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Official:?Time limit should be imposed on all site plans

December 17, 2012
Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA - Plans are made and plans change, and when it comes to the latter the city should be able to move forward with something else, Planning Commission member Ron LaLonde said.

LaLonde said during last week's meeting that a six-month time limit should be imposed on all site plans approved by the commission.

"I don't think that we should let it go so that it is forever ... because that could be never," he said.

He explained that sometimes, for whatever reason, a business owner intending to start up or make changes to an already existing business in the city doesn't follow through.

Commission member Richard McBane agreed, noting that at one time the commission had approved a site plan for a hot dog stand/building at a location where the city later installed electric transformers because the hot dog building was never constructed.

"We had several where we approved (a site plan) and sometime later someone else came in with a totally different site plan" for the same location, he said.

LaLonde said the time limits will allow the city to move forward with different plans for a location, should a previously approved plan not follow through to completion. He suggested that if nothing is done with a property within six months it be made available for someone or something else.

McBane said he doesn't necessarily think the original site plan should be off the table if nothing is done within six months. He feels the business owner should be able to explain why nothing has happened and request more time if necessary.

"If six months pass it shouldn't totally negate it, but the person would need to come back again and request it," he said.

Commission member Donna Bekar agreed, while commission member David Spatholt said a time limit is a good idea, but wasn't sure six months was "good" since weather could play a part in delaying plans.

"I think it's a good idea we look at that," he said.

He also agreed with LaLonde's suggestion that Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell and members of council weigh in on the matter.

LaLonde also suggested consideration be given to time limits on zoning variances since properties and their potential uses sometimes "change hands."

In other business, the commission approved site plans for:

- Humility of Mary Health Partners to operate a medical lab and exam office for cardiology at 225 east state Route 14. Brian Downie of Alex Downie and Sons Company presented the plan and said the state would be responsible for performing inspections. LaLonde questioned whether radioactive material would be used in stress testing there, to which Downie said he wasn't sure but would look into the matter.

- Larry Deidrick to operate a restaurant at 157 South Main St. Deidrick said the 1950's-themed Columbiana Diner will feature the Chicago-style hot-dog. No structural changes will be made to the building that formerly housed the Lazy Bean which closed on Aug. 18, he said. He also said that many things featured in the restaurant are from local people and businesses, including a 1927 soda fountain. The restaurant will offer breakfast and lunch, and everything inside (with the exception of the soda fountain) will be available for purchase.

At the close of the meeting Belding announced he took the certification test for building inspections but has not received the results yet.



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