Norton Road project may lose building permit

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By Hannah Poling
Staff Writer

Anthony Celebrezze III, assistant director for the Department of Building and Zoning Services for the city of Columbus, attended the Nov. 20 Westland Area Commission meeting to give updates on an ongoing construction project on Norton Road.

The construction project is a strip mall or “retail box,” which is being built at 1058 Norton Road. This strip mall is intended to contain five to seven units. The project began in April of 2014 and has yet to be completed. The building permit for this project has been extended to Dec. 19.

According to the commissioners, the building project has become an eyesore. There has been a ladder propped up on the property for about four to five months with no progress to show for it, and the structure still does not have a roof. The individual maintaining this project did send in a site plan trying to prove that progress has been made on the property.

“As you all remember from the last time I talked, we look for proof of progress. There are certain things that we will accept and other things we won’t. Site plans we won’t,” said Celebrezze.

The original plan was approved in 2014, and the individual working on the property has three weeks remaining to justify to the chief building official that they are making progress.

If the permit does expire and this individual does indeed want to place a building there, they will have to go back through the whole building permit process and building review process all over again. The fees will also need to be recollected.

According to code enforcement, if the building permit expires, that removes it from the status of an active construction site and makes it instead a vacant building. If the status changed to vacant building, the structure would need to be secured not only with fencing but also with plywood so that people would be unable to physically enter the premises.

“One way or another, it’s a long laborious process,” said Celebrezze.

The city is in a waiting game until Dec. 19 to see what will happen.

“Come the 19th, I’m going to move things along,” said Celebrezze. “We give people a grace period. It takes a little while for our finance section to catch up. But I’ll admit to you, if nothing comes in by the 19th, I’m going to have to start the process to close the permit.

Generally, once we close a permit, we won’t open it again,” said Celebrezze.

The assistant director assured commissioners that he is resolved to push something forward. Either have the builder start making progress, or to close out the permit to stop work on the property completely.

In other news, the Westland Area Commission now has an active webpage available to the public. The website is westlandareacommission.com.

“We are still doing a lot of tweaking to it, but it’s live,” said chairman Scott Taylor.

A motion was passed unanimously by the commissioners not to hold a December Westland Area Commission meeting. They will resume meeting again on the third Wednesday or the month in January.

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