Troy Council members call for moratorium on demolition permits, construction of single-level parking lots


By Sam Wildow

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TROY —Troy City Council members called for the council to implement a moratorium on the construction of single-level parking lots, as well as a moratorium on demolition permits for the downtown, during the council’s regular meeting on Monday.

Jeffrey Schilling, sixth ward council member, was absent from Monday’s meeting, but he submitted a letter to President of the Council Bill Lutz regarding these requests, which Lutz read out loud to the council.

Schilling’s letter was in regard to the Troy Planning Commission’s majority vote of 4-3 to allow a demolition permit for the building located at 112-118 W. Main St., also referred to as the IOOF building that was also once a former courthouse in Miami County. Schilling referenced previous plans from the owner of that property, Randy Kimmel of 116 West Main LLC, to construct a parking lot at that location. The Troy Planning Commission rejected those plans, so a seed and straw reuse plan was approved with the demolition application.

“As a member of Troy City Council, I, like many others, are concerned about the future of this very valuable piece of property is downtown Troy,” Schilling’s letter read. Schilling’s letter referenced a potential development deal for the property, which has not been announced. He also expressed doubt that the Troy Planning Commission would continue to reject plans for a parking lot at that location, saying, “I agree with the Troy Planning Commission, a parking lot is not the best use for this property, but can we rely on the Troy Planning Commission to be resolute and stand by their earlier decision if the rumored deal falls through and the owner comes before the commission with new parking lot plans after they say that nothing else is financially feasible? And a larger question is, do we need any more single-level parking lots in downtown Troy?”

Schilling then asked the council to consider implementing a moratorium on all single-level parking lot construction in the downtown to last between six months and two years.

“This time frame will give council time to review the three existing studies on the downtown parking situation, including the MKSK study, the Woolpert study, and the most recent, unreleased parking study completed in partnership with Miami County,” Schilling’s letter read. “This moratorium will also give time to those who own parking lots or those who are considering constructing parking lots in downtown Troy to review their business plans and consider constructing a building for businesses or living space in downtown.”

Schilling also requested a moratorium on the issuance of demolition permits in the downtown area, with the exception of buildings that suffer a total loss due to a catastrophic event.

“The discussion surrounding demolition permits by the Troy Planning Commission over the last several years speak out to the need for council to review the current guidelines used by the Troy Planning Commission,” Schilling’s letter said.

This requested moratorium would last until the council approves or rejects any changes recommended by city staff.

Todd Severt, at-large council member, also requested for the council to issue a moratorium on the construction of parking lots as a result of the IOOF building decision.

“For the last 18 months or so, City Council has been required to sit on the sidelines as the fate of the IOOF building was determined by the Planning Commission,” Severt said. “It is important to remember council had no say in the disposition of the matter. However, now the council does have an opportunity to control what transpires with the property going forward. The initial reuse plan presented to the city had the area blacktopped and utilized for parking. Subsequently, the reuse plan was changed to grass. While I am but one voice who would implore the property owner to look at alternatives to demolition, if it is going to be demo-ed, we do not need a parking lot filling the gap tooth between the buildings.”

“I join Mr. Schilling’s request for a moratorium on parking lots for a minimum of one year to assess and assure the property either remains in current condition or it remains shovel-ready for redevelopment in a fashion consistent with our beautiful downtown,” Severt said.

Lutz stated he would send those requests to the council’s Community and Economic Development committee for consideration during a committee meeting to be held on Nov. 8 when Schilling will be available to attend.

Additional council members of John Schweser, third ward; Bobby Phillips, fourth ward; and William Twiss, fifth ward, were absent on Monday. The council lacked the super majority to approve items on the agenda, so the council held the first readings of two resolutions on the agenda. The first resolution read was a resolution amending the fee schedule with updated fees relating to the Development and Engineering departments, as well as to cemetery fees. The fees are not related to utility costs. The other resolution was in regard to a professional services agreement with Jackson Lewis P.C., for collective bargaining and other employment-related services.

The council ended its meeting by going into executive session for the purpose of discussing bargaining sessions with public employees. No action was taken after executive session.

The next Troy City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 in council chambers on the second floor of City Hall, located at 100 S. Market St. Committee meetings will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 in council chambers.

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