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East Palestine officials eye business area restrictions

June 20, 2010

EAST PALESTINE - City officials can do nothing to stop a storage business from opening shop on South Market Street, but some want to prevent any more from popping up downtown.

Council member Don Elzer, who had complained about the placement of the business at past council meetings, again addressed the issue this week, noting such a business does not fit into the historic downtown area. The storage business is starting up in the lot formerly occupied by Cycle Motion.

"I'm surprised someone put together a zoning rule that let that happen," he said, asking if council could take action to change the zoning to ban such businesses downtown.

Council member Scott Rauch noted such action would not cause the business to have to move out, but Elzer said it would prevent similar businesses from moving in.

City Manager Gary Clark confirmed current city zoning law allows for a storage business to be at that property.

"We can only use the laws we have on the books," he said.

Clark noted neighbors to the business have raised concerns to him but encouraged Elzer, who is also president of the Chamber of Commerce, to invite them to join the Chamber and increase the positive business atmosphere for the city.

Elzer said he has no opposition to storage businesses, but he feels downtown was a poor place to establish one.

"If that was the outskirts of town, it would be fine," he said. "The problem is it's in the middle of town."

Council member Margo Zuch proposed asking the business owner to erect a high, decorative fence or some tall shrubs to improve the aesthetic appeal of the business and make better fit with other businesses.



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