Athens City Council considers rezoning requests that would expand business space

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Two rezoning requests before the Athens City Council would allow businesses to operate closer to residences near two major streets.

One proposal would allow the Hyundai dealership on East State Street to use five vacant lots behind it to park the cars it sells.

The lots are next to houses on Grand Park Boulevard and Eden Place. Residents at a public hearing before the City Council on Monday said they are concerned about increased lighting and want a barrier between the lots and their homes.

An empty dirt lot behind a car dealership.
The Hyundai dealership on East State Street in Athens is hoping to eventually use this lot for its cars. [Lucy Schaefer | WOUB Public Media]
Council Member Alan Swank said a parking lot like this can take up a maximum of 60% of the lot, while the remaining 40% could provide a natural barrier between the property and houses.

Attorney David Mott said that he doesn’t know how that 40% will be distributed, but that he doesn’t “see any practical way to do it where there is not green space on the north.”

The second proposal would change multiple lots on Elliot Street from residential multi-family to neighborhood business residential. This would allow properties to double as homes and businesses.

No one representing the developer requesting the zoning change attended the hearing. 

The developer, Dan DeLuca, owns Red Brick Tavern and Pawpurrs Bar on Court Street, both of which have apartments above them. He also owns University Rentals.

Council Member Michael Wood wanted to know what the developer’s plans are for the properties.

He requested to table the proposal, which would put it on hold, until those plans are provided.

“I will not vote for something if you aren’t going to give that common respect,” Wood said.

Council decided to first reach out to the developer and request the plans before deciding whether to delay the matter.

Both proposals will be discussed again on June 17.