Monday, April 09, 2001

Planners stepped on some toes

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — While City Council is considering expanding the planning commission's control over commercial developments, several council members are complaining the commission has overstepped its bounds in other areas.

        “They have no legal authority to legislate,” Councilman Mark Flick said at a recentCity Council work session. “They have assigned duties, and they're outside of them.”

        Mr. Flick is drafting a letter reminding planning commission members what their job is — and what it isn't.

        The commission reviews building proposals to make sure they comply with city ordinances. Members do not have the power to grant exceptions; that falls to City Council or the Board of Zoning Appeals.

        The developer of a Big Kmart on Columbus Avenue asked for a curb cut for a driveway at a spot that's too close to an existing curb cut, according to city ordinances.

        There's some confusion about what happened next.

        Planning Commission Chairwoman Alexandra Reynolds believes her group recommended approval of the curb cut to City Council.

        “It is a council decision,” she agreed.

        Planning Director Marty Kohler, on the other hand, said City Attorney Mark Yurick negotiated a conditional-use permit with the developer and advised the commission to approve it.

        Mr. Yurick said he merely negotiated the conditions after the Planning Commission had approved the permit.

        The one thing everyone agrees on: The deal never came to council for approval.


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