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Council holds off on zoning changes

Two members question council’s right to change

Ironton City Council Thursday night held off on an ordinance to rezone part of a parcel of land along Liberty Avenue after two members questioned whether council had right to make this change.

Part of the lot is zoned business, the rest of residential. The property in question is adjacent to The University Mart.

“I have an issue with (ordinance) 11-59,” Council President Kevin Waldo said. “I think it should be sent either to the public utilities committee or I don’t know what committee. This issue is, to me, very interesting and I have questions about city council’s right to do this without notifying the property owner.”

Fellow councilman Frank Murphy suggested the matter be sent to committee as a whole.

“Let’s see if we even have the right (to make the zoning change),” Murphy said.

After the council meeting, Waldo said Doug Philabaun had owned the property since 1983 and should be notified before any change is made to his property.

“I feel like we’d be taking his land without notice,” Waldo said.

“I don’t think we have the authority to do it,” Murphy added.

Both men agreed there were deed restrictions to the property that may supercede the city’s zoning laws.

“What has the most legally binding effect, zoning or deed restrictions?” Waldo asked.

Council did suspend the rules, gave three readings to and adopted an ordinance allowing Mayor Rich Blankenship to accept and award a bid to Allard Excavating Co. for remediation of riverfront property that will be used in the future as part of the planned riverfront park.

Council also gave first reading to an ordinance to vacate Washington Street from Ninth Street to Jersey Alley to allow for development in that area.

Councilwoman Beth Rist asked Police Chief Jim Carey about a rash of car break-ins in the Indian Hills area. Carey said there has in fact been some vehicle break-ins and he urged people not to leave items in their cars.