By DENISE GRANT
Developers interested in buying a downtown Findlay parking lot have asked that the legislation to sell the lot be tabled during Tuesday’s regular meeting of City Council.
The meeting will again be closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be broadcast and livestreamed.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The livestream may be viewed online at: www.findlayohio.com/meeting.
Elvis Oxley, of Oxley Consulting, Arlington, Virginia, met with Mayor Christina Muryn, on Wednesday to discuss project options, including the decision of his consulting firm and partner developers to delay the project.
In a statement published on Tuesday’s council agenda, Oxley said the decision to table the sale “is due to our nation in a pandemic crisis and with the tenuous economic conditions at hand that could become grim in the near future.”
“There have been well over 100 conversations with bankers, lenders and private investors over the past week, most of which have indicated a stoppage of investments in new projections,” said Oxley.
In the statement, Oxley said several investors were cutting real estate valuations by 30 percent across the board on properties they had already invested in the United States.
“While they will not be investing in the city lot at this time, they would like to be considered first in line when this situation begins to clear up,” he said.
The proposed development would have included first-floor retail and about 75 apartments of different sizes. It would have spanned over the parking lot and the empty Argyle lot in the 500 block of South Main Street. The Argyle building was destroyed by fire in 2012. Construction of the building was estimated at about $18 million.
Oxley is a native of Findlay, and the son the late U.S. Rep. Michael Oxley, a Republican from Findlay.
Separately, a vote on legislation to modify the city’s zoning code is expected Tuesday.
The vote was delayed by city officials in March, when the pandemic protocols requiring social distancing were first put into place.
The ordinance will add a “duplex/triplex” option for small residential lots zoned R-3, and to include an “average front yard setback statement” for residential lots zoned R-2, R-3 and R-4.
The proposed changes have met with some public opposition. Tom Ross, president of the Findlay Area Apartment Association, has questioned whether the legislation, which “targets” duplexes and triplexes, is discriminatory.
Tuesday’s agenda includes a legal opinion from Jeffrey Stopar, of Semro Henry & Barga Ltd., Toledo, on the legality of the zoning change. Stopar has practiced for 15 years in the area of local government litigation, zoning and land use, and constitutional law.
In the statement, Stopar said, “Based on the foregoing limitations on nonconforming uses, and the significant power cities have to regulate and eliminate them, it is a benefit to any existing duplex/triplex owner to have the zoning designation changed to allow duplexes and triplexes as conditional uses.”
Besides viewing the council meeting via the city’s website, residents can also follow it through social media, radio and the local cable channel through Spectrum cable.
Those wanting to provide an oral communication on only the agenda items will need to do so in writing to the council clerk by email at CityCouncil@findlayohio.com prior to noon today to be submitted to the agenda. The first four communications received for or against will be read into the record. Those received after the noon deadline will not be accepted.
Written communications on only the agenda items will need to do so in writing to the council clerk by email at CityCouncil@findlayohio.com prior to noon on today, in order to be submitted to the agenda and can be read into the record upon request.
The complete agenda is available for public review on the city’s website: www.findlayohio.com.