Fostoria demands action on empty lot

By LYDIA BAULER
FOR THE COURIER

FOSTORIA — The city administration has made another move toward resolving problems with the Rensko Property-owned lot at 918 N. Countyline St., which was originally to be the site of a Tim Horton’s restaurant.

Mayor Eric Keckler announced Tuesday the city has sent the Westerville-based company a letter demanding that the firm make the property “whole” and “bring the property up to grade.”

The letter comes after the company failed to restore the now-empty lot after Rensko backed out from the restaurant project and listed the property for sale.

The mayor reported in April that the company had agreed to remove excess dirt and straighten the property out, but the work has yet to be completed.

Rensko recently sold the topsoil on the lot to a contractor, creating concern that the lot will be left unleveled.

“They had sold their topsoil that is in a big pile on the corner to a contractor,” Keckler said. “The worry on our part is that if they sell all that topsoil, then we will end up having big bowls that would cause an issue with gathering water.

“We just wanted them to work with us to get the property in such a state that it wasn’t an eyesore or cause us to have an issue with EPA because of the dirt going into our sewer system.”

The mayor said the company has until Friday to address the issues and straighten out the lot or zoning citations will be issued.

A local Realtor, Daniel Cochran, expressed concern that sanctions and negative publicity regarding the lot may scare off businesses interested in the lot.

“I have a client that is interested in that property and who is keeping a close eye on what is being done to that current property owner,” Cochran said. “I have a real problem with sending someone like that a bill saying they’re breaking a city ordinance when I’m trying to bring business into this town. They’re watching what is being done.”

Cochran also suggested ordinances on zoning issues need to be enforced consistently.

“If you want to pick on people, you are going to ruin bringing new people into this town. If we are going to follow rules, which I completely agree with following zoning ordinances, then follow all of them and make everyone follow them,” he said.

According to Keckler, the city strives to be supportive and cooperative with businesses as long as they put forth effort to comply with zoning codes.

“Contrary to some people’s opinion, we are not being business unfriendly,” he said. “I think we have given them ample time to do something with that property. We’ve been very patient — probably more patient than a lot of people would have liked. Now that there is a decent construction period coming up, we would certainly like to make them make that property meet our standards. We will be working with them to make that happen.”

In another development, the councilman for the 2nd Ward, Greg Flores, has resigned. Interested applicants from the ward can pick up an application from the mayor’s office.



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