Public feedback sought on rezoning request in M’burg

By Joshua Keeran -

MECHANICSBURG – During the July 17 Village Council meeting, residents were reminded of their upcoming opportunity on July 22 to chime in on a proposed zoning change that would allow for a new convenience store/gas station to set up shop on West Main Street.

The rezoning request, submitted in June by Casey’s Marketing Company and discussed on June 24 by the Mechanicsburg Planning Commission, seeks approval to rezone 305 and 315 W. Main St. from R-2 Medium Density Residential District to B-2 Highway and General Business.

According to the application, if the request is approved by council, it would allow for the construction of a Casey’s General Store, a chain of convenience stores/gas stations headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa.

Before the planning commission votes on whether to recommend to council the rezoning change, it must hold a public hearing, which was set for 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, in the municipal building.

Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said after council receives a recommendation from the planning commission, it must also hold a public hearing prior to voting on the rezoning request.

Protecting taxpayer dollars

Council heard the first reading of an ordinance defining the duties and responsibilities of anyone petitioning for closure of alleys or streets.

The ordinance states petitioners seeking to vacate a street or alley within village limits will be responsible for the following items: provision of a certified plat map created by a certified engineer or surveyor; provision of a legal description of the property; payment of Champaign County auditor fees; payment of Champaign County recorder fees; and payment of fees to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

The measure states “registration of such vacated alleys or streets with the Champaign County Auditor has resulted in substantial financial and administrative burden upon the village.”

“We are potentially giving land to property owners, and I don’t think it’s fair that it costs village taxpayers to give them land,” Huggins-Davis said.

She added that vacating alleys or streets to extend property lines seems to be a growing trend that she expects the village to encounter more often in the future.

Council member Jodi Compton added the passage of the ordinance would put the responsibilities associated with a street or alley vacation on the petitioner.

In other business:

•Council heard the first reading of an ordinance to regulate hawkers, peddlers and itinerant vendors operating within the village.

•Underground Utilities Inc., Monroeville, began work on the Water Distribution System Improvements Phase 1 Project, Huggins-Davis said.

Crews over the coming months will be replacing 6- and 8-inch water mains along West Main and High streets with 12-inch mains. The larger mains, to be installed under the sidewalk, will help address water concerns at the Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools complex on High Street.

•The village’s request to spend up to $22,000 of its share of the county’s Permissive Tax Fund was approved by the Champaign County Commission, Huggins-Davis said.

The funds will be used to replace three catch basins on state Route 29 and one on North Locust Street. The work, Huggins-Davis said, will be preformed by Wiseman & Sons at a cost of $14,000.

She added another $6,500 from the Permissive Tax Fund is going toward repairing spots of roadway along state Route 4. The work, which is being handled by Purdum Blacktop II, Plumwood, is expected to wrap up this week.

•Resident Bob Trainer asked council if the village has a noise ordinance that could be enforced to help curb the loud noises he hears day and night at his home on North Main Street.

Trainer said the biggest culprits are truck drivers who use their “Jake brake” (compression release engine brake) inside village limits. He also said car mufflers are becoming louder, and he questioned why people would mow lawns after 9 p.m.

“I’m sick of it,” Trainer said. “Someone needs to do something.”

Police Chief John Alexander said he would look into the noise complaint.

•Zoning Officer Dusty Hurst reported that “fence permits are becoming quite popular.”

Council speculated the increase is a result of the village’s ongoing enforcement of the junk vehicle ordinance.

•Permit-free garage sales will be allowed by the village from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18-19.

•Mayor Greg Kimball asked residents driving down alleys in the village to slow down, and he reminded property owners to trim any brush on their property that extends into an alley.

By Joshua Keeran

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.