Bexley eyes storage site with purchase of Delmar Drive property

The Town of Bexley has entered into a contract to purchase residential property at 2838-2840 Delmar Drive with plans to convert the site into additional storage space for the Service Department.

The Delmar Drive site will offset about 1.5 acres of storage space that the service department eliminated to make way for the Schneider Park development in southwest Bexley in 2020, Kessler said.

The Service Department uses a site at 2844 Delmar Drive, adjacent to the 2838-2840 Delmar Drive property, to store gravel, dirt and waste from the city street sweeper before the waste is hauled to a dump , and the city will put the new property to a similar use, he said.

In a 6-0 vote on September 27, City Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to enter into the purchase agreement with current owner Caro Cantrell, represented by Carleton Realty. Before approving the legislation, council voted to amend the ordinance to contain a stipulation that an appraisal must value the existing property and land at the purchase price of $90,000.

“We don’t have an assessment yet; we expect it next week,” Mayor Ben Kessler said before the vote. “This (amendment) would require us to have a valuation equal to or greater than the contract price before closing.”

The ordinance allocates $105,000 from the city’s capital fund to cover the cost of the purchase and closing costs.

Once the city acquires the property, “I think it will be very beneficial for the utility department, not only for storage, but I believe we’ll be using it to get some of our trucks off the street and into this space,” said board member Lori Ann Feibel.

Also in a 6-0 vote, the council approved an ordinance authorizing a use waiver allowing the owner of a residence at 216 Columbia Ave. to enlarge the living space in the shed of the property.

Council’s decision upholds the Bexley Architectural Review Board’s (ARB) recommendation to allow the owner to add 255 square feet to the existing 574 square feet of the coachhouse dwelling unit, for a total of 829 square feet. The existing space was permitted by a prior use variance that the council approved in 1997, Kessler said.

At the ARB’s monthly meeting on August 11, Bexley Town Development staff said in their report that they had found that “the proposed addition is compatible with the existing house and staff are at comfortable with the design.

In addition to the ARB’s stamp of approval, deviations in use must be formally authorized by the city council before construction takes place, Kessler said.

“The Council is the only body that can rule on a usage deviation,” he said. “The plaintiff is asking to expand the square footage by 255 square feet…therefore requires an amendment to the Usage Variance (1997), which is for all intents and purposes a new Usage Variance.”

Before voting, council member Sam Marcellino said he feared approval of the expansion would lead to a flurry of similar demands from other residents.

Matt Klingler, chairman of the council’s zoning and development committee that introduced the ordinance, said he initially had concerns about allowing the new use waiver but ultimately decided to support it by due to existing property use waiver and recommendation issued by ARB.

“I was conflicted because I’m not necessarily in favor of mother-in-law suites or building a huge garage and having other people live in it, but the variance is already there,” Klingler said. “If the gap is already there and what they are widening, the footprint of the facility is less than the square footage allowed for an accessory structure, and depending on where it is on the property than the sight lines from the street and the approval of our ARB, I try to look at it from all angles.

Nathan Sampson, a partner at architectural firm Behal Sampson Dietz who represents owner Michael Glimcher, said his client exceeded requirements by providing information to the ARB and council for the use waiver application.

“I think our customers have been very open in sharing information about themselves to help the city council understand their intent here,” Sampson said. “We are certainly below what would be allowed to ask for space for the car shed.”

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