Zoning discusses old high school property
By Matt Echelberry
The Galion Planning and Zoning Commission held a meeting on Nov. 27. Representatives from The NOAH Project were unable to attend to continue discussion of the senior independent living facility, a project they proposed during the Commission’s previous meeting. Regardless, the commissioners discussed the project amongst themselves.
The facility would be constructed at the site of the former high school, north of Church Street. NOAH would be the majority owner of the facility while Arbor Shoreline, Inc. would be the general contractor for the project. A major concern that had been raised during the previous meeting was the possible arsenic contamination on the property.
Galion Board of Education President Dennis Long was present. When asked about his thoughts on the project, Long felt that a company like Arbor Shoreline would have deeper pockets to abate the EPA issues. In contrast, if an individual wanted to build a single-unit home on the site, that person might not be able to afford abatement.
Another concern was the unmarked graves at the site, which was a cemetery at one time. Commissioners agreed that, if the project moved forward, conditions of the contract should include abating any contamination or other EPA issues, and properly relocating any graves that may get dug up to Fairview Cemetery.
Long, who lives less than one block away from the property and owns two other properties in the area, said it could be a benefit. He commented that NOAH and Arbor are trying to make the appearance of the complex fit into the surrounding neighborhood. Currently, Galion City Schools retains ownership of the property and therefore gets no tax income from it. Allowing the facility to operate could help the school and the city earn property tax revenue.
Commissioners concluded that, before making any decision, they would continue to wait for Arbor Shoreline to present the market study that was promised during the previous meeting.
In another matter, citizen John Nordstrom had zoning questions about a property for sale that he would like to build a storage unit facility on.
After explaining his plans if he were to purchase the property, Building Inspector Matt Ross advised Nordstrom to stop in the Zoning and Building Department to fill out a form. Ross could then further advise him on what he could and could not do with the property (based on City Ordinances).
The first public hearing for the rezoning request from Avita Health Systems will be Dec. 11 during the Planning and Zoning Commission’s next meeting. It begins at 5:15 p.m. at the Municipal Building.