Hartville Village Council approves sign variance for computer repair business

Brian Lisik
Suburbanite correspondent

HARTVILLE – Hartville Village Council approved a sign variance for MTEKz Advanced Computer and Phone repair, at 820 W. Maple Street, inside the Marc’s Plaza.

Mayor Cynthia Billings said the variance, which was approved by the village board of zoning appeals, calls for adding 9.4 square feet to the business’s existing 15-square-foot outdoor sign to include “phone repair” to its list of services. The existing sign, Billings noted, is permitted by the village zoning code.

At the BZA meeting, members noted that the total 24.3 square feet being requested by MTEKz is still less than the signs at adjacent businesses, Subway and Dairy Queen, which have 37.4 and 45.2 square foot signs, respectively.

Councilwoman Bev Green opposed the MTEKz variance, stating that the two adjoining business signs were approved more than a decade ago.

“Well before our current zoning book was approved,” Green said. “We are going to have a lot of signs that don’t conform, that was the whole reason for (updating) our zoning book. But so far, we haven’t approved a conforming use. So we wasted four years creating a zoning book.”

Village Solicitor Ron Starkey said Council’s approval of variance requests is not “wasting” the zoning book, but rather applying it.

“That is why you have a BZA; to see if there are reasons to deviate from (the zoning code),” Starkey said.

In this case, he said, the addition to the MTEKz sign fits with the surrounding businesses.

Councilman Jim Sullivan added that while the new zoning book is “a good calculation,” each case must be considered on its own merit.

“In this case, it saved them a little money to add to their sign instead of getting a new sign,” Sullivan said. “I think that is part of our job too; to evaluate if we are saving the business money.”

Later in the meeting, Billings introduced a proposal from Village Zoning Inspector Ray Bednarczyk that a zoning book review committee be seated each year.

Sullivan asked if that would mean the zoning book would need to be ratified by Council annually. Starkey said only suggested amendments to it would need Council approval.

No action was taken on this proposal at the meeting.

Zoning change

Council also approved a BZA recommendation for a zoning change from general business to retail zoning at 224 E. Maple Street, Suite A, for Next to Nothing Discount Wholesale.

The company is planning a move into the former Longaberger manufacturing facility and seeks to use the front of the building as a retail store front and the rear for warehouse space.

Billings also noted that the zoning change will apply only to Next to Nothing Discount Wholesale’s use of the building and would evert back to the original zoning should ownership of the building change hands.

The zoning change was approved unanimously by Council.