Rezoning ordinances sent back to planning board

Two ordinances to rezone portions of a property where a three-phase housing complex is planned have been referred back to the Salem Planning Commission.

City Planning and Zoning Officer Patrick Morrissey said the return trip for both ordinances is just part of the procedural journey they must take before council makes a final decision on whether to rezone or not to rezone.

City council held first readings on both ordinances Wednesday, referring them back to the commission for their approval. Morrissey said the commission can’t take any action on them until 30 days have passed.

The ordinances will then come back to council for second and third readings.

The process began in November when the commission heard a request from the NRP Group of Cleveland to rezone 6.9 acres of a 67.7-acre vacant plot from C-2 Commercial to RA Multiple Family.

The rest of the plot the company had an option to purchase at the corner of Pershing Street, Butcher Road and Cunningham Road was RA. Plans called for the first phase to consist of a 120-unit walk-up apartment complex located just south of East Pershing Street where it connects to Butcher Road, partially in the area now commercial.

The commission took it upon itself to request council approve a rezone of 14.3 acres of the property from RA to RS-2 Single Family Residential to the east of the deadends of Oak Street, and Tanglewood, Kennedy and Edgewood drives to ensure a buffer zone for residents concerned about the proposed apartment development.

A second phase in the development would consist of 176 walk-up apartments located at the corner of Butcher Road and Cunningham Road. The third phase was described as 50 single family lots, west of Cunningham Road and southwest of Butcher Road extending south to the corporation line.

Council voted to have the ordinances prepared after a joint meeting of council and the commission last month.

Councilman K. Bret Apple asked for clarification from Law Director Brooke Zellers on what’s required to pass a rezoning issue. Zellers explained that if any changes are made to what the commission approved, it would require a three-fourths vote or six votes for approval. If no changes are made, then a simple majority is all that’s needed for passage.

Councilman Clyde Brown made a comment about the map for the rezoning and the location of the high voltage lines on the map, saying he’s going to ask the commission to have a comprehensive drawing done because of where the current map shows the power lines going through.

Also related to the planning commission, an ordinance regarding clean up of language related to the expansion of parking lots has been referred back to the commission.

A recommendation by the commission to vacate some lots drawn on paper between Benton Road and the railroad tracks in Salem will be discussed by the Rules & Ordinances Committee of city council during a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

In other action, council held first reading on an ordinance to increase the starting wage for the recreation supervisor position in the Parks & Recreation Department and approved a resolution to accept a donation of $4,000 to complete the storm sewer on Maple Street from Morris Street to South Union Avenue.

Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey thanked former Councilwoman Mary Ann Dzuracky, who was in the audience, for all her hard work on the Maple Street issue while she was on council.

Council Clerk Debbie Bricker announced the receipt of notification of a new liquor permit request for Timberlanes.

Councilman Rick Drummond said he’s planning to hold a meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 29 for any citizens wanting to get involved regarding the graffiti issue.

Prior to the council meeting, council reorganized for the year, with all committees and liaison appointments remaining the same as the previous year. Councilman Dave Nestic was again voted by council as president pro tempore and Apple as clerk pro tempore, with Bricker as clerk and Nestic chairing the Committee of the Whole.

Standing committee assignments were:

economic development, Nestic as chair, Drummond and Brian Whitehill

utilities, Jeff Cushman as chair, Dickey and Nestic

parks, Dickey as chair, Cushman and Brown

rules & ordinances, Drummond as chair, Brown and Dickey

finance, Apple as chair, Whitehill and Nestic

streets, alleys, sidewalks, Brown as chair, Apple and Drummond

traffic & safety, Whitehill as chair, Apple and Cushman

Liaison appointments were: schools, Cushman; Perry Township, Apple; Salem Area Industrial Development Corp., Nestic; Tourism Board, Drummond; Shade Tree Commission, Dickey; Design Review Board, Whitehill; and Salem Historical Society/Preservation, Brown.

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at