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Lowe's seeks reduction in zoning fees, request tabled in Mahoning

Published October 28. 2009 05:00PM

No one is waiting for Walmart's new Supercenter to be constructed more than their landlord, Lowe's, who sent a representative to the Mahoning Township supervisors to tell them they have a finalized storm water maintenance and sewer agreement in place, and to request a reduction in their zoning permit fees due to the reduction in size of their building.

While supervisors were glad to hear their agreements were finalized they voted 4-0 to table the request to reduce the zoning fees until it could be researched further.

"The zoning permit fee we paid was based on square footage for the building and during the process, there have been several prototype revisions. The building we have now is smaller than the original one so we are asking permission to withdraw the original permit and have its fee less administrative costs applied to the new plan," Attorney Mike Gavin said to the board.

Gavin elaborated on his request by stating the code allows for the permit to be withdrawn before the building is built and a reapplication can be filed for a different building. In that case the township is supposed to refund the fees less any administrative fees, but Gavin wants that balance applied to the new permit and the new plans.

Supervisor George Stawnyczyj asked Gavin if the permit expired on October 29th. Gavin admitted it did. Stawnyczyj asked why the permit would not just be a dead issue as of that date. Gavin responded to Stawnyczyj by explaining that by withdrawing the permit and reapplying it would avoid the expiration of the original permit.

Gavin explained the reason in this particular case for the delay has been the delays in its tenant moving from the property and this was why Lowe's was not already under construction. He told the supervisors the reason for the changes is Lowe's continues to work on their prototypes and refine them, and it would be a new prototype's plan that would be submitted to the township and that hopefully the permit fee less the costs for processing the original one could be applied to the new plans.

Supervisor John Wieczorek pointed out that if any individual applied for a zoning permit for construction using the example of a garage and they did not construct the garage, the permit would expire and they would not be entitled to a refund. He said they would take a hard stand on that and he wasn't comfortable turning his head with a larger developer.

Gavin pointed out the township charged almost $18,000 for the permit adding that the township would have a hard time justifying the fee for processing the plan cost $18,000 so the request is that the fee less the actual administrative costs simply be applied toward the revised plans and permits.

At that point Board Chairperson Pat Snyder asked for a motion to table the issue pending research into the possibility of granting Lowe's request. The motion carried on a 4-0 vote.

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