The city 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 make up for about 1.5 acres of storage space that the Service Department eliminated to make way for the development of Schneider Park 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, soil and waste from the city’s street sweeper before the waste is transported to a dump, and the city will put the newly acquired property to similar use, he said.
In a 6-0 vote Sept. 27, City Council approved an ordinance to authorize the city to enter into the purchase contract 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 $90,000 purchase price.
“We do not have an appraisal back yet; we’re expecting it next week,” Mayor Ben Kessler said before the vote. “This (amendment) would require us to have an appraisal that’s at or above the contract price prior to closing.”
The ordinance allots $105,000 from the city’s capital fund to cover the cost of the purchase and closing costs.
Once the city has acquired the property, “I think it will be very beneficial for the Service Department, not only for storage, but I believe that we’re going to use it to get some of our trucks off of the street and into that space,” council member Lori Ann Feibel said.
Also in a 6-0 vote, council approved an ordinance to authorize a use variance allowing the owner of a residence at 216 Columbia Ave. to expand the living space in the property’s carriage house.
Council’s decision upholds the Bexley Architectural Review Board’s (ARB) recommendation to allow the property owner to add 255 square feet to the existing 574 square feet of the carriage house’s dwelling unit, for a total of 829 square feet. The existing space was authorized by a previous use variance that council approved in 1997, Kessler said.
At ARB’s monthly meeting Aug. 11, Bexley city development staff stated in their report that they found that “the proposed addition is compatible with the existing home and staff is comfortable with the design.”
In addition to the ARB’s stamp of approval, use variances must be officially authorized by city council before construction takes place, Kessler said.
“Council is the only body that can rule on a use variance,” he said. “Applicant's asking to expand the square footage by 255 square feet … so it requires a modification of the (1997) use variance, which is for all intents and purposes, a new use variance.”
Before voting, council member Sam Marcellino said he had concerns that approving the expansion could lead to an onslaught of similar requests from other residents.
Matt Klingler, chair of council’s Zoning & Development Committee who introduced the ordinance, said he initially had concerns about authorizing the new use variance but ultimately decided to support it because of the property’s existing use variance and the recommendation that ARB issued.
“I was conflicted because I’m not necessarily in favor of mother-in-law suites or building a massive garage and just having other people live in it, but the variance is already there,” Klingler said. “If the variance is already there and what they’re expanding the footprint of the facility to be is under the allowable square footage for an accessory structure, and based on where it is on the property that 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 in the architectural firm Behal Sampson Dietz that is representing property owner Michael Glimcher, said his client exceeded requirements in providing information with ARB and council for the application for the use variance.
“I think that our clients were very open in sharing information about themselves to help the city council understand their intention here,” Sampson said. “We’re certainly under what would be permissible to ask for as far as space for the carriage house.”
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Bexley eyes storage site with purchase of Delmar Drive property