The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon City Council recently passed a resolution in support of designating a zoning overlay as the first step in creating a downtown area that contains retail, residential, an entertainment district, and open green space along Navarre Avenue.
 
The Planning Commission will study properties in the designated area to determine a recommendation to council for the zoning overlay. After it is reviewed by the commission, it will go before council for approval, then be discussed at a public hearing scheduled for May 22 at 8 p.m. in council chambers, according to Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning.
 
“We’re trying to establish a town center or main street,” Gilmore told The Press last week about the city’s downtown concept. “The overlay zoning goes over the regular zoning of the area. It would enhance and make it different from the rest of the area as far as commercial, residential and office. It is hoped it will be a mix of zoning to create a walkable commercial area.”
 
Plans call for developing future buildings in the district closer to the street, with entrances accessed from the sidewalks, and parking in the rear.
 
“It will be a mixed use to give it more of a downtown feeling. The overlay is just an added layer to promote this type of development,” he said.
 
“We’re going to let the developers choose the way the streets will be arranged,” he added. “We’re just trying to put some zoning in place that will take a step toward our main goal – a walkable downtown area. We don’t have anything like that in Oregon. Nobody walks to our retail, or from one place to the other. They drive. They pull into a parking lot, pull back out onto Navarre, and pull back in next door. “
 
Three areas
The overlay zoning district covers three areas bordered by Isaac Streets Drive, Navarre Avenue, Coy Road, Dustin Road, and Pickle Road. The area totals 167 acres, said Gilmore.
 
“We hope to bring in some quality restaurants with this proposal, and we would hope to have a residential development that would appeal to the younger generation that wants quality, multi-family housing incorporated into a downtown area,” said Gilmore. 
 
Plans to develop an area for a senior residential complex on three parcels on Munding Drive are within the overlay district, said Gilmore. The development backs up to I-280 to the south, and is adjacent to the Orchard Villa Nursing Home. Mayor Mike Seferian said at a recent Planning Commission meeting that the administration was pleasantly surprised to hear about the plans for the senior residential complex because it fits into the downtown concept. 
 
Seeking input
Councilman Steve Hornyak, chairman of the Economic Development & Planning Committee, said at the last committee meeting in March that nothing has been written in stone on the creation of a downtown area.
 
“We want to create an opportunity, a plan, and a strategy to allow people to come and prosper, do well, and to bring things in," he said. "The idea is to integrate private investment and development in this. It’s not going to be driven by the city. This is a starting point, an originating idea. We’ll be seeking input as we go along and defining the process as we move forward.”
 
The city has hired Tom Lemon, of Reveille, which provides planning, design and economic development services, to assist the city in developing a downtown area. Lemon was a former director of the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission.
 
 

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