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Cooper site could be salvage yard

The owner of the Crowell-Collier Building is looking to establish a salvage yard at the former Cooper Energy Services site, 1401 Sheridan Ave, nearly two months after the city forced it to stop placing crushed cars and other salvage at the location.

According to public documents, Crestline, Ohio-based Mosier Industrial Services — who purchased the property as part of the $1.5 million deal for the Crowell-Collier Building in 2011 — would like to change the zoning from general manufacturing to heavy manufacturing for a salvage yard at the 16.5-acre location.

Last March, Shannon Meadows, the city’s community development director sent Rod Mosier, the president of Mosier Industrial Services, a cease and desist letter asking the company to stop using the site as a salvage yard, which had crushed cars “clearly visible on the property,” without a license.

According to the letter obtained by the Springfield News-Sun, unlawful operation of a salvage yard is a third-degree misdemeanor. The punishment is up to a $500 fine, 60 days in jail or both, according to the city’s codified ordinances.

City law director Jerry Strozdas said Mosier quickly came into compliance, removing the crushed cars from the property.

The company filed an application for the rezoning on April 22. Mosier will appear before the City Planning Board at 7 p.m. Monday in the City Hall forum, 76 E. High St.

Mosier project manager Russell Watts would not comment on the application last week.

The application states the company believes the site will be a successful location for a salvage yard. The company also won’t use the entire location for the salvage business.

Planning and zoning administrator Bryan Heck said this is the first step in a 90-to-120-day process.

If the rezoning is approved by the planning board, Mosier must seek a conditional use permit and a variance from the board of zoning appeals because the salvage yard will be located within 1,000-feet of a residential zoning area.

If that’s approved, the company also must receive a license from the salvage yard review board, led by Meadows.

“They’ve got several steps to go through before it will be allowed,” Heck said.

City staff will recommend approving the rezoning to the planning board on Monday for “industrial-type development,” Heck said.

“It’s consistent with the area,” Heck said. “There are other businesses zoned (for heavy manufacturing) so it’s consistent with industrial development.”

The city currently has approximately 20 salvage yards of various sizes in different pockets of town.

Once the public process concludes, the review board will work with different groups such as the police, fire, code enforcement, health and building regulations departments to inspect the site.

“It has a neighborhood impact, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, and that’s why we look at the neighborhood and the public boards that are in place to help guide and direct into that conditional use,” Meadows said.

Dave Simonton, president of the Thomas Tape & Supply Co., 1713 Sheridan Ave., said he’s got several concerns, including only part of the site being used, the effect the business may have on economic development and possible crime in the area.

“To have a salvage yard that close that someone could take copper pipe or wiring over and get rid of it in a matter of minutes, it’s concerning,” Simonton said.

Ed Leventhal, the president of A&E Powder Coating, 1511 Sheridan Ave., said he’s very concerned with the possibility of a salvage yard next to his business, which would “dramatically impact the value of the area, both in terms of residential and businesses.”

Last July, the city sued Mosier, alleging the company failed to comply with previous court orders against the Crowell-Collier Building —the 900,000-square-foot complex at 200 W. High St. — and previous owner Harry Denune, including the removal of asbestos-containing material, the demolition of one building, submitting a nuisance abatement plan and exterior masonry repairs.

Strozdas said the litigation still is pending, and a meeting between the two parties and Clark County Common Pleas Court Magistrate Melinda Reardon is scheduled for next month.

“They continue to do some work on the building and we continue to talk to them about what our expectations are and things like that,” Strozdas said.

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