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Teen-center proposal rejected by planners
Teen-center proposal rejected by planners
By SUE REID
In a 4-1 vote last week, the Solon's planning commission recommended that City Council not approve a requested zoning change within its C5 district to allow for teen clubs.
Voting against the change were commission members Mayor Kevin C. Patton, William M. Mazur, Councilman Lon D. Stolarsky and George K. Hrabak. Voting in favor of recommending the change was commission member Roger C. Newberry. Those opposing it safety issues in involving teen events.
The process under the city's ordinance is that council referred the question with regards to the zoning change to the planning commission for its recommendation. The recommendation was to go before council Tuesday (Jan. 20). It would take a two-third majority of City Council to overturn the commission's recommendation.
The change was requested by Terry and Sharon Macklin, owners of the T.S. Macklin Event Centre on Enterprise Parkway. They had planned to host a teen event at their center but were told it would be a prohibited use under the area's commercial zoning. In order for teen events to be a permitted use at their facility in the future, the Macklins were advised that an amendment to the zoning code was needed. They pursued that amendment through the planning commission to be placed before Solon voters on the May ballot.
Planning Director Robert S. Frankland said teen clubs are not permitted, because uses in the C5 district "exclusively have to serve the surrounding industrial community, and a teen club would not do that."
The C5 district is the city's industrial service district, which includes retail and restaurants.
"We've taken a very broad interpretation of serving the industrial community to make sure the buildings are filled," Mr. Frankland said, "but a teen club would stretch beyond any rationale of serving the industrial community," he said.
"Teen centers are allowed within almost any commercial zoning classification in the city right now," Mr. Frankland said. "One of the few classifications that would not allow teen clubs would be the C5 district."
Mr. Frankland said that, based on the planning commission's request, he and the city's law department researched local ordinances to determine if other communities have implemented regulations specific to teen clubs.
The commission was interested in whether it could be addressed in the zoning code, Mr. Frankland said. He said his research did not find any community that restricts teen clubs through a zoning code. However, it was determined that one community, North Olmsted, has adopted "teen dance club" licensing procedures within its business-regulation ordinances, he said.
"I think, so long as it is legal to have licensing, the city should adopt it for teen clubs for all locations in the city where they are permitted right now," Mr. Frankland said. "As far as the Enterprise Parkway area, obviously, that will be up to council what they will do there."
"The Macklins have demonstrated they'd be good operators of a teen club," Mr. Hrabak said. "The main issue here is whether we want to change the use in that district." Safety is his main concern, he said, especially outside of the facility and in the general area.
Mr. Patton, a member of the planning commission, told Mrs. Macklin, who was in attendance at the meeting, that she and her husband do a wonderful job, both for young people in Solon and the general community. They are great corporate citizens of the city, he said. However, he said, it's important to have both internal and external security in place for a teen club, and, currently, the city does not have a code section on its books with relation to that. As a result, he said, he's not comfortable in recommending the approval of the change at this time.
"We are not here to ruffle feathers," Mrs. Macklin said. With regards to her efforts to get the zoning for a teen club, she said, "I'm going to keep coming back to get that zoning changed. I'll be like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I will be back."
Mr. Newberry said he does not want the teen clubs to be a sole use in the district. He said he would be suspicious of one that would be in operation five days a week. He said the Macklins "have an excellent reputation for dealing with kids," but that may not apply to everyone who would choose to have that type of business in the area.
Mr. Stolarsky agreed with Mr. Patton that the Macklins are excellent corporate citizens of the city. But "the potential risks outweigh any benefits in this particular change," he said.
Mr. Patton encouraged Mr. Frankland to work with the Macklins and other area businesses to accommodate changes in the zoning to allow for a broader range of uses than are currently permitted.
Mr. Frankland said many of the issues will be addressed within the master plan slated to be released in phases beginning in February. "There's recommendations within the plan for rezoning throughout the city, and Enterprise Parkway will be part of that recommendation," he said.
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