LOGAN — Logan City Council voted 3-1 with two abstentions Tuesday night, to uphold the Logan Zoning Board of Appeals (BOA) decision to grant the Columbus Washboard Company, 14 Gallagher Ave., a zoning variance.
After at least seven individuals spoke before council urging it to act swiftly on the issue, Councilman Dave Driscoll, Third Ward, moved to vote to uphold and accept the BOA’s Aug. 18 issued variance, which will allow the washboard company to swap locations with North Fitness Center (NFC), 4 E. Main St.
Driscoll, along with Councilman Jim Robinson, At Large, and Councilwoman Judie Henniger, First Ward, voted yes; Mike Berry, At Large, voted no.
Councilwoman Shirley Chapman, Second Ward, and Councilman James Martin, At Large, abstained; Chapman because she felt she could not make a decision at the time and Martin due to conflict of interest as a Columbus Washboard Company employee. The majority vote was met with applause from members of the public in attendance.
The discussion prior to the vote included voices from the Hocking Hills Tourism Association (HHTA), Hocking Hills Chamber of Commerce, Logan in Bloom and local downtown business owners. Around a dozen people came to watch the council meeting, and police security was present, by contrast with usual City Council meetings.
According to a previous Logan Daily News report, last week the Logan City Planning & Annexation Committee ruled that the Columbus Washboard Company should remain where it is located, due to zoning incompatibility between the company’s operations and the zone to which it wants to move. The washboard company is currently in a Zone District M-1 (Restricted Manufacturing District); the spot to which it desires to relocate, and in which NFC currently operates, is in a Zone District B-1 (Central Business District).
However, Tuesday’s vote demonstrated that council may be inclined not only to encourage business, but also to reexamine definitions tied to Zone District M-1, and especially the meaning of small-scale manufacturing. But council members have stressed that when a variance is granted, it stays with the respective property forever.
“I think that I can only speak for me, but I’m certainly willing to look at changing this so that we don’t change the zoning,” Councilman Robinson said before the vote. “What we need to come up with are the right definitions... What we need to do is have it to where it doesn’t require a variance.”
Columbus Washboard Company co-owner Larry Gerstner and NFC owner Shaun North expressed that the situation was urgent, and that they have contractually agreed to close the purchases of each other’s buildings in November.
Gerstner and other representatives from the washboard company said once it moves to Main Street, it hopes to add to its services and sell food items such as coffee, ice cream and sandwiches.
In a phone call Wednesday morning North told The Logan Daily News he is “beyond excited” about the swap. The next step for the businesses will be to begin the respective moves, which will be a “logistical undertaking,” North said.
The plan is to move CrossFit Hocking Hills and NFC under one roof, North added. He also hopes NFC’s move is beneficial for the downtown area and its development.
“We’ve always had this dream of growing NFC into a bigger space that provides a different type of parking setup, too for us. We don’t want to take necessary parking away in downtown; people might need to go in and out of a retail store, for example,” North said. “But if somebody’s at the gym, they could be there for a couple hours... The gym, just for me, we’re happy to have been there as long as we have, but we understood that in order for the downtown to grow, we needed to make an uncomfortable move... But we understand (it is) the right thing to do.”
Before the City Council meeting, a variance was also granted in a 3-3 vote to a Main Street homeowner who wanted to convert her garage into a studio/event center.
During reports, City Service Director Bruce Walker said the city put in a change order for Orchard Street paving, which was canceled last week following a public meeting, as The Logan Daily News previously reported. It instead paved Wood Street at the suggestion of the Hocking County Engineer, Walker said.
Councilwoman Henniger, who chairs the Streets & Alleys Committee, said during reports that last week’s Orchard Street meeting gave her a desire to look into forming another historic preservation committee.
Council passed one emergency item:
Ordinance No 64, 2021, which authorizes all actions necessary to formally accept a Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC) grant issued to the city, declaring an emergency; Councilman Robinson said this grant will fund a charging station for the Logan Police Department’s incoming Tesla cruisers
Seven items were up for third reading:
- Ordinance No. 53, 2021, which appropriates $36,00 from unappropriated money in the water fund
- Ordinance No. 54, 2021, which appropriates $19,275 from unappropriated money in the sewer fund
- Ordinance No. 55, 2021, which appropriates $16,000 from unappropriated money in the recreation fund
- Ordinance No. 56, 2021, which appropriates $12,780 from unappropriated money in the general fund
- Ordinance No. 57, 2021, which renames a line item within the state highway fund
- Resolution No. 25, 2021, which authorizes the Mayor and/or city service director to enter into a final resolution with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to complete project PID number 91736; said project consists of resurfacing, pavement repairs, curb ramps and pavement markings within the city of Logan
- Resolution No. 26, 2021, which authorizes the Mayor to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Grant Program and to execute contracts as required
Eight items were up for second reading:
- Ordinance No. 58, 2021, which appropriates $19,100 from unappropriated money in the water fund
- Ordinance No. 59, 2021, which appropriates $2,100 from unappropriated money in the sewer fund
- Ordinance No. 60, 2021, which appropriates $25,500 from unappropriated money in the general fund
- Ordinance No. 61, 2021, which creates a line item within the water fund and appropriates $85,000 from unappropriated money in the water fund to the newly created line item
- Ordinance No. 62, 2021, which renames a line item within the general fund and appropriates $4,500 from unappropriated money in the general fund to the newly renamed line item
- Resolution No. 29, 2021, which authorizes the mayor to apply for, accept and enter into a water supply revolving loan account on behalf of the city for the construction of lead service line replacement 2021; and designating a dedicated repayment source for the loan
- Resolution No. 30, 2021, which authorizes the city to enter into an agreement for professional services of lead service line replacement 2021; and designating a dedicated repayment source for the agreement
There were no items up for first reading. Logan City Council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month; its next meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 10 S. Mulberry St. Meetings are open to the public.
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