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Published: Friday, 5/14/2004

Charter school for arts clears zoning hurdle

Plans for a new downtown location for an arts charter school were advanced yesterday by the Toledo Plan Commission, amid concern about the loss of a small business incubator.

The commission approved rezoning portions of 331-333 North 14th St. from manufacturing to central business district commercial zoning. Toledo School for the Arts plans to occupy the third and fourth floors of the Seagate Business Center.

The building has been used by EISC Inc. as an incubator for 15 start-up businesses. Building owner Brian Friedman said EISC last year lost a $1.4 million state grant that funded the business incubator. At least two start-up businesses remain.

To replace the grant, the Regional Growth Partnership in December was awarded an $800,000 state grant to help high-tech firms and other northwest Ohio small businesses.

Rey Boezi, a member of the commission, said he wanted a report from the growth partnership and Toledo's Department of Economic and Community Development on how that grant is being used. He said he wants the two agencies to say how they're going to relocate the remaining start-up businesses, if necessary, and how they're going to replace the needed incubator space.

"We're very concerned that we're not getting any kind of business development in town," Mr. Boezi said. "I'm concerned that we don't let these companies, of which we have precious few, fall through the cracks."

A school official said the arts charter school needs more space and on-site parking.

Also yesterday, the plan commission approved:

●A special use permit for a new Toledo-Lucas County Public Library branch at the southeast corner of Lagrange Street and Manhattan Boulevard. The building would have 9,000 square feet and 15 parking spaces.

Lagrange property owner Larry Spieldenner said the site is unsafe and told the commission the library should have been informed of a 150-foot-wide parcel he has for sale in the 3200 block of Lagrange, across from St. Adalbert's Church and School.

●Rezoning property on the west side of Holland-Sylvania Road, south of Bancroft Street, for 60 single-family homes and a commercial building.

Ten neighbors living on Oakhaven Road signed a petition opposing the project. They contended the property is required to have a 100-foot buffer, and claim they have been forced to maintain the land abutting Oakhaven.

●Rezoning of the former Bassett Nut Co. building, 522 Lafayette St., for development of law offices and apartments. The parcel is zoned restricted industry and would change to central business district commercial.



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