Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Planners OK closing streets for museum

The Toledo plan commission yesterday approved unanimously a measure that vacates parts of Jefferson and Parkwood avenues as part of the Toledo Museum of Art's plan to construct a $20 million building for its famous glass collection.

The resolution, which now goes to city council for approval, would close permanently Jefferson between Parkwood and Scottwood Avenue and change the intersection of Monroe Street and Parkwood to a 90-degree angle.

But the commission deferred a decision to change a park along Monroe across from the museum to C-2 commercial zoning.

The museum sought the zoning change because the park is part of an area being considered for the glass center site.

More than 15 residents from the Old West End area spoke at the meeting against the zoning change.

“By zoning C-2, we surrender a powerful instrument for controlling development for future generations,” said Robert Brandow, of 2015 Scottwood.

Several residents said they would be willing to accept a zoning change for a small area of the park after seeing site plans for the glass center. But they said rezoning the entire parcel gave the museum too much leeway for future construction.

The commissions deferred the rezoning until its next meeting on Aug. 9. Commission members said the museum should prepare a plan giving the exact location and dimensions of the proposed building.

The commission also voted to defer for 90 days the acceptance of a land use study that recommended multifamily housing as a good use of land north of Dorr Street and west of Glenway Road.

Apartments for University of Toledo students were proposed for the parcel, but more than 10 nearby residents objected strongly to the addition of more college housing.

“Student housing is a severe threat to these neighborhoods and their stability,” said Justice Johnson of 3909 Estateway Rd.

Residents cited College Station as a failed experiment with student housing. The development, now called Country Creek Apartments, 1500 College Dr., was converted to tax-credit housing.

Rey Boezi, a plan commission member, said he wants to know the university's position on the development of off-campus housing.

“What we really need is the university to give us some direction,” he said.

Commissioner Sue Wuest said the study should explore more alternative uses for the land.

The commission also approved a preliminary drawing for an expansion to a U-Haul operation at 841 East Broadway. The expansion would add 10,350 square feet to the existing 10,000-square-foot building. The approval was contingent on slight revisions that the commissions will review again.

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