The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Dec. 5, 2022

Council OKs convenience store variance

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council approved a zoning request for a convenience store chain wanting to build a facility at the intersection of Ervin Road and Washington Street.

Van Wert resident Jim Clay speaks in opposition to a conditional use variance given to Casey’s General Store chain to place a convenience store next to his property on South Washington Street. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

City Council voted 5-1 to uphold a decision by the Van Wert Board of Zoning Appeals following an appeal by city resident Jim Clay of a decision to grant Casey’s General Store a conditional use variance for a convenience store at the site.

The zoning board had unanimously approved the conditional use of the property by Casey’s after company officials produced evidence that the planned facility would fit within the guidelines of conditional uses listed for the property, which is zoned B-3 (business).

Clay, who lives adjacent to the planned store site at 933 S. Washington St., spoke during Monday’s City Council meeting and questioned the need for another convenience store in the city, while also saying he feels having a convenience store next to his property would lower his property values.

Catherine A. Cunningham, an attorney with the Columbus law firm of Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter, spoke on behalf of Casey’s, noting that the zoning board performed its job by making sure the company followed city zoning regulations and that the new store fit within the conditional uses allowed for the property.

City Law Director John Hatcher also gave a presentation on zoning issues, noting that the only decision Council had to make in the case was on whether the Zoning Board of Appeals acted properly in granting the conditional use variance.

“What you need to look at is whether or not the procedure was correct, was everyone notified and had a chance to be heard, and did they do that as part of the hearing,” Hatcher said. “If that was all accomplished then, in my opinion, you should uphold the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals.”

Just one Council member, Second Ward Councilman Joi Mergy, voted against upholding the zoning board’s decision, while Councilman At-Large Warren Straley was absent and Council voted to excuse him.

During his report, Mayor Jerry Mazur noted that the former Clark’s service station on Jackson Street has been demolished, while also clarifying the city’s electric aggregation situation, noting that a company belonging to American Electric Power (AEP) had outbid First Energy for the county electric aggregation contract. The mayor said that city residents who were part of the aggregation contract and want to continue to receive the low aggregation electric rate need do nothing, as the contract will renew automatically.

Safety-Service Director Jay Fleming noted that he wanted time to discuss plans to control flooding at Vision Industrial Park and to discuss the city’s street painting contract.

Health Service and Safety Committee Chair Bill Marshall moved forward with legislation to upgrade city code violations from minor misdemeanors, with a maximum fine of $150, to an unclassified misdemeanor, with a maximum fine of $500. Legislation has been prepared for the change and introduced.

Marshall also talked about violations of the city ordinance against feeding feral cats, with those doing so in violation of the law.

City Auditor Martha Balyeat noted during her report that Council will need to transfer $11,428.26 from the General Fund to the Economic Development Fund as a payment from the Hotel-Motel Tax for economic development.

Council also approved a then-and-now certificate for $3,497.90 A&A Mechanical for recertify backflow within the city.

Hatcher also gave a litigation update that Van Wert is involved in related to House Bill 49, noting that Franklin County Court of Common Pleas

“I don’t think this is the end of it,” Hatcher said, noting that the attorneys litigating against the bill have the right to file an appeal and seek a stay of execution for the bill while an appeal is pending. The judge in the case can either grant or deny a stay in the case.

Council also approved a resolution on its consent agenda authorizing the sale of city-owned personal property that is not needed for public use, is obsolete, or otherwise unfit for the use intended, via Internet auction.

Prior to Monday’s City Council meeting, a committee meeting was held to discuss the possible expansion of one of the city’s three Community Reinvestment Areas to include a planned subdivision on Van Wert-Decatur Road. The CRA program is in place to assist in development issues, such as construction and renovation of residential and commercial structures.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 12, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 02/27/18 at 9:12 am. FILED UNDER: News