A Springfield pizza store will build a 6-foot-tall block wall to increase security and improve the entrance to downtown from the west.
Catanzaro’s Pizza and Subs, 433 Dayton Ave., plans to have the wall erected by the end of August, according to owner Joe Catanzaro.
The Board of Zoning Appeals voted 4-0 on Monday to grant the business a variance for the wall, which is larger than the height limit of 2.5 feet for a solid wall in a front yard designated in the city’s code. The board granted the variance with two conditions – it must have gates to allow for emergency personnel to enter the building, and must have a brick façade. The city had recommended denial of the variance.
“I just feel like it’s a win for local businesses,” Catanzaro said.
Catanzaro’s has been in business in the area since 1951. He said he’s building the wall both over concerns of vandalism and to block the view of the nearby adult film store across the street on Dayton Avenue.
The wall will begin near the back of the pizza shop, cover the adjacent Catanzaro’s monument business on the property, then end at the residence on the corner of West Pleasant and Dayton Avenue.
Catanzaro’s has 14 employees, many of whom work nights baking bread and making pizza dough. Catanzaro said the wall will increase safety for those employees working at night. He said they’ve had several situations where people simply walk up onto the porch late at night.
The board believed the wall would enhance safety, improve property value and bring positive improvements to the area. There was also no one at the meeting to object to the variance.
“This is why we have variances,” said board member Regina Rollins.
Tom Lagos, Catanzaro’s attorney, also owns a building in the area. He said he’d be more likely to invest if the board were to grant the variance.
“(The wall) doesn’t hurt anybody,” Lagos said.
Several residents spoke in favor of the block wall, citing safety concerns and the store’s commitment to the neighborhood.
Catanzaro, an Enon resident and Mad River Township trustee, removed the application last month’s BZA meeting because of conflicting meetings. He plans to add some type of a welcome sign to the block wall.
The city recommended denial of the variance based on the city’s code, which states anything more than 10 percent solid in a front yard cannot exceed 2.5-feet in height. The staff’s report said the wall would be out of character for the neighborhood but wouldn’t adversely affect neighbors.
“I think the variance case went through the appropriate process,” said Bryan Heck, the city’s planning and zoning administrator. “The board heard the applicant and the issue they’re facing at the property. It was an appropriate variance for the property. He expressed the need for the block wall at six feet in the front yard. I’m very pleased that the process did exactly what the process is supposed to do.”
The BZA had just four members in attendance on Monday. Member Asim Z. Haque recently resigned after accepting a commissioner position with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, while another member, Charles Clark, was absent. Heck said the board is currently in search of two new members.