A rezoning request for about 3.5 acres near the point formed by Corey Road and Monroe Street for an office building has nearby residents upset that it would be an intrusion onto their street of upscale single-family homes.
The Lucas County Planning Commission, which reviewed the request, suggested developer Craig Harris iron out differences with the residents.
Mr. Harris is asking that the zoning be changed from rural-residential to commercial so he can build at one-story office building on the site.
Viewed from what would be the Monroe Street entrance to the property, an office building might seem to fit in with the surroundings because of the heavy commercial use of that street, but viewed by residents of Corey Road, it is an intrusion onto a street of upscale single-family homes.
Jeff Bixler who lives in a subdivision just off Corey and a little south of the proposed office building, pointed out that there are no commercial businesses on Corey from Monroe Street to Central Avenue, except for the Sylvania County Club "and that's been there since 1919.''
Mr. Bixler said there is no need to encroach on a traditional residential area, particularly when there are several commercial properties available on Monroe Street.
He noted that the two-acre parcel of the former Rentner Lumber Co. less than a mile east of the site has been available for years and that there are many signs in the area offering office space for lease.
The staff of the planning commission recommended approval of a business-professional office district, but it did not favor a highway and general commercial district, which Mr. Harris requested.
The staff wrote that because of "the intense commercial uses across Monroe Street,'' the office building could act as a transition to the residential nature of Corey.
Mr. Bixler said he appreciated the concern about transition, "but we don't see need for transition at all.''
Mr. Harris said he intends the building to be used for his own offices and that the drive at Corey would be primarily for a lot for parking about 20 cars. He said he intends for all four sides of the building to appear to be similar and there won't be one blank wall with a group of meters. The building will be finished in earth tones to reduce any visual impact.
The same site was recently suggested as a location for a new fire station, but Sylvania Township trustees dropped the idea in April after complaints by Corey Road residents. They said the road was too narrow for regular use by fire equipment and they charged that the move would disrupt the residential atmosphere of Corey.
Because the site is zoned for rural-residential use, it was noted that there are structures that legally can be built in addition to houses.
A similar request for a change in zoning was made by Sylvania Township trustee Jim Schwerkoske for property he owns on McCord Road south of Central Avenue. After his request was rejected, he constructed a steel barn on the property to store equipment for his business.
An agreement in that case was finally reached with nearby property owners and the change was approved, but commission members pointed out that simply rejecting the request by Mr. Harris might not be an appropriate long-term solution.
The developer agreed to arrange meetings with neighbors who are complaining about the requested zoning change and to defer his request to the commission until their meeting next month.
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