Concept One Academy - new application to be discussed at Public Works Meeting.

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Tuesday at the Public Works Committee meeting there will be a discussion on the application for a major zoning change for the old Lamendola School Property.  A company called Concept 1 Academy desires to house up to thirty-two 16 - 18 year old males.
 
The read ahead within the agenda found on the city web site contains:
 
Staff Report, Minutes of the Planning Commission Hearing, Decision Record, Ordinance, Decision Standards, Legal Opinion, Petition
 
I found the language and request of the written Petition to be very reasonable and am impressed how many local residents that asked council to take a reasonable look at this application before approving.
 
This is the second application made by this company for this property.  They withdrew the first application.  Here is an article I wrote during that application process.   
 
You can watch the  video of the Public Works committee  Jun 2, 2015.  The discussion starts 22 minutes into the video and goes until 52  minutes 40 Seconds. 
 
The video from the Jun 16, 2015 Public Works committee is available for you to watch. The discussion on this property starts about 45:10 seconds into the video that can be found at this link:  mms://agendaquick.hhoh.org/dcr2/PW061615.wmv 
 
Ms Tari Darr of Concept 1 Academy spoke at a recent Huber Heights Chamber of Commerce event trying to get support for her project.  She handed out a flyer which outlines the reasons she believes best makes the case for approval of the proposed changes. 
 
Tari Darr of Concept 1 Academy

 
The one aspect of this process that concerns me is the impression other council members project that Council has almost no choice but to approve any zoning application.  At one Council Meeting I specifically asks for our attorney to put in writing what council is allowed to consider when making a zoning determination.  I made this request because I got the impression from Ms. Kaleps and Ms Dale that they believed council is weak and has no choice but to rubber stamp applications.  I don't see this within  the Decision Standards that were provided by the attorney.  In fact the decision standards provided by the city attorney indicates Council can use broad discretion when asking for information and when making a decision. 
 
However then I see this post by Council Member Starline on Facebook " legally a City government has almost no authority to pre-screen a business that wants to invest private funds & operate on private property."  Mr. Starline's statement is not supported by the information provided by our attorney.  I suspect that there are relevant court cases that help define the considerations provided within the  Decision Standards.  However, without either Mr. Starline or our attorney presenting those court cases then we are guided only by what is written in the decision standards. 
For instance, Section 1171.06 General Standards for Approval states:
 
.... No approval shall be given unless the Commission shall find by a preponderance of the evidence that such a PUD on the proposed locations:
 (b) Could be substantially completed within the period of time specified in the schedule of the development submitted by the developer;
 
In examining (b) what are reasonable considerations that would be needed in order to ensure changes could be made within a specified time period?   To me it is reasonable to expect that there would be a building plan or at least a way forward that will make sure that a building plan is available early enough to meet the specified time period.  It is reasonable to me that there is someone available to execute the plan within that time period.  It is reasonable to me to make sure that there are funds available to  make sure that the project can be completed within that time period. 
 
Examining this application in the context of 1171.06 (b) we see the time specified is this upcoming October.  However, the applicant has not shown any indication that she knows the amount of work that is required in order to make this facility into one where children can legally reside.  Discussion with City Staff indicates there is a high probability this facility will need a sprinkler system and other non-trivial safety and handicap accessible improvement.  Yet the applicant told the planning commission that she has not privately investigated or began to assemble what will be needed because she is waiting for the County to tell her.  This alone makes her October time frame highly unlikely. 
 
This building has been asbestos abated.  However, documentation as to whether this means removal or containment has not been provided.  If it was only contained then this could seriously affect the cost of items like sprinkler systems.  If the work is not done correctly then contamination may occur.  If the building is subsequently abandoned then it will likely fall on the City to pay to have it cleaned.
 
This brings 1171.06 (j) and (k) into consideration. 
 
Also (j) and (k) provide a reason to look into the rumors associated with this applicants previous business endeavor in Virginia.  One of the rumors going around the City is that when the previous business stopped operation the business owner left a dilapidated building which the previous City was forced to clean up.  If this turns out to be true then Council must do something to mitigate the possibility it could happen here.  Therefore I am extremely disappointed that staff did not include any background information about the previous business attempt so that council would know if there is any substance to the rumors. 
 
Examining many of the other sections in 1171.06 as provided by the City Attorney and we see many opportunities to learn a lot about the potential business.  I do suspect that there are court cases that help provide other guidance but until those cases are provided then I'm going to have to disagree with my colleague and state that it appears as if Council has the authority to ask for and expect the right kind of information to show that a business will be a responsible contributor to the City of Huber Heights.
 
 

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