Councilman:?Plaza parking lot turning into used car lot

A parking lot in the Village Plaza is beginning to look like a used car lot, according to Councilman Lowell Schloneger.

Schloneger said several people mentioned to him recently more cars are beginning to show up there, all featuring for sale signs.

On Friday there were five vehicles in the lot – two trucks, one car, an older Coachman camper and a white utility van.

Mayor David Spatholt said he has seen at least three RVs for sale there at one time.

The vehicles there on Friday were for sale by different people and were the only ones parked in the lot next near PNC Bank and Burger King.

The lot is only yards away from the Ford dealership on South Avenue.

There was some question by city officials last week as to who owned the lot and Police Chief Tim Gladis said it is not owned by the city.

City Manager Lance Willard later determined it is owned by an out-of-state company and he is attempting to contact the company owner.

Online records through the Mahoning County Auditor’s Office show the lot is part of the Burger King parcel owned by Tom’s Holdings LLC of New York. The deed was transferred to the company on Sept. 4 and was formerly held by GEBK Columbiana Acquisition LLC, which sold it for $925,000. Acquisition bought the deed from James M. Beshara in July for $310,000.

Beshara received the deed at no price in 2006 from Elizabeth Beshara, who had the deed in her name beginning in August of 1979.

The land use designation listed on record is for the fast food drive-in restaurant.

The lot and restaurant property together take up 4,312 square feet of the plaza and the address is listed as 1100 Village Plaza, Columbiana, in Mahoning County.

Whether it is being used illegally is unknown at this point, although Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell said there could be a zoning issue.

He said the issue is with regards to the site plan originally approved for that property.

“When it was approved it may not have included the option of having cars for sale on that lot,” he said.

Willard said he wants to speak with the company owner to see if the for sale cars are violating the authorized use for the property.

Schloneger said he is not against the cars being sold there if no laws are being violated.