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Published: Wednesday, 8/3/2005

Sylvania Township: New location recommended for limo service

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Michael Birmingham, the proprietor of Birmingham Limousine on Brint Road who last month was sentenced to jail time and to pay fines for business zoning violations, got the recomendation of Lucas County planners for a new business site.

The Lucas County Plan Commission recommends changing the zoning on two parcels at 4885 and 4901 West Alexis Rd., in Sylvania Township. The land will be used as office and garage space for Mr. Birmingham's limousine service.

The Sylvania Township Zoning Commission and the township trustees must OK the zoning change before the business can move there.

Plan commissioners recommended the change from suburban residential and multi-family residential zoning to highway and general commercial, to allow for the construction of a 12,000 to 15,000-square-foot garage and office building.

Mr. Birmingham had been charged with 24 zoning violations in Sylvania for operating his business in a residential area, after his neighbors complained about the noise generated by the limousine service. Sylvania Municipal Court Judge M. Scott Ramey continued the sentence, and said the case will be reviewed again in October.

Jim Moan, Sylvania law director, has said from the beginning of the case that Sylvania is not so much interested in punishing Mr. Birmingham as it is in getting him to obey zoning regulations.

Mr. Birmingham, a Sylvania resident who is an option holder in the company that operates the limousine service, described his plans to the commissioners even though he had not yet submitted a site plan showing the layout of the development.

Two residents who live on Arvella Drive in Syl-submitted a site plan showing the layout of the development.

Two residents who live on Arvella Drive in Sylvania Township and own houses next to the site of the proposed location for the limousine service, told the commissioners that the new business, which will be in a mostly residential area, could considerably reduce the market value of their houses.

The neighbors were also concerned about what would happen to the area if Mr. Birmingham sold the land to another business.

"We have no intention of selling the property. This is where our business is going to be located," Mr. Birmingham told the commissioners. He noted that the building will fit into the character of the area because it will be 1950s Art Deco style and the main structure will be a fabricated steel building.

In their recommendation for approval, the commissioners followed their staff's recommendation, which supported the zoning change in the area because the area is mostly commercially zoned and developed property.

The parcel was last zoned in 1980 when the township trustees approved the zoning of a multi-family residential district.

Contact Karamagi Rujumba at:

krujumba@theblade.com or

419-724-6064.



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