LIMA — After neighborhood complaints sparked a deeper look into a build at 1414 Hazel Ave., Lima City Council on Monday night unanimously reversed a special zoning permit for Blue Chip Housing that would have allowed the construction of a duplex.
Councilors from the community and economic development committee had initially met Monday last week to discuss the issue in more detail. By the end of the hour-plus conversation, councilors asked that the city administration take a deeper look at existing permits filed by Blue Chip to check for potential problems.
Such sticking points discussed by council include Blue Chip owner Brady Schroeder hitting a gas line at the site, supposed confrontations with neighbors, lax permitting, potential work being finished during a cease-and-desist order and other neighborhood disruptions.
Schroeder contends that while some mistakes were made, the correct permits have since been applied for, and his workers would be without employment if they had not moved forward.
“Maybe some of the things that I said were a bit harsh, but it’s the truth,” Council President John Nixon said in reference to earlier comments. During the meeting held last week, he labeled Blue Chip’s performance as “terrible.”
“The goal is they follow the rules and continue to be a profitable business in the city of Lima, but just like with any contractor in the city of Lima, there are rules,” Nixon said.
Councilors Carla Thompson and Derry Glenn also spoke against the company’s actions. Thompson cited the illegality of building without a permit, and Glenn spoke about the supposed special treatment for Blue Chip as the housing company had been able to construct a non-permitted duplex for months without major hassle.
In related news, an ordinance that would have resulted in the installation of a Verizon Wireless 5G communication antenna on the Paul Street water tower failed to pass on first reading. Glenn and Councilor Jamie Dixon voted against the ordinance after receiving multiple communications from residents concerned about potential health problems.
“Since the residents have the ear of myself, I can’t support tonight’s legislation,” Dixon said.
Public watchdogs in charge of tracking and testing potential harmful exposures to radiation, such as the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, have largely determined that 5G technology under the right guidelines pose no risks to public health.
Dixon asked that the ordinance be examined in more detail in committee in order to get more information about the project and to potentially speak to subject-matter experts.
If the project is approved, the City of Lima would receive $90,000 from Verizon over a five-year period.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.