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South Point zoning petition invalid

 

SOUTH POINT — A petition seeking to amend South Point’s zoning ordinance by ballot was determined to be invalid by the village’s legal counsel and was not passed on to the county Board of Elections for signature verification.

The petition was started and submitted by Joe Freeman the owner of the former South Point Elementary School on Washington Street. Freeman started the petition in an effort to move forward on his plans to convert the property into a multi-purpose building housing condominiums and professional offices. Freeman is facing opposition to his plans from neighbors and hoped a village-wide ballot initiative could break the impasse.

According to clerk Scott Thomas, village attorney Randy Lambert determined the petition was invalid “since the ordinance itself wasn’t in the body of the petition.”

There may have also been issues with the language of the ordinance itself, most notably the misidentification of a street but were not considered because of the larger issue of not being in the body of the petition.

Thomas said he notified Freeman by letter last month of the rejection.

Freeman said he received the letter last month and is taking a “wait and see” approach at this time.

Village leaders have been discussing updating its zoning ordinance but have not taken any action to date besides holding two special meetings to gather resident input.

Thomas said the ordinance is not on Tuesday’s agenda but may be discussed at the meeting.

Freeman said he may start the petition process over again depending on what, if any, changes are made to the zoning ordinance before August when the petition would be due for placement on the November general election ballot.

“Hopefully, I won’t need to file it or maybe I will need to tweak the language in it and get it re-signed,” Freeman said by e-mail.

Freeman’s petition sought to amend section 15 of the village’s current ordinance, which allows a property to be used for “offices for physicians, surgeons, dentists and other health care professionals” as long as there is written consent of 60 percent of adjacent property owners and off-street parking equivalent to one space for each 400 feet of floor area.

The proposed amendment would have continued to require the signatures of 60 percent of adjacent landowners but it would allow buildings in a specific area of the village currently zoned as a residential district to be used for either “religious services or professional office use of any kind.”

Freeman’s building is located in a residential district and he has been unable to gather the 10 signatures he needs from adjacent property owners to locate his home health business offices there.

Under the current ordinance, the building could not house other professionals including, accountants or engineers, whom Freeman has said he’d like to rent office space to.