XENIA – Xenia City Council Thursday approved the rezoning of four buildings on North Detroit Street from office to central business district.
Some of the buildings, which are converted homes, are vacant and have upper floors which could still be used as residences.
James Crawford, a local realtor who filed the rezoning request on behalf of the building owners, said during a public hearing in June that the rezoning would help the owners market and sell their buildings.
On Thursday councilman Dale Louderback reaffirmed his concern about the rezoning saying a change in zoning will make it more difficult to convert the second floor into residential space.
“By changing zoning it’ll make them less valuable to buyers,” he said.
City Planning Director Brian Forschner said Friday that upper floor residences are currently non-conforming to the current zoning but would be permitted under the new zoning.
Councilman John Caupp also expressed concerns about the potential change, suggesting that council wait until a zoning re-write is completed in early 2016.
Council Vice-President Joshua Long said zoning is in place to protect properties but that it’s not council’s job to tell property owners how they can or can’t invest in their properties.
The rezoning was approved 5-2, with Louderback and Caupp voting against the change.
In other council business, council 5-2 passed the 2016 tax budget as required by the Ohio Revised Code. The current request of $49.8 million is not official, but it will serve as a projection of expected revenues and expenses for the upcoming fiscal year. City staff hopes to have the final budget submitted no later than September and approved in January.
Due to decreasing revenues the budget shows a cash flow deficit, which is projected to continue for several years.
“In response, (the city) has maintained fairly rigid budgeting guidelines in recent years, but were even more aggressive in 2016,” City Manager Brent Merriman told council.
Included with the budget were priorities for 2016 which include promoting housing, a recreation center, reducing energy consumption and seeking additional revenue sources including dispatch contracts and Central State annexation.