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Panel backs banquet/restaurant facilities but questions remain


September 11, 2012

SALEM - The Planning Commission endorsed and referred a proposal for restaurant and banquet facilities to a sub-committee Monday after discussions revealed issues regarding sanitary sewer easements, traffic access, parking and even garbage dumpster placement issues.

It tabled other official action after Commissioner Kathy Gano said, "I think we all agree it's a bit too early ... it's very difficult for us to put our stamp of approval on this until we have something definite."

Commission Chairman John Panezott said, "There're a lot of little things, but you have to understand there are major issues."

He appointed a three-member committee including Commissioners Barb Loudon, Frank Zamarelli and himself for further hearings on the project.

The two buildings are planned for North Cunningham Road just east of the Home Depot building along with a proposed Holiday Inn Express. The restaurant will include 3,650 square feet and the banquet hall will use 10,530 square feet. The buildings will face Cunningham Road.

Rodney Herron appeared on behalf of the property owners and Jon Volnogle of Howells & Baird Engineers presented the issues on behalf of the city.

Housing, Planning and Zoning Officer Pat Morrissey said he realized it was such a small space noting it was a "shoehorn operation" fitting it into the plat. David Halverstadt, surveyor for the project, said he had just finished up on the total area on Monday.

Loudon wanted to know the location of the sanitary sewer and Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart, prefacing his concerns by saying he's in favor of the project, pointed to issues dealing with the original developer's planned easement.

"How are you going to sewer the buildings without sanitary sewer?" he asked.

Other issues centered on the number and size of parking spots.

Loudon pointed out, for example, that the city code calls for parking spots to be nine by 20-feet and the drawing show them as nine by 18-feet.

Morrissey said with the banquet facility capacity at around 400, there is the potential for 150 to 200 vehicles to be parked in the lot.

"I think the planning commission wants to see what's we're going to do with the parking," he said.

Volnogle said storm water runoff "is going to be the big issue with this much hard surface." He said the 30-inch pipe needed to drain it can be "quite expensive.

The issue deals elevation and easements and possibly obtaining approval from Home Depot.

"You may need the OK from Home Depot," he said to Herron who said he believed here was a 30-inch storm drain on their property.

The commission repeatedly expressed its support and Larry Kosiba, executive director for the SOD Center suggested the commission provide its approval contingent on all the issues it had being resolved.

"A lot of this (project) will lay the way for additional construction," he said.

In other business, the commission unanimously approved with a 6-0 vote (member Royal Schiller was absent) a replat of a replatted lot at 922 Park St.

The dwellings were constructed as duplexes, sold as individual housing without the benefit of a condominium association.

Since a condominium association was never established the owners are requesting permission to split the building in half so each dwelling unit is on a piece of real estate creating two lots with a zero lot line down the center of each parcel.

Morrissey said while the request was unusual, the city had agreed to a similar request on Newgarden Avenue years ago.

Larry Shields can be reached at



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