State’s role touted in helping with restaurant expansion

LISBON – Ohio’s lieutenant governor is touting the state’s role in cutting through regulatory red tape to help in the recent expansion of a village restaurant.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said an administration program created to cut through bureaucratic regulations was instrumental in helping the owners of Chef’s Table obtain the temporary state permit needed to expand operations while waiting for final approval.

The restaurant owners, brother and sister Glenn and Kristen Huston, decided to expand into the building next door on South Market Street, requiring them to navigate the complex state building code permitting process administered through the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Taylor, in a news release issued last week, said the Hustons were able to obtain a temporary permit with the help of the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) that allowed them to use the new section of the restaurant to book holiday parties during the 2012 Christmas season. The expansion resulted in seating for an additional 40 people and created four more jobs.

“Like many other businesses in the area, Chef’s Table has benefitted greatly from the increased traffic in Columbiana County,” Taylor said. “Through CSI, we were able to make it a priority for the proper permits to be issued so this small business could stay open for the holidays and create new jobs.”

The expansion received final approval from the state with the issuance of a certificate of occupancy permit in February.

“We would not be where we are today without CSI’s help to get the wheels turning and the hard work of the Department of Commerce,” Ms. Huston said, in the news release. “The community has been very positive about the expansion, but without CSI we would probably have given up on the whole project.”

Ms. Huston said they were assisted by Lisbon graduate Paula Steele Baker, whose father-in-law, Ron Baker, frequents the restaurant. Baker put them in touch with his daughter-in-law, who stopped by when she was in town.

“She was phenomenal,” Ms. Huston said of Baker. “I know she was only doing her job, but she was great, and the fact she was from Lisbon was neat.”

CSI was created by the Kasich Administration to reform and streamline Ohio’s regulatory processes that often impede job creation by eliminating duplicative rules and policies, as well as those deemed excessive.

The planned expansion actually began in late 2011 but ran into opposition from Herb Chesney, who lives in adjoining building on the opposite side of the restaurant.

Chesney claimed the project violated village zoning code, and creation of a new doorway connecting the two buildings harmed the structural integrity of his building.

Village officials ruled the project met all of the zoning requirements.