STEUBENVILLE - The owners of the Rose and Clara's Catering asked the city's planning and zoning commission Monday night to approve rezoning their Lovers Lane property to allow a screening and graphics company to set up shop in the building.
Attorneys for the property owners and the California-based screening company said they have a tentative purchase deal in place.
The planning commission officially accepted the request to rezone the 7-acre property from medium density residential to a light industrial district and scheduled a public hearing on the request for Aug. 6.
Legislation authorizing the rezoning will be introduced at next week's City Council meeting.
Attorneys for property owners Clara and Leonard Morris said the property "is perfect for light industrial designation because it is behind and remote from Lovers Lane."
"Clara and Leonard Morris are simply asking for the rezoning of the property. The attorney for the proposed buyer and I have been working extensively for the past few weeks on this. We hope this is a smooth transition and it does happen," said attorney David Scarpone.
Chris Haught, an attorney also representing the Morris family, said the Rose will continue to honor all appointments until the sale is completed.
Attorney Bill Blake said Edward Hofrichter, owner of H & H Screening of Vista, Calif., has been looking for a site in Jefferson County since August 2010.
"He has found the building to be sufficient to meet his needs. To the extent his business is successful he will hire more people and possibly build an additional facility. This will be known as H & H Screening and Graphics East," said Blake.
"The business owner hopes to start up his business in Steubenville as soon as possible. This is a good thing. Ed Looman of Progress Alliance has been working on this project for nearly two years. This is certainly a positive thing for the community," added Blake.
Looman said the silk screening and graphics company will not compete with local businesses.
"They do business with national companies. The company moving here has the potential to create jobs, possibly a large number of jobs, as they go forward. This all came to a head a couple of weeks ago and the attorneys have been doing a lot of work to see this happen. We are talking about millions of T-shirts, sweatshirts and other sports related clothing apparel," Looman said.
In other business Monday, the planning commission members approved the 2012 Community Development Block Grant projects, including $150,000 for security lighting at Belleview Park, North End Park, Murphy Field and the Martin Luther King Recreation Center.
The commission has allotted $130,000 for street improvements, $125,000 for demolition projects and $93,403 for a rehabilitation program for low- and moderate-income home owners in the city.
Commission members also approved the reprogramming of unused CDBG funds to be used for improvements to South Sixth Street from South Fourth Street to Slack Street.
And, the commission agreed to partner with the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission to accept $277,274 allotted to Jefferson County by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as part of a national home mortgage settlement.
Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Domenick Mucci said he anticipates 29 house demolitions in the county, including 10 buildings in Steubenville and Toronto.
"We will put together the bid packages and conduct the asbestos abatement review. And in this case we will not be placing a lien against the property owners. In the past we have had little success applying liens against property owners. The demolished property usually sits dormant and we end up taking care of the lot. We will try to make the sale of the vacant lots more attractive to potential buyers," Mucci explained.
Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi announced seven condemned buildings in Steubenville will be torn down by X-Treme Klean of East Liverpool.
"But we have held up the demolition of the duplex at 322-324 Commercial Alley because the only bid came in at $40,000 because of asbestos abatement issues. We need to go back and look at ways to cut costs on that demolition," said Petrossi.
The next planning commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 9.