Zone change could change view of EP park

EAST PALESTINE – Could a tattoo parlor take up residence at the entrance to Village Park? That was the question on Council member Alan Cohen’s mind this week.

Cohen asked the question during a discussion about a zoning change in that area. The property on Park Drive that houses Dr. Joseph Ortenzio’s chiropractic office is currently zoned residential.

Ortenzio approached the planning commission in January requesting a zoning change to business, or B-1, so it would have a better chance of being sold.

As it stands now the property can only be sold to someone intending to use it as a chiropractic office or other health care facility.

Ortenzio has been operating his chiropractic office in the residential area the last 35 years because of a pre-existing non-conforming use permit approved in the 1970s.

He has said he is looking to sell the property because he intends to retire. The location also features about 10 parking spaces behind the building.

The planning commission approved the matter at its January meeting which caused it to be forwarded to council for review and a first reading.

The reading was approved by council this week, although Cohen feels the zoning change is “an extremely bad idea.”

“Sitting right smack at the entrance of the park we could have gas stations, a tattoo parlor, a bar, restaurant, convenience store. We could lose control of what we have in there,” he said.

He explained that while those businesses aren’t necessarily bad for town, he doesn’t think they should be featured at the entrance to the park.

Changing the zoning classification for that property to B-1 would mean that any business able to locate on North Market Street would be able to locate there, he said.

North Market Street functions as the main street through town and already features a tattoo parlor, restaurant/bar, gas stations and convenience stores.

“My attitude is, not right at the entrance to city park,” Cohen said.

A public hearing will be held and all neighboring landowners notified before the change can take effect if passed.

In other business, council also approved:

– A third reading of legislation stopping the annexation of 9.312 acres of property formerly targeted for the Brittain Motors relocation.

– Emergency legislation authorizing Village Manager Pete Monteleone to advertise for, interview and hire an Aquatics Director. The new position is on a seasonal basis.

– An emergency ordinance allowing Monteleone to advertise for, interview and hire two part-time seasonal maintenance workers. One position will pay $8.50 an hour and the other will pay $12 an hour. (Cohen was the only member of council who voted against passing the legislation as an emergency matter.)

– A first reading of legislation allowing for the vacation of approximately .07 acres of an unnamed alley between Dairy Queen and the Blake Storage buildings. All contiguous property owners have consented.

The legislation was presented as an emergency but council members voted against passing it as such, which caused it to be presented for a first reading. Two more readings are required before it can take effect.

– A first reading of legislation allowing for the renewal of the five-year fire levy. The renewal will result in no tax increase for residents.