Housing requests to be heard by zoning board

EAST LIVERPOOL – A public hearing will be held by the Board of Zoning Appeals at 7 p.m. Thursday in council chambers to consider requests by two petitioners interested in constructing multi-family dwellings in the downtown area.

Soaring Eagle LLC is seeking a special exception in the central business district, where plans call for developing buildings at 415-427 Market Street, 104-110 West Fifth Street and/or 134 East Fourth Street for multi-family residential use, with the possibility of retail sales on the ground floors.

Planning Director Bill Cowan said multi-family dwelling use is allowable in the central business district with approval of a special exception by the BZA.

He said this proposal is the same one recently presented to City Council’s licensing/economic development committee by Adam Hughes of Better City LLC and involves renovating the former Brooks building into workforce rental housing.

Cowan said that, although the petitioner originally was seeking a special exception for the former YMCA building on East Fourth Street, it appears the Brooks building has instead been chosen as the site for the workforce housing.

He was unsure if a special exception will still be sought for the former YMCA.

The second petitioner, John E. Richman, acting as agent for owner Paul A. Johnson Jr., is requesting a variance from the BZA for relief of minimum rear and side yard setback distances, an area variance and relief of off-street parking requirements.

Richman’s proposal entails constructing a multi-family 12- to 15-unit apartment building on a lot at the intersection of West Sixth and Jefferson streets.

The proposed dwelling is a permitted use in the R-3, medium to high density residential use area but requires approval of the variances.

Asked if this proposal by Richman involves Section 8 housing that City Council and Mayor Jim Swoger have recently opposed publicly, Cowan said due to this project being privately funded, it is his understanding these apartments could be rented in any manner, including as government-subsidized housing.

The board has the option of approving the requests as submitted or with modifications or can deny the requests.