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Planning commission to meet Thursday

The Ironton Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday and will likely discuss a request for a zoning variance for the old Whitwell Elementary building.

Developer Jack Hager wants to turn the 11,000-square-foot former school into an apartment complex for senior citizens and veterans. However, the property is zoned residential 2, meaning he can only develop four units on that space. His request to obtain a zoning variance and have the old school property changed to a multi-unit residential 3 status did not win approval from the zoning board; the zoning appeals board passed the matter on to the planning commission. Appeals board member Mike Corn explained to Hager that the appeals board cannot rezone property or issue the variance Hager needs to turn the building into apartments.

While the planning commission meeting is open to the public, meaning concerned citizens may attend the meeting, it is not a public forum, meaning interested people may or may not be allowed to speak.

The old school building was put up for bid after new city schools were completed and the grade schools were consolidated.

The regular session of Ironton City Council will follow at 6 p.m. Council and Mayor Rich Blankenship may discuss negotiations between the city and the police and public works unions. During a special session last week, council tabled two proposed agreements with the two unions.

Both unions have chosen to meet a council mandated seven-and-a-half percent budget cut with layoffs within their departments; council members have expressed concern about the way in which the Fraternal Order of Police Local 75 and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 771 have met their budget reductions.