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Green Council mulling entertainment district

2/14/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Green City Council continues to discuss the proposed Massillon Road Community Entertainment District, which would be used to attract additional hotels and restaurants to the Massillon Road corridor. The proposed 735-acre district would be bordered on the north by Lindakay Drive and Berna Road, on the west by Tabs and Molly drives, on the east by Massillon Road and Interstate 77, and on the south by Boettler and Graybill roads.
Graphic courtesy of the city of Green
GREEN — Green residents still have time to vocally oppose or support the city’s desire to secure future development through the availability of liquor licenses.

At the Feb. 12 Green City Council Planning, Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, Council continued to discuss the proposed creation of the Massillon Road Community Entertainment District, which would be used to attract additional hotels and restaurants to the Massillon Road corridor.

Councilman Gerard Neugebauer (at large) explained the city would publicize notice of the legislation for two weeks before voting on it next month so residents have time to weigh in on the matter.

By law, the city does not have to hold a public hearing on the legislation because it is not changing any zoning, city officials said. Residents are permitted to speak on the issue during upcoming committee meetings.

Resident Al Courtney, of Wise Road, spoke out against the possible district during the Feb. 12 committee meeting.

He said additional liquor establishments in the city would raise safety concerns.

Courtney discouraged Council from supporting the measure because it is “inappropriate” for elected officials to promote the use of alcohol in the community.

“We all have seen the trouble and turmoil alcohol can cause. Do not increase it in our city,” he said.

According to Planning Director Wayne Wiethe, the district would open the door for more dining options in the city. He said restaurant chains interested in locating on Massillon Road are detoured due to a lack of available liquor licenses.

Currently, the city has a shortage of D5 permits, which an establishment needs to offer beer, wine and alcohol daily until 2 a.m.

He explained the city could offer 15 new D5 liquor licenses by establishing the district, which requires $50 million in investments in the area.

The proposed 735-acre district would be bordered on the north by Lindakay Drive and Berna Road, on the west by Tabs and Molly drives, on the east by Massillon Road and Interstate 77, and on the south by Boettler and Graybill roads.

Councilman Ken Knodel (Ward 3) questioned the need for the district, stating a process does exist for businesses to obtain a liquor permit.

Wiethe acknowledged there are ways for large-chain establishments to gain a permit, but the process would not apply to locally owned businesses.

He said the city administration wishes to help out the small businesses in order to keep local “flavor” in the community.

During the regular meeting — following the committee meetings — Council approved a special-use permit for one development that would be special to Green.

The approved legislation OKs the general development plan for a gourmet restaurant at the former Belden Lodge, located in Southgate Park.

The city recently sold the lodge and about 9 acres of surrounding land to Table for Life for $600,000.

Wiethe explained a special-use permit was needed to allow a restaurant at the site.

According to city officials, Table for Life plans to renovate the existing building, construct a 20-by-30-foot concierge building at the front of the site for pick-up orders and a 20-by-40-foot building for a culinary program. In addition, a 101-foot access drive will be constructed off Massillon Road, along with a parking lot with 102 stalls.

Also during the meeting, Council held four public hearings.

The first focused on an ordinance that would provide for an alternate parking stall design to a developer in exchange for green space.

Neugebauer explained the proposed legislation would possibly allow an establishment to create 10-by-18-foot stalls at the discretion of the Board of Zoning Appeals if adequate open space is being proposed. He said the city currently requires 10-by-20-foot stalls.

The second public hearing focused on amendments to the city’s planned development regulations, which would require more open space to be offered in larger developments, among other changes, city officials said.

No one spoke for or against the measures, which will be voted on at the next regular meeting.

Following two additional public hearings, Council approved designating the properties of Larry Gabric (1101 Apple Ridge Road) and John Raumberger and April Rolf (5505 S. Arlington Road) each as an agriculture district.

Council also held an executive session Feb. 12 and then accepted the resignation of Deputy Clerk Tammy Charlson, who was hired this past spring.

Council President Dave France (Ward 2) said Council now will consider whether or not to fill the position.

During the meeting, Council also approved legislation that:

  • expands the required qualifications of members of the Historic Preservation Commission, requiring at least two of five members to have a background in history, historic preservation, architecture, historic and prehistoric archaeology, landscape architecture, planning, folklore, cultural anthropology, curation or conservation;
  • allows the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to resurface 6.1 miles of state Route 619 and replace the bridge over the Tuscarawas River, utilizing the city’s share of $387,980 toward the capital improvement project; and
  • gives consent to ODOT for the installation of epoxy pavement markings on Interstate 77, at no expense to the city.

The next Council meeting is set for Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. with committee meetings and at 7 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers at the Central Administration Building, located at 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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