CONTINENTAL —The heated debate between Kevin Homier and the Continental Village Council regarding Homier’s building permit request for the former Pirates Den to be converted into residential apartments continued during the March 25 council meeting.

Village Solicitor Scott Welch reported he had spoken to the Ohio Board of Building Standards a couple times, most recently at 1 p.m. the day of the meeting, to review the uniform commercial code.

Welch addressed the Council and those in attendance, “Even if the zoning is changed on that building from commercial, as it is now, to a residential multi-unit dwelling, it still is going to be subject to the uniform commercial code, because there is less than a five-foot separation between that building and any other building throughout. That is according to the state.”

He continued, “If it is going to be under the commercial code, you’ve got everything down to fire suppression systems and whatnot that you’re going to have to comply with. Even if you get the zoning change from commercial to residential…you still have to comply with the state. It’s out of our hands.”

Welch stated, “If Kevin wants to request that it be changed zoning-wise to meet with the use that you intend to use it for, which is a multi-unit apartment, that’s fine, you can go ahead and do so, but you have to contend with the zoning board. You’re still going to have to comply with the state commercial code. Whether you guys want to follow through with that or not is up to you.”

Mayor Terry Dockery, Sr. showed a petition that had been given to him. Over 100 persons who reside, work and/or do business in Continental who are against the Pirates Den being changed into apartments had signed the petition. Homier pressed the issue by stating, “So in other words, the people I talked to were wrong.” Homier said he had spoken to a licensed architect from the State of Ohio who “had been involved in about a hundred of these, and that’s never, ever, ever happened any time he’s ever done it.”

Welch questioned if the architect had done a site inspection and if he was aware of the distance between the buildings had to have a minimum five-foot requirement. Homier retorted, “So you guys found the loophole that you wanted, right?” He also questioned what the petition had to do with the permit.

Welch explained, “Anybody has the right to petition when there is a requested zoning change and to be heard by the zoning board. That is, it’s not a ripe issue yet. You haven’t asked for a change in the zoning, anyhow. They couldn’t grant your permit yet, until you get a change in zoning.” Homier questioned if the zoning had to be changed to a residential one.

Welch admitted he was unsure of the exact classification for the residential multi-unit. Councilman Tom Armey pointed out that the zoning on the building had to be changed before Homier could make the proposed renovations. Welch reiterated that Homier must change the zoning for the building first.

Homier inquired, “What do you want from me? Give it to me straight.”

Councilman Todd Bartley replied, “When I talked to you last week, I told you I wanted to see the proper blueprints with escape routes and fire escapes and anything like that before we went any farther. If you’ve got that stuff, I think we need to look at it, and if we have to refer it to zoning, we’ll refer it to zoning.”

Homier presented a set of blueprints to Bartley and Armey.

Bill Homier, who was in attendance at the meeting, queried, “You got a hundred names you say who don’t want those apartments in town and may I ask why? I mean, what is the reason they are so against apartments on Main Street?”

When Welch said the petitions are irrelevant at this point, Bill Homier responded, “I understand that. I’m just wondering why they’re circulating a petition when there’s apartments all over town? Has it got something to do with the color of the people that’s going to move in there?”

Welch shook his head, looked at the elder Homier, and countered, “Really?”

Kevin Homier said he had gotten phone calls on that issue.

Bartley cautioned Kevin Homier, stating that had not been brought up in Council. He continued, “Outside of here is something else. Right now, we’re talking about last week’s meeting and we’re talking about this week’s meeting, ok?”

Welch added, “And honestly, Bill, we’re talking about a commercial building that you want a residential subsection. If Kevin wants to change the zoning, then ask for a zoning change and go before the zoning board.”

Kevin Homier then questioned what the hardware store was zoned, as there are apartments above it.

“What I want to know why can’t that be a commercial building with apartments in it if there’s one right next to it?” he asked.

Welch answered, “If they had a preexisting apartment before the building adopted the commercial code, then so be it, it’s there. However, if they asked to change anything that requires a building permit, then they are subject to the ordinances and the commercial code…You’re the one that wants to do this. You want to change the zoning, then ask the Village and the zoning board to change the zoning.”

Homier admitted he did not know the procedures that he needed to follow. Welch suggested Homier contact his attorney to petition to have the zoning changed.

Armey added, “It’s all state code. There’s no reason for getting in any arguments. If you want to change it, like he (Welch) says, you’ll have to follow the procedures to do so. You’ll have a zoning meeting with the zoning members here. It’ll come back to council, and whether it gets approved or not approved, that’s the steps that are going to happen.”

In other matters, Mayor Dockery informed Council that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) would not be paving Main Street until the Spring of 2017. ODOT had requested if any other part of Main Street needed attention before that time, the Village should notify them.

Mike Leahy, from DJL Material and Supply in Akron, OH, met with Mayor Dockery. The company has a $40,000 machine that seals cracks in street pavement; they allow villages to use the machine at no charge. DJL would also train employees to use the machine. The only stipulation is that the village purchases the rubbery cement material, at a cost of 85 cents per pound, from DJL.

Resident Donny Wagner said he had ordered a building kit, and inquired if he needed a variance. The mayor suggested that in order to be fair, Wagner should get his property surveyed. The mayor also referred Wagner to Councilman Armey for any other issues.

Council approved resident Charlene Finch’s request for a water faucet/spigot in the park. Finch explained she works with the Junior Gardeners to water the park’s plants, and they have had to utilize residents’ personal water supplies. The mayor said since there is a water line across the street to the hydrant in the park that can be changed out, this Spring would be an opportune time to make the change.

Council also approved:

• minutes from the previous meeting;

• bills incurred since last meeting;

• signature cards for five account at the Huntington Bank;

• the mayor’s attendance at the Northwest Ohio Mayors and Managers Association meeting on March 26; and

• the transfer of $10,000 from the general fund to the street fund.