Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Zoning panel divided on mini-mart's permit

Daryl Foster, 52, who lives near Dorr Street and Colling-wood Boulevard, said he's a regular at the Spot Mini-Mart, 525 Dorr, and wants it to remain open.

Opposing him and some other neighbors is ONYX - Organized Neighbors Yielding eXcellence, the local community development corporation, which says another liquor and cigarette outlet would be a setback for the central city.

Toledo City Council's zoning and planning committee held a hearing on a special-use permit for the store yesterday, but failed to reach an agreement.

"There's a lot of senior citizens over there. We need that store," said Mr. Foster, who lives in the nearby Pinewood Place development.

The committee voted 5-2 to defeat a motion from Councilman Michael Ashford to deny the permit. The committee then voted to forward the issue to the full council without recommendation for a vote July 25.

Through a mistake blamed on a retired staffer of the Toledo Plan Commission, the store was allowed to open two years ago without a required special-use permit, Stephen Herwat, director of the commission, said yesterday.

He said he discovered the store was operating without the permit last year and informed the owners that they would have to apply for one.

Store owners Omar Nazeer and Yassar Zreiqat, through their attorney, John Potts, presented council with a petition with about 1,200 signatures of support.

ONYX, a nonprofit agency that receives some of its operating funds from the city, urged council yesterday to deny the permit, saying the store has contributed to an increase in break-ins.

Deborah Younger, executive director of ONYX, said the store attracts people looking to buy alcohol.

"We are objecting to the nuisance that is emanating as a result," Ms. Younger said.

But Greg Fizer, who works for a real estate maintenance firm in the community, said he's a Spot Mini-Mart patron and believes the store has nothing to do with the rash of burglaries.

"Maybe we should focus more on some of the dope houses in the area," Mr. Fizer said.

At-large Councilman Lourdes Santiago voted against Mr. Ashford's motion. She said she likes the fact that the store creates foot traffic and said council is prohibited from denying the permit just because alcohol is sold there.

"I would like to know why there is a disconnect between the neighborhood association and a number of the neighborhood residents," she said.

Mr. Ashford said ONYX is looking out for the neighborhood.

"ONYX has worked hard to bring in quality affordable homes over there," he said.

He lashed out at the district councilmen on the committee who voted against his motion.

"This is the first time I've ever seen my district colleagues not supporting [the district representative]," Mr. Ashford said.

The Dorr-Collingwood area is in District 4, Mr. Ashford's area.

The Toledo Plan Commission voted 5-0 on June 8 to deny the permit. To approve the permit, council would need a three-fourths majority, or nine votes, to overturn a plan commission recommendation.

Contact Tom Troy at:

or 419-724-6058.

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