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New cafe rules forwarded

October 2, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Two proposed changes to the city's zoning and business code to regulate amusement arcades and computerized sweepstakes cafes were unanimously approved Monday night by the planning and zoning commission following a public hearing that had no audience.

The planning commission will send a positive recommendation regarding the two amendments to City Council.

The two legislative amendments will be considered during a third and final reading at the Oct. 9 City Council meeting.

Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi said the amendment will define a computerized sweepstakes cafe and computerized sweepstakes devices.

"The zoning code amendment will require a 1,000-foot separation between amusement arcades or computerized sweepstakes cafes and any residential lot or district, church, school, park or playground, library or other amusement arcades or computerized sweepstakes in order to provide a buffer between uses which may be incompatible," explained Petrossi.

He said the business code amendment will require an annual $500 fee for each computerized sweepstakes device.

"The single amusement arcade in the city is grandfathered because it is already in business. And that arcade is also required to pay the $500 a year fee for every amusement device in the business," noted Petrossi.

"Our goal is to keep the cafes from proliferating in the city. We have one business in the city now but we have had telephone calls inquiring about new businesses here," he has said.

In other business, Petrossi announced a $90,000 Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant for asbestos abatement at the Grand Theater has been approved.

David Kreeger, project manager of TRC Solutions of Gahanna, said in March his consulting firm had prepared the environmental assessment and cleanup plans for the theater on South Fourth Street.

"We did a site walk through the theater and looked for anything that could be an environmental concern. The theater is part of an effort by the Grand Theater Restoration Project to revitalize the theater as a mixed use theater," said Kreeger.

According to Petrossi, the remediation work will begin as soon as the Ohio Department of Development signs the grant contracts.

Petrossi also updated the planning commission members on the status of demolitions in the city and said 615 and 625 N. Eleventh St.; 1217 Claire St.; 912, 914 and 916 Main St.; 1027 A and 1027 B Wilson Ave.; and 208, 214 and 243 are still set for demolition this year.

He also said advertising for a fair housing consultant as well as consulting services for the city park safety and security lighting project will begin today.

"The deadline for submission of qualifications is 3 p.m. on Oct. 23," Petrossi said.

He also reported the demolition of the former LaBelle View Nursing Home on Maryland Avenue is now 75 percent complete.

"The property is still owned by the Tower of Power Church. I am not aware of any definite plans for that site, but the Tower of Power will be responsible for maintenance of the lot," said Petrossi.

Following the regular meeting, the planning commission met in an executive session to discuss personnel.

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