Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Waterville approves debated change in zoning

The Waterville Village Council has approved, for the second time, a controversial zoning change for a bank project, and also approved a tax abatement for a local business.

The council's July 8 approval of the zone change from residential to commercial to allow a Fifth Third Bank on the 1.14-acre parcel at the southeast corner of the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Waterville-Monclova Road as an emergency had to be redone because the council did not give a reason why it was originally passed as an emergency, solicitor Keith Wilkowski said.

Councilman Norm Witzler formally protested the vote, contending that the zoning change should not have been passed as an emergency measure because it would take effect immediately, denying residents a chance to respond to the council's action.

Councilman Ed Winzeler, who made the motion in July to pass the zoning change as an emergency ordinance, objected to another vote on the matter, saying that during his 20 years on council many emergency ordinances have been approved without outlining specific reasons.

Mr. Winzeler argued that the developer had waited so long and had been through so much on this zoning issue that the council passed the zoning change as an emergency measure to move things along.

Despite Mr. Winzeler's objection, the council voted on the zoning change, but this time it was not passed as an emergency; the new zoning won't go into effect for 30 days.

Mr. Witzler cast the only opposing vote. He noted that 460 people had signed petitions against a zoning change for that area, and residents could circulate petitions now if they object to the council's decision.

Residents have complained that retail business would lower property values; increase traffic and noise, and reduce the quality of life in the small town.

The zoning issue has a long history and has been the subject of repeated votes.

In the fall, the council rejected the zoning change for a retail center at the site, where the Catholic Diocese of Toledo owns nearly eight acres of land. However, there was some confusion over the outcome of the vote, and when the council reconsidered the matter, council members Ann Cherry and Mr. Winzeler, who had voted against the zoning issue, flip-flopped their votes and the zoning change was approved.

Then, Bostleman Corp. of Maumee, the project developer, scaled back its plans after residents signed petitions for a referendum on the zoning change for the retail center. At Bostleman's request, the council rejected the initial zoning change for the retail center plan. The council then initiated a zoning change for the bank to locate there because Bostleman Corp. couldn't seek another change within a year of being turned down for the previous request.

The council also this week approved a 10-year, 100 per cent tax abatement for real property tax for Kelic, Inc., doing business as Rimer Enterprises, Inc., and MM&N Realty Co., Ltd., at 916 Rimer Drive. The manufacturing firm, which employs 38 full-time, two part-time, and six temporary employees, plans to construct a 15,000-square-foot facility on its site to expand its production facilities.

As part of the $450,000 project, the manufacturing operation would move into the new building; the entrance would change to Disher Road, and utilities would be upgraded as needed, according to the firm's application. Ten full-time employees would be added.

Taxes to be abated over 10 years are $88,318, but the firm will pay about $15,000 to Anthony Wayne Schools and Penta Career Center.

The council also:

  • Hired Mischell Sloan of Waterville as the new utilities billing clerk, effective Monday;

  • Appointed Jay Bahr of the Cleveland Heights area as the new municipal administrator;

  • Learned that Mayor M. David Myerholtz has contacted Norfolk & Southern about the possibility of the community restoring the old railroad station as an Ohio Bicentennial project;

  • Discussed the formation of the Waterville Community Foundation, but delayed action until the next meeting;

  • Approved a $5,000 donation to the local senior citizens.

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