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Published: Friday, 2/2/2007

Wal-Mart asks Perrysburg to waive fee

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Wal-Mart has asked Perrysburg to waive permit fees for its proposed store at U.S. 20 and Simmons Road because it already has paid Perrysburg Township for a zoning permit.

Ron Mosby, senior manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said the company paid a township zoning permit fee of about $9,000 and that it would be unfair to pay Perrysburg about $21,400 for a similar permit.

Perrysburg's new planning and zoning code requires facilities built in other jurisdictions to acquire a Perrysburg zoning permit if the facilities will receive an extension of the city's utilities.

The dollar amount is based on the size of the building, which in Wal-Mart's case amounts to 184,000 square feet.

Wal-Mart is the first company to apply to build in the township but receive utilities from Perrysburg since the new code was adopted in March.

It already has paid Perrysburg $6,493 for multiple site plan reviews.

"We don't typically put in a request to have zoning permit fees waived because we typically deal with just one municipality," said Mr. Mosby, who sent a letter dated Jan. 29 to Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans requesting the waiver.

"We're basically being asked to pay fees to two government entities for one piece of property that is entirely in the township."

Members of Mr. Evans' administration are divided over whether to grant Wal-Mart's request.

Included in a packet of information provided to The Blade was a memorandum from Perrysburg Law Director Peter Gwyn which stated that he and Administrator John Alexander believe it would be "fundamentally unfair and inequitable for [Perrysburg] to charge a developer for such a permit when the developer" already paid the township for the same thing.

In turn, the mayor wrote his own memo to City Council urging its members to waive the permit fees, but not the site plan review fees.

Mr. Evans also suggested the dual-zoning matter should be discussed by a joint planning body formed by the city and township late last year to resolve such issues.

Rick Thielen, Perrysburg's director of planning, zoning, and economic development, disagreed.

He said the entire zoning code should be applied to all applicants, including the acquisition of a zoning permit.

Greg Bade, chairman of the Perrysburg Planning Commission, agreed with Mr. Thielen, adding that Wal-Mart "knew the fees existed before they even went into this.

"I'm tired of paying Wal-Mart's water bill and I'm [upset] members of the administration would even consider this," Mr. Bade said.

Perrysburg's fees can only be waived by City Council, which meets Tuesday.

Mr. Evans urged council's planning and zoning committee to hold a special session prior to council's meeting to discuss the matter.

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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