug’s qualifications are more of a community development director and if they need another one maybe we should second guess the one we currently have,” Wharton said.
Wharton suggested he “should step down from the planning commission if we don’t want to represent the people and diversity of the people.” He said he was endorsed by a majority of the East Side mayors and his vote on the zoning proposal represented the 80 percent of public comments that were made in favor of it.
Wharton shared various scenarios of what he believes will happen if Clyde is elected to the County Council, including more density and options for developers “that won’t benefit the public.”
“I think they deserve a voice and a voice to be heard,” Wharton said. “I know the writing is on the wall. I’ve been involved in enough of these meetings to know the direction Doug will try and push. There will be whole bunch of tools added to the tool chest for rezone options and master plan development agreements. They will put them through and utilize them under the umbrella conservation and smart planning.
“If you have enough money you will be able to get anything you want anywhere you want it in the county and it won’t benefit average person,” he said. “The average person will have to sell off their whole property and move away. People just want a little bit of flexibility with their property and they want to stay where they are at.”
To watch Clyde’s acceptance of nomination at the Summit County Democratic Convention on Saturday, go to http://player.tout.com/parkrecord/e3vhyb.
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