Much of Tuesday’s discussion about the sale of a city-owned parking lot in downtown Findlay to make way for a $31 million retail-residential development continued to focus on concerns about parking.
Findlay Council hosted an informal committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday to take comments from the public about the impact of the development, which would be built in the 500 block of South Main Street.
California developer and Findlay High School graduate Tim Youngpeter seeks the parking lot behind The Wine Merchant and the former Rieck’s building for his proposed building project in and around the former Argyle apartment building space.
The Argyle space, across the street from Marathon Petroleum Corp. headquarters, has been vacant since 2012 when the apartment building was destroyed by fire.
Tuesday’s meeting attracted 35 people, but only two residents not associated with the project spoke. Both were concerned about parking. There is also concern about disruption to the downtown during the two-year construction, and alley access to a nearby church.
Representatives of the developer, along with Tim Mayle, director of Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development, seemed eager to answer questions and work on solutions.
The development’s parking would include 150-160 spaces, one for each of the 122 apartment units and the rest for public parking. Apartment residents would pay a fee to park in the building, and would be fined for using public parking.
Public parking would be housed on the ground floor of the complex.
City Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said it would be up to council to set the rules for encroachment on public property during the construction.
He said those rules would be part of site planning for the development, and would be covered by an event permit issued by the city to the developer, which is standard practice.
Developers are also now talking to officials from Trinity Episcopal Church, 128 W. Hardin St., which abuts the project. Pastor John Drymon said he would like whatever promises are made to address the need for Sunday parking, and access to the church, in writing.
For council Tuesday, the biggest remaining question was the sale price.
Council already gave a first reading to legislation that will allow the sale of the parking lot. Barring a vote to pass the legislation as an emergency, it will take three readings at council’s regular meetings to approve the sale.
The price listed on that agreement was $130,000, which raised eyebrows and maybe some tempers at Tuesday’s meeting. There has been no agreement on price, but based on Tuesday’s discussion, it’s going up.
According to information provided by the Hancock County commissioners, an offer they made to buy the parking lot from the city for $230,000 fell through in 2013.
The Blanchard Valley Port Authority offered $150,000 for the parking lot in April.
On Tuesday, a representative of the developer said the $130,000 listed in the legislation given to council was only meant to serve as a “good faith placeholder.”
Courier reporter Denise Grant will have more on Wednesday.