The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Oregon council rezoned property from residential to commercial for a tow truck company on Navarre Avenue following a public hearing on June 23.

The parcels, at 5508 and 5528 Navarre Ave., had R-1 Low Density Residential and C-2 General Commercial split zoning. The owners, David and Dianne Jaeger, wanted the entire parcel to be zoned C-2 General Commercial.

Council on June 9 approved commercial zoning for a similarly split zoning parcel just west of the Jaeger parcels at 5464 Navarre for TESCO, a national bus distributor owned by Noel Graham.

The zoning changes drew strong opposition from some nearby property owners who did not want commercial zoning so close to their back yards.

As a compromise, the city has agreed to develop a landscaping plan that will act as a buffer between the residences and the commercially zoned parcels.

Jaeger owns American Enterprises, Inc., on one of the parcels. The company manufactures tow trucks and transportation equipment and repairs cars, trucks and equipment.

One of the parcels had split zoning with C-2 along Navarre and R-1 to the rear, said Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning. A parcel further to the east was zoned R-1. When the Navarre Overpass was built several years ago, many properties along Navarre lost frontage, said Gilmore. “They enter their properties now from the relocated Stadium Road. They have signage out in front, and they have a road that leads through the R-1 property to the C-2.”

The Planning Commission had recommended approval of the zoning changes.

David Jaeger, of 624 S. Stadium Rd., said he has cleaned up his property, put in privacy fences, and started landscaping. “And in my cleanups, I moved some sandblasting sand from my property and dumped it into a borrow pit on Jeffers Crane [Service] property.” He added that he received permission from the controller at Jeffers Crane to fill the borrow pit.

“Twice the EPA came out and answered to complaints that this was a hazardous waste. Both of those times, it was checked out and considered not to be a hazardous waste,” said Jaeger. “This sand is Michigan lake sand that we use. People think they’re being poisoned and everything else by the sand blast operation. Should that sand I dumped in there be called hazardous waste by the EPA, I will remove it and take it to the proper landfill. We’ve cleaned the place up dramatically, and we continue to go forward. I consider my word to be good. I will continue to make the place look even better. I hope you took the time to go by it and see what I’ve done in the past month.”

He wants the zoning change because he has a tenant on the parcel, Blue Dolphin Pool Company.

“If I don’t get this zoning, I would have to ask him to leave. And it would be painful for him and also painful to my wallet,” said Jaeger.

After the meeting, Mayor Mike Seferian said Jaeger could not sandblast outside without an M-1 or M-2 (Industrial) zoning designation. Without it, he can only blast inside a building.

“He can sandblast there, but he would have to contain it, so it would have to be inside,” said Seferian.

Many people who opposed the zoning change for the Graham property also showed up to oppose the zoning change for Jaeger at the public hearing.

“I have nothing against Jaeger,” said Linda Wise, of Pickle Road. “I sympathize with him that somehow someone has misaligned all this zoning back there. But his property is a 32 year old business. Just in the last four weeks, he’s now just noticed it’s unsightly after 32 years. I’m sure he’s cleaning that up because he wants the zoning change. The better his property looks, the more likely you’re going to say he deserves that zoning change. I know nobody believes Michigan sand is hazardous. I worked in an industrial area my entire life. It’s not the sand. It’s what he’s sandblasting off. Is it a carcinogen, is it lead paint? It’s not just the sand that’s blowing around out there. It’s what he’s removing with that sand. And I think that needs to be addressed,” she said.

Phil Cervantes, of South Stadium Road, also claimed Jaeger is fixing up his property because he wants council to approve the zoning change.

“It’s been about 16 years since the overpass has been in. It’s been 16 years we’ve had to put up with that filth and eyesore. Blatant disregard for the environment. Blatant disregard for the zoning laws. And blatant disregard for the citizens who live on South Stadium and Pickle roads. That’s what we’re contesting right now. He could care less because now he wants something. In the 16 years he’s been sitting on it, he hasn’t done a single thing. Please think before you vote that C-2 in.”

Even though the property has been an eyesore for 16 years, at least Jaeger is cleaning it up, said Seferian.

“It is this zoning change that instituted improvement on that property. But it did happen,” he said.

Gilmore said his department has not received any complaints about the property.

Mary Ann Achter, of South Stadium Road, said she has concerns about whether the sandblasting is hazardous.

“I don’t have a problem with Jaeger having a business there, but what’s going on with the business,” said Achter.

She said she saw several violations on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website dealing with sandblasting on the property.

“There are farmers who are farming right across from where Mr. Jaeger is sandblasting,” she said. “Is it safe for us and the farmers, for the corn growing in the fields? No, it is not. We asked the EPA if they were allowed to sandblast, and they said `No. it’s against the law.’ So that’s another thing I’m concerned with.”

She said it’s the responsibility of city officials to find out from the EPA “what’s going on with that property” before the zoning change request is approved.

Council President Dennis Walendzak said it’s the responsibility of the EPA to look into the matter, not the city.

“They have the authority, not city governments,” said Walendzak.

“If the sandblasting is such a big deal, I can quit doing it,” said Jaeger.

Seferian said it would be a “moot point” because sandblasting on the property is not in compliance with the local zoning code “unless it’s in an inside contained area.”

Council voted unanimously to approve the zoning change for Jaeger.

Residential zoning
David Golis, of Pickle Rd, bought property across the street from Graham’s property nearly three years ago. It currently has C-2 zoning and he has requested that it be rezoned to R-1 residential.

“The businesses that front on Navarre have been there for a long time. They’ve always been there. I think they have the right to continue to exist there. But just like the rest of my neighbors, I’m concerned about it expanding, and coming around further down Stadium Road relocated, infringing into our residential neighborhood and disrupting our residential use. So I took this opportunity to talk to Mr. Gilmore about possibly changing our zoning as a way to prevent that from continuing to spread and infringing into the rest of the residential zones.”

Seferian said that changing zoning to residential on Golis’s property would be a “better fit across the street and a better buffer to the residential properties.

“The neighbors will be happy,” Seferian said after the meeting.

He doubts there will be more requests for commercial zoning in that area in the foreseeable future.

“We’ve gotten most of it addressed,” he said after the meeting.

Also at the meeting, council approved the mayor’s appointment of Mike Mullins, of Piper Drive, to the position of assistant fire chief. The position pays $41.77 per hour, or $86,873.02 annually. The position became vacant after Paul Mullen, former assistant fire chief, was appointed to the fire chief position a few weeks ago. Mullen replaced former Fire Chief Ed Ellis, who retired earlier this year.

“I just want to say thank you for your support and continued support in the future,” said Mullins to council. “I look forward to the future. I’m very excited.”

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