LOGAN – At Logan City Council’s meeting Tuesday, council members had a lengthy discussion on the first reading of Ordinance No. 74, which would accept the Logan Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) report regarding a variance granted to property located at 4 E. Main St.
The ordinance and variance refer to a proposed, approved and presumably ongoing location swap of two Logan businesses: the Columbus Washboard Company, 14 Gallagher Avenue, and North Fitness Center, 4 E. Main St. The approval of the swap by council, and the manner in which it was done, have generated some controversy.
According to a previous Logan Daily News report, in September the Logan City Planning & Annexation Committee ruled that the Columbus Washboard Company, which lies in Zone District M-1 (Restricted Manufacturing District), was not compatible with the new Main Street location, which lies in Zone District B-1 (Central Business District).
However, when council put it to a vote about a week later, members voted 3-1 with two abstentions to uphold the Logan ZBA’s decision to grant the zoning variance, according to a previous Logan Daily News report.
On Tuesday night Councilmember Shirley Chapman, 2nd Ward, scrutinized the validity of the ordinance in a series of questions directed at City Law Director Abigail Saving. The law director indicated she has some concerns about the specificity of the measure.
“It says it was granted to section 157.054 but I don’t find that the report itself matches the language of the substantially similar usage. So there’s a conflict there,” Saving said.
The ordinance grants the variance to be used for product assembly activities; however, the BOA report does not use the word “assembly,” and instead lists several other substantially similar uses. Saving said she took the term “assembly” from Larry Gerstner’s variance application.
“This is the best that I can do with the report that’s presented,” Saving said. “So the intention of the ordinance is to uphold the Board of Zoning Appeals decision. And I narrowly construed it so that we’re not willy-nilly granting a substantially similar use to a use that isn’t specifically defined in our report.”
Council President Fred Hawk inquired about how the ordinance will now move forward in council; if it is passed, or alternately, if council votes it down. If passed, according to Saving, the variance remains with the property forever. Saving repeatedly expressed that she did her “best” with what she was given and that ultimately it is “up to council to decide.”
Councilman Dave Driscoll, 3rd Ward, expressed frustration with the council’s lengthy discussions on the subject.
“We’re stopping progress on somebody that wants to spend money and wants to do something downtown. And I think that’s been the problem (for) the past two months (and) this whole process – that they’re seeing how hard it is to get something done,” Driscoll said.
No action was taken and the ordinance is to be read on second reading at the next council meeting.
“This has to be the impetus for us to take a good, hard look at our zoning code and bring it up to date and come around to the times – the times they are a’changing,” Councilman Ed Tucker, 4th Ward, said. “And that means that we’ve got to figure out some way how we can get mixed uses into our zoning code.”
Before the discussion, Councilmember James Robinson, At Large, turned in a crafted proposal for a new definition of niche manufacturing in a B-1 zone. The proposal was given to Chapman as she is chair of the Planning and Annexation Committee. Chapman did not set a meeting time for the proposed definition; Robinson affirmed that the topic can wait.
In other business on Tuesday, council passed three emergency ordinances:
• Ordinance No. 70, 2021, which appropriates $34,7000 from unappropriated money in the general fund, declaring an emergency
• Ordinance No. 71, 2021, which appropriates $1,350 from unappropriated money in the water fund, declaring an emergency
• Ordinance No. 72, 2021, which appropriates $1,350 from unappropriated money in the sewer fund, declaring an emergency
Council passed three items on third reading:
• Ordinance No. 66, 2021, which appropriates $75,000 from unappropriated money in the water fund
• Ordinance No. 67, 2021, which appropriates $40,000 from unappropriated money in the sewer fund
• Ordinance No. 68, 2021, which appropriates $14,500 from unappropriated money in the storm water utility fund
Two items were up for second reading:
• Ordinance No. 69, 2021, which adopts sections 153.09, “Vacant Buildings,” section 153,10, “Foreclosed Properties and Buildings;” and section 153.11, “Rental Dwelling Permit,” and adds them to the city’s existing structure code. The ordinance also repeals chapter 150, “Registration of Vacant Property,” of Logan’s Code of Ordinances; this ordinance was tabled until council’s next meeting
• Resolution 31, 2021, which authorizes Logan Mayor Greg Fraunfelter to enter into a subgrant contract agreement between Hocking County, the Hocking County Board of Commissioners, referred to as grantor and subrecipient Logan Police Department, referred to as subgrantor, through the office of Violence Against Women OVW FR 2020, improving the criminal justice responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking grant program in the amount of $55,348
Eight items were up for first reading:
• Ordinance No. 73, 2021, which makes appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures of the city of Logan during the fiscal year, ending Dec. 31, 2022
• Ordinance No. 74, 2021, which accepts the Logan Zoning Board of Appeals’ report regarding a variance granted for property located at 4 E. Main St.
• Resolution No. 32, 2021, which authorizes the city to enter into an agreement for professional services of design for the phase 3 sanitary sewer improvements project; and designates a repayment source for the agreement
• Resolution No. 33, 2021, which authorizes the mayor to prepare and submit an application to participate in the 2021 Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) “Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)” and to execute contracts as required
• Resolution No. 34, 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 water system improvements 2020; and designating a repayment source
• Resolution No. 35, 2021, which authorizes the mayor to apply for, accept and enter into a water pollution control loan fund (WPCLF) on behalf of the city for construction of phase 3 sanitary sewer improvements 2022; and designates a repayment source for the loan
• Resolution No. 36, 2021, which authorizes the mayor to apply for, accept and enter into a residential public infrastructure grant (RPIG) on behalf of the city of Logan for the construction of phase 3 sanitary sewer improvements 20220; and designates a source for the match
• Resolution No. 37, 2021, which authorizes the mayor to apply for, accept and enter into an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant on behalf of the city for the construction of phase 3 sanitary sewer improvements 2022; and designates a source for the match
Logan City Council meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month; its next meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 10 S. Mulberry St. Meetings are open to the public.
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