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Published: Friday, 2/23/2007

Perrysburg panel rejects fee waiver for Wal-Mart

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Wal-Mart had the support of prominent members in Perrysburg's government to waive zoning permit fees for its proposed store on U.S. 20 at Simmons Road, but apparently that support didn't include some City Council members.

Council's planning and zoning committee voted unanimously Wednesday night not to recommend the waiver of the fees, which total $21,400.

The committee instead decided to explore reimbursing Wal-Mart for the $9,000 it has paid to Perrysburg Township for a similar permit.

Perrysburg Mayor Nelson Evans, Administrator John Alexander, and Law Director Pete Gwyn all urged council to waive Wal-Mart's fee outright.

Councilman Kevin Rantanen, one of the three planning and zoning committee members, said he disagreed with waiving the fee because it will cover the city's cost of conducting inspections at the store's site.

"I don't know if [the mayor's administration members] sat down and thought this through, but we'll still be doing work out there," Mr. Rantanen said. "The township charges a fee to cover the work they do on site, and we do the same thing."

Committee Chairman Tim McCarthy said he took the mayor's recommendation into account, but still felt Wal-Mart should be responsible for the fee.

"The conclusion we reached was that Wal-Mart should've known all along about the fee," Mr. McCarthy said. "It should not have been a surprise."

The committee directed Rick Thielen, the city's planning, zoning, and economic development director, to consider a formula for adjusting the fee in instances where companies have to obtain permits from the city and township.

Mr. Thielen said the formula probably would take Perrysburg's fee and subtract the township's fee from the cost.

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

Mr. McCarthy said if council approved the rate adjustment, his committee would consider reimbursing Wal-Mart for what it paid to the township.

Mr. Thielen said council would act on whether to waive Wal-Mart's fee outright at its meeting March 6, but likely wouldn't consider a rate adjustment until a later date.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. petitioned council last month to waive the city's fee because the company already paid the township.

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.

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.

Contact Joe Vardon

at: jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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