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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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A trash bin is causing a stink in Genoa.

A dispute between two downtown businesses about the bin has resulted in a proposal to lease village land winding up in the hands of village council’s streets and sidewalks committee.

For years, owners of the Hour Glass Inn and Rayz Café have had a “gentlemen’s agreement” regarding the trash bin’s placement on the Hour Glass Inn property at 618 Main St., said Village Mayor Mark Williams. He did not know the deal’s specifics but said the two share the bin on the Hour Glass Inn property and Rayz’ old grease barrels are stored there. Rayz Café is located at 608 Main St.

But now Hour Glass Inn owner Wayne Vogel wants the bin off his property. Over the telephone, Vogel agreed to a face-to-face interview regarding the issue then declined when a reporter came to his establishment Thursday.

Rayz Café owner Ray St. Marie confirmed Saturday there had been an agreement in place since about 1987 that was worked out by the owners of the former Ray and Jett’s, where his business stands now.

“This agreement has been in place for more than 25 years,” St. Marie said. “It’s fine. There are no hard feelings. That’s his option and I understand that.”

But the decision leaves St. Marie in a bind. The rear of his restaurant property is triangular shaped and his fenced-in porch area extends nearly to the end of the property, leaving little room for trash bins or barrel storage.

These circumstances led St. Marie to go to the committee in early April to ask to lease village land to store the bin and barrels.

St. Marie is a member of village council. He, however, is not a member of the streets and sidewalks committee, the group given the proposal. The committee chairman is Councilman Dave Brown.

“It’s more or less a neighbor dispute. I am not really sure why this was brought before council,” Williams said.

The proposal specifically asks for the village to lease the land it owns at the edge of parking lot of Rayz Café to house the garbage containers and other debris, Williams said. The proposed area, which now consists of parking spaces, would be fenced in and a gate would allow access for garbage men to dump the containers.

Williams doesn’t see the issue going much further, though.

Village Administrator Kevin Gladden has been looking into it, the mayor said.

“He found that there is an ordinance that doesn’t allow bins on village right of ways,” Williams said. “We will be speaking to Ray about that.”

Nonetheless, St. Marie doesn’t believe the issue is resolved that simply.

He noted that building standards for the era in which these business properties were developed were much different. And in some case, here and in the village of Elmore, buildings were constructed up to the lot line, requiring the village’s to offer some leeway regarding the placement of garbage receptacles and other items.

The rental proposal is also destined to go before the Downtown Design Review Board. That group is made up of individuals from local government as well as the business community and an architect.

And finally, the village solicitor Brian Ballenger is reviewing the request, St. Marie added. “It’s all going through the proper channels.”

St. Marie, prior to his being a council member, said he had discussed this same plan with council and then Village Administrator George Adams in 2007. Other councilmen remember the discussions, he said. And he believed the issue had gone to a vote and received approval.

“A few months later we had the fire and then everything kind of fell through,” St. Marie said. The café burned to the ground and was later rebuilt on the same site.

“But they cannot find the paperwork, any of it. So I’m kind of stuck,” said the business owner.

St. Marie looks at the proposal as a win-win for the village. He is offering rent for the use of the parking spaces, though the amount has not been specified, he said. And his business brings in people to the village, which translates into tax revenue and other spending opportunities in Genoa.

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