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Council gives second reading to zoning change for Liberty Avenue property

After a roughly half-hour public hearing Thursday, Ironton City Council gave second reading to an ordinance that changes the zoning of a parcel of property on Liberty Avenue.

At issue is a piece of land adjacent to the University Mart. It was zoned mostly residential, but one strip of it was zoned commercial. Some area residents signed a petition, asking the city to change the zoning status to make the parcel entirely residential to prevent the addition of a business later on.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper, who lives in that neighborhood and signed the petition, told council the deed restrictions that predated the zoning change prohibit the property from being used for any commercial venture. The deed restrictions, Cooper said, were placed in 1941 but the zoning change was made in 1949. He pointed out the zoning change was made about the time when plans were drawn up for the new U.S. 52 and changes to the flow of State Route 141 and this change could have been made for that reason.

“We’re asking the zoning change be in compliance with the deed restriction so we don’t have to address every application for a permit for construction,” Cooper said.

Council member Kevin Waldo countered the zoning change is not necessary because the strip of land that is zoned commercial is too small to be of much use.

“There’s not enough room to build anything on,” Waldo said.

Council member Rist asked why the issue was brought up after all this time, when the zoning change was made so many decades ago. Cooper explained that a house that had been on that lot was torn down recently and there was concern the owner, Doug Philabaun, had commercial plans for the site.

While several people who attended were there in support of the zoning change, no one spoke against making the change and Philabaun did not attend the hearing.

The ordinance is likely to be offered for third reading April 12.