Billboard will go up

Tom Wehrhahn
Managing Editor

Contrary to previously published information, a recent decision by the Wapakoneta Planning Commission does not have to come before council for review.
The June 26 decision by the planning commission to allow a conditional use on a B-3 zoned property to allow a billboard to be installed on Willipie Street near the railroad crossing will stand. A preliminary review led the Lands and Buildings Committee to believe the matter would come before council for review.
The issue came to light later in the meeting as property owner Linda Knerr approached council.
Knerr expressed her concern that the planning commission, in making their decision, stated there was no way they could deny the application. Knerr further said it was stated that anyone unhappy with the decision could address council to have the rules changed.
Council President Steve Henderson referred the question to Law Director Dennis Faller.
“You can always changed things. It’s a process,” Faller said.
At-Large Councilman Dan Graf said he had asked the Buildings and Lands Committee to consider a moratorium on certain issues, such as antennas, billboards and tall buildings.
“There’s nothing to say it (zoning code) isn’t outdated,” Faller said. He suggested seeking out a consultant to guide the city in a review of its zoning regulations.
“Every zone has hundreds of conditional uses available,” Third Ward Councilwoman Bonnie Wurst said, and agreed a consultant would be needed.
“It just baffles me why we have a commission that has one elected official for the city on it that can run roughshod over the city and not have oversight by the city council, Graf said.
Under Ohio law, planning commissions are made up of the mayor, safety-service director and other members appointed by the mayor.
“Why does the planning commission have the ability to decide conditional use?” asked Wurst.
Lands and Buildings Committee Chair Rachel Barber asked why there is a need to go before the commission if...

For the rest of this story and more, pick up Tuesday's edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.