ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
DATE: March 7, 2012
TIME: 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Council Chambers
Chairman R. Michael Fowler called the meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals to
order at 9:00 a.m. and asks Mr. Klinar to take the roll call.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Mr. Patterson, Mr. Iemma, Mr. Kramer and Chief Brown
R. Michael Fowler: I know many of you signed in to speak. We want to keep this as
orderly and moving as quickly as possible. Is Deacon Lou somewhere in the audience?
Would you like to be the first to speak? Because you are..or Mr. Gareau. For the record,
Richard Klinar received 200-300 letters of support for this project.
Patrick Gareau: Good morning I am Patrick Gareau, and I am the President of the
Catholic Charities. As most people know in Lorain the shelter at St. Joseph has been a
continuous operation for 17 years. It opened in 1995. It has been under the direction of
Deacon Lou Maldonado since it was opened in 1995. It is a very well run program that
program that provides vital service. We need the zoning variance to continue to provide the
service to the citizens of Lorain who are most in need. It has been a little bit confusing
some people think that we are applying for the zoning variance so that we can run the
shelter year round. In fact, we are applying for the variance so that we can operate any
months of the year. It is very important that we are granted this variance so that we can
continue. To this point we are not aware of any opposition from the neighbors from the
immediate neighborhood. Unless there is someone here to speak today. For security at the
shelter we employ Lorain Auxiliary Policeman, and contrary to what has been talked about
actually 93% of the people we serve are residents of Lorain. With an average residency of
21 years. I don’t know if Chief Rivera is here – he wrote a wonderful letter back in 2010.
That was in response to the denial of our zoning variance the initial in September of 2010.
I don’t want to speak for the Chief, but it was such a good letter I will quote from it a bit.
He referred to the shelter at St. Joseph as exceptionally well run and self sufficient. He
described the situation prior to 1995 before the shelter opened. He recalled that the
homeless sought shelter in parks, abandoned homes, City Hall, near small businesses,
schools and in alleys and other places. He described the situation as an atmosphere of fear
and aggravation. The funding for St. Joseph’s shelter is majority by the Catholic Charities,
and we receive considerable support from Foundations and contributions from private
individuals. Not one cent of it is funded by any Government entity. If denied, our options
will obviously be very limited. I don’t think we can continue on with the current situation
of 30 day permits. My remarks are that these are citizens of Lorain who have had a less
fortunate situations and to turn our backs on them , and expect them to find warmth and
comfort in parks and all the other places mentioned is going backwards. So I hope you will
do some serious considerations so that our request is granted and we will continue, and we
are committed to provide for the people that we serve.
Deacon Lou Maldonado: Good Morning, I am Deacon Lou Maldonado. The shelter
began in 1995 when folks were coming to the rectory wanting assistance with housing for
the night, and it became so expensive assisting them with hotel rooms. That we made the
effort to buy 12 army cots, and open one of the classrooms to let some of these folks spend
the night. Since then it has evolved, and we have now 50 beds for men, and 16 for women
and children. We have been at full capacity all winter, and this has been a mild winter. In
the really cold winters we get more than we should have in the shelter. Sometimes we put
people on the floor because we can’t just turn people away in the middle of the night. We
provide transportation for them. We provide prescription medication when they need it.
We help them get their I.D.’s and their birth certificates so that they can get moving with
what they need to do to get back into society. Initially many of the folks that we house in
the shelter have some sort of addiction or mental illness, but now we are getting more and
more of folks that have lost jobs, lost apartments, foreclosures, that sort of thing due to the
economy. Many of the people in shelter now are using the shelter as a stepping stone to get
their next level. Maybe two or three weeks in shelter, and then they move on. We do have
unfortunately the chronic homeless who are with us all year round and return because they
cannot find anything else for themselves in our society. As Mr. Gareau said, the majority
of our people are Lorain residents with an average of 21 years per person. The shelter is a
vital need it has provided a service to the City. I think it is a good thing not only for the
City, but for the neighborhood. It is located in a central area where the majority of the folks
in central Lorain are pedestrian. Few of them have automobiles where they can travel
anywhere, and the shelter being where it is gives them the opportunity to walk in the
various to get to services that they need.
R. Michael Fowler: If anyone wishes to speak at this Public Hearing would you please
step up to the microphone state your name and address for the record. With so many
people here if we could keep our comments to the topic at hand.
Jim Gosick: My name is Gosick and I live at 5272 Cardinal Ct. Lorain near the hospital. I
got involved with the shelter around Christmas actually. With Deacon Jay at St. Peter’s
Parish. He can’t be here he broke his ankle walking his dog. He is recovering though. I
think I have gotten more out of volunteering at the shelter than (inaudible) My situation is
such that I don’t have to worry about shelter and things like that. Some people are just not,
this is really a wonderful shelter for a lot of people. So I hope you approve the variance.
Maryanne (inaudible): Maryanne (inaudible) 10519 Indian Hollow Rd. Elyria, Ohio I
belong to St. Mary’s church in Elyria, and this is our 9th year of bringing dinner once a
month to the homeless shelter, and I have never been afraid to go there. The men are
always more than polite. Last year one of my tires because the fella said that I wouldn’t
make it back to Elyria. I am not that familiar with Lorain I had no quams about him getting
in my car and taking me someplace to get air in my tire. He even paid for the air, but now
as I am getting a little older the men don’t even want me taking the food downstairs, but
like I said they are always very grateful, very polite, and I am also along with another
nurse taking blood pressures for them every couple of months. Again, always thankful and
very polite. I don’t know if they are living on the streets if we would see that much. Thank
you for listening.
Theresa (inaudible): My name is Theresa (inaudible) and I live at 318 West Ave. I am the
Homeless Advocate for the Homeless Task Force. I stayed at the homeless shelter (St.
Joseph) twice the first time because my home had burned and I had lost everything. The
second time because of addiction. The house that I stayed in was like a mansion. I was
treated like a queen. Deacon Lou had done everything in his power to give us everything
we needed. I never did without anything. When you come there you never do without
anything. That is what everybody needs. If people don’t get this – the people out on the
street they are going to be sleeping on people’s steps, they are going to be in business
doorways, and abandoned houses. What are business people going to do when they come
to their store and they find people there every morning. They are going to be committing a
crime just so that they can go to jail and have somewhere to stay. That is not right for
people, and Deacon Lou does his best for everybody. He has done this for years, and I
don’t want this to happen to nobody. I want him to keep this shelter. Thank you.
Daniel Gillotti: Good Morning Daniel Gillotti 4204 Berkely Dr. Sheffield Village. I am
the Chairman of St. Joe’s overnight advisory board. My wife and I have been involved
with the shelter since 2002. I have been the chairman of the advisory board since 2005. I
just want to say that the shelter could not exist without the grass root support that we have
gotten throughout Lorain County. Last year Deacon Lou and Barb were preparing a grant
request and we were able to assemble the numbers. We have over 700 volunteers that are
involved in supporting the shelter in one way or another. Either through churches and civic
groups that bring food in the evening for the evening meal. Whether it is a donations, paper
products, breakfast cereal for the breakfast in the morning. It is a grass roots effort, and the
folks that are represented if you go through the letters, and take a look at the letters it is all
over the county. People are willing to support this effort. I hope you will look at this as a
valuable resource to not only for the City of Lorain but also Lorain County, and approve
this request. Thank you.
Judy Maldonado: My name is Judy Maldonado and I live at 470 North Ridge Rd. Lorain.
I am employed at Mercy Hospital on the Behavioral Health Unit, and am also a member of
the Homeless Task Force. I am here in support of this variance. I believe that many of the
individual that we serve in the hospital in Lorain would have no where to go upon
discharge. Our economy has created obstacles for individuals that are astronomical. People
do fall upon hard times. This shelter brings out the very best in the people in our
community that donate their time, resources and themselves to help those in the most need
in our society. I ask humbly for the approval of this variance to continue the good work.
Joanne Reedy: Good Morning my name is Joanne Reedy and I live at 1427 East Erie Ave.
Lorain. I have been a Lorain resident all of my life. My family has been in business in
Lorain and Lorain County all of our lives for generations. My son is a resident of the
Homeless Shelter. I can fully afford to provide for him. He is 32 years old, however he has
a mental illness. He is not a desirable tenant for anyone’s home. He hears voices. He has to
rip out walls. He has been at Reverend Lou’s shelter since October 2011. He is doing
better than he has done since the mental illness started in his twenties. I think he may be on
the road to seeking help and getting recovery. He has the discipline of being in the shelter
in the evenings and leaving in the morning. He is behaving not able to be destructive. He
has never had an alcohol or a drug problem thank god. He needs the structure in order to
go with his life. So I humbly beg for people like my Joe – that you grant the permanent
variance so that the building may be brought up to code, and people like Joe can get help.
If people just need the shelter for a few weeks when their house burns down or when they
lose their job can get help too. Thank you.
Rocky Ortiz: I am Rocky Ortiz 4120 Mohawk Dr. Lorain, Ohio . I am also a member and
a Deacon at Sacred Heart Parish. Sacred Heart Parish see many of the individuals who are
– they come out of homelessness and we try to help them. Along with many of the other
churches and many of the organizations in this City. St. Joseph’s shelter is the place where
the people can find the resources and the loving care that they need to continue to put their
lives together. So basically I am here to ask for your support for passage of this zoning. I
believe truly that with the permanent facility for the Homeless Community. All of the
organizations that are trying to network with Deacon Lou will have a catalyst to properly
begin aggressively the needs of the Homeless. Please help us and I think we will continue
to develop a better and healthier and safer Lorain. Thank you.
Lenore Novak: My name is Lenore Novak and I live at 8850 Murray Ridge Rd. Elyria. I
was a resident of Lorain for 22 years. I have been a Lorain County resident all of my life. I
am here to help, and I am in support of St. Joseph’s Homeless Shelter for various reasons.
There are two homeless shelters in Lorain. One is the Haven and everyone is aware of that
and there is St. Joseph’s Homeless Shelter. The Haven does not have the capacity to handle
the 50 men and the 16 women and children that St. Joseph Homeless Shelter handles. The
Lorain residents and the businesses cannot handle 50 or 60 homeless people wandering the
streets. In Elyria we do not have a homeless shelter, and I don’t understand why. They
have a Day Care Center for the Homeless to go to, and they also have the Churches that
house some of the homeless. I personally have seen a homeless person sleeping under a
bridge overpass. I have also seen a homeless person sleeping in a lobby. If you do not have
the second homeless shelter in Lorain that is what is going to happen. You need to think of
the residents of Lorain and you need to think of the area businesses. Because I would not
appreciate going to a business in the morning and finding a homeless person sleeping in
the doorway. The Elyria churches help support the homeless in the evening, and my own
personal church in Elyria is in the red. So it is getting worse and worse for the economy. I
work at the Grafton Correctional Institution. I am very aware that there are many people
who do not have a home in the winter, and they do something so that they have 3 meals
and a bed to sleep in at night. I spoke with a guy named Dave last night asking him to
come here today to give his own experiences about being homeless. About 25 years ago he
had an alcohol problem, he lost home, his wife, his children, his business, and he almost
lost his life by drinking and driving. He could not be here today because he has a job, and
he had to be there this morning. I know his situation, and I know at one point they took
him to Harbor Light in Cleveland because there were no homeless shelters here in this area
to handle him. I am aware of what St. Joseph’s homeless helped their clients. They help
with resources, they help them try to get on their feet. Ms. Reedy mentioned about her son.
Some people have other issues, but they will also help them get an apartment.
Rehabilitation, and that is what I am doing over at Grafton Prison is trying to rehabilitate
them. I am a teacher trying to give them new tools and that is what St. Joseph’s homeless
shelter is trying to do to the homeless; help them get new tools, education, resources, an
apartment to live in, jobs. They help them with resumes. They help them with job
applications. I am in support of helping St. Joseph homeless shelter be around so that the
homeless have somewhere to go. I am asking as a Lorain County resident, and interested in
people that are less fortunate than me and everyone in this room. Asking you to grant the
permanent variance for St. Joseph’s homeless shelter. Thank you.
Diane (inaudible): Good Morning I am Diane (inaudible) I live at 131 Sycamore in
Oberlin. The youth group at our Parish in Oberlin Sacred Heart is very involved in helping
the people at St. Joseph’s. They collect money, they buy underwear, they buy socks, they
do chores and jobs to raise the money for these things. They have prepared meals. I know
that other youth groups are involved similarly and I would hope with all my heart that the
adults of our community are as compassionate and caring as these young people. Thank
Mary Zelek: My name is Mary Zelek I have a business on 10th and Reid, and my home is
right next door on 10th St. I am very familiar with the neighborhood, and I know there is
some concern about what the homeless shelter does to the neighborhood, and I can
definitely say that this shelter has improved the neighborhood. It is a good neighbor and it
well kept. In the perfect world we wouldn’t need a homeless shelter or we could pick it up
and drop it someplace that we wouldn’t have to deal with it, but that is certainly not what
Lorain is about. Lorain has a tough economy and I have learned, and I have met a lot of
people that live at the shelter they stop in and some of them are my customers. There are a
lot of reasons that people become homeless, and you know there is no doubt that this
shelter is doing wonderful things on the human level. There is no question about there, but
on a practical level people need a place to sleep, and when it is closed in the summertime I
have had people sleeping in my garage. I have had them sleeping on my picnic table in my
backyard. I have had them sleeping in my parking lot, and I work very late sometimes and
it is a little scary to come out and seeing a stranger. Whether they are harmless or not,
confronting them and I thought about if I was not a getting a good night sleep or not a
comfortable night sleep and not getting a hot meal. I would be not very happy, and not
very pleasant, and then being confronted by people who automatically think that they are
dangerous elevates the situation. It can make them maybe not violent, but scary. When
none of that is necessary. It is just that the shelter is completely supported by the
community, and by the church and by the Catholic Charities, and I wonder what cost it
would be to the City to have to deal with 66 people that aren’t sheltered at night and are
hungry and cold. Even in the summer. This variance would allow the shelter to stay open,
knowing that they are staying open they would be able to spend money to make
improvements and hopefully stay open all day so that at 8 o’clock in the morning we see
an exodus from the shelter to the Catholic Service center on 8th Street. They don’t open
until 9 o’clock so there is an hour where everyone is walking around wondering just
looking for something to do. If the shelter can stay open and stay open year round and
make improvement and stay open all day I think that will certainly be a benefit to the
downtown area. Downtown needs a lot of help, and I think that this shelter staying open
year round and all day would be a great benefit to downtown Lorain.
Reverend Mary Carson: I am the Reverend Mary Carson and I reside at 14523 Lake
Ave. Lakewood, Ohio. However, I am here this morning representing the people of the
Episcopal Church of the Redeemer where I serve as the Pastor at the corner of 7th & Reid. I
want to echo what Ms. Zelek has said about the desire that we wouldn’t need a homeless
shelter here in Lorain, but that is not the reality for the forseeable future. I want to make it
clear that the support for the shelter extends well beyond the Roman Catholic community.
Myself and our church has been providing increased support for St. Joe’s and I personally
want to see it to continue in existing because I as a Pastor with people that are coming to
the door at the Church asking for help need to have the places like St. Joe’s to refer people
to. I am not a social worker; our parish is incredibly generous and is doing more and more
to support the people of the neighborhood especially including the homeless in providing
for their needs. We can’t do it all on our own. I personally need places that I can refer
people to where I know that they will be served in ways that are appropriate, and in ways
that I can’t possibly do on my own or given what limited resources that we have both in
terms of people and in money. So I encourage you to support the shelter and to work with
the good people at Catholic Charities in increasing the services that it offers so that all of
us are uplifted and able to be able to be better citizens to this good city. Thank you.
Lois Pozega: Lois Pozega the Executive Director of Family Promise Homeless in Elyria. I
reside at 4801 Washington Ave. in Lorain. I see first hand everyday that when our shelter
is full we have to turn people away. We do recommend that they go to the Haven Center or
St. Joe’s. So we need St. Joe’s to stay open. We need to be able to refer the people that we
cannot take at our homeless shelter. We need to be able to refer them. Thank you.
Chief Cel Rivera: Cel Rivera Chief of Police City of Lorain. Back in 2010 we took the
position of supporting the St. Joseph’s shelter for a variety of reasons, and nothing has
changed in terms of our opinion. You have heard about how well it is run. I have been
there personally. I have very familiar with St. Joseph’s building; I went to school there,
and I grew up in that neighborhood. Our position hasn’t changed since that time. If you
don’t grant the variance without an alternate site or an alternative you are actually going to
make the consequences of just the opposite of what you would like to have. It is actually
going to detract from the safety of the community. It’s going to impact the safety of the
neighborhood and in particular downtown. There is no doubt from our opinion that a
centralized protected site is better for the city. Where business that they can go at night
time, and have auxiliary police officers there. It’s the police officers in the middle of the
night that have to decide what to do with the homeless. I can tell you that arrest is not an
option for a lot of reasons. Both illegal, and immoral. Where we found them; we used to
find them in alleys, we used to find them in front of businesses, we have found them in our
church lots, we have found them in our school buildings, and all that would do is create
and atmosphere of anxiety and fear. We can tell you that on the other side of the coin; if
you look at from the perspective of the homeless that they also need to be protected
because they become the victims of crime and violence. I can tell you that we had a
homeless person that burned to death on 14th St. We had a homeless person that was killed
in an abandoned at 12th and Lexington. Years ago we had a homeless female victim who
was found sexually assaulted and murdered in the alcove of the old Lorain High School
building. It is not a good situation for anybody. We have them here in City Hall. We have
them at the park across the street. It just creates a lot of anxiety and a lot of fear, and so
what we are asking you is that there is a need. I am very much aware of the concerns about
having it downtown, but we have to find an alternative site or do something else and if we
can’t do that then (inaudible)Support of the community around them. I have been to the
building they have a very dedicated ward. They have private donors. They have churches
from throughout Lorain County that support them on a daily basis in terms of feeding
them. I think they provide a valuable service, and I haven’t seen I don’t think that the City
of Lorain has the financial compacity of the demonstrated interest in providing service to
the homeless. So until you find another answer I really would echo what you have heard
today and ask you to provide this variance. Thank you.
Dennis Flores: My name is Dennis Flores 903 W. 18th St. Lorain, Ohio. We are all aware
of the hunger and homeless problem in our society today. I also went to school at St.
Joseph’s with Cel. I still live in that neighborhood. It’s an anchor in our neighborhood, and
it is very important that we get down to the facts of the matter and meeting. With the Use
of the building and the reason we are here. Being in compliance so I am sure that there
have been (Catholic Charities) has done some upgrades to that building with a Fire Alarm
and I am sure that we can work together with the City and the community as a whole to
remove these hurdles that are in the way of progress of providing this service to our
community. I am here in support of that and I am asking the zoning board to grant the
variance and the conditional use permit. As the discussions go along I am sure that there
are questions about the facility. I think there is someone here from the facilities for
Catholic Charities that can speak on that. So as we consider those options and we can
collaborate with the City and the community as a whole. I am sure that we can come to a
solution that is a win win for both sides. Thank you.
Gerald Evans: My name is Gerald J. Evans 1708 Gulf Rd. in Elyria, Ohio. I am the
C.E.O. and Minister of First Community InnerFaith (inaudible) of Ohio. We provide
services to St. Joseph’s. I am going to tell you a story. There was a gentleman going down
the turnpike he got hit by another car going the wrong way. He did nothing wrong he
ended up brain damaged. He couldn’t find a place to go. His family and friends didn’t want
him. He was disabled. The church kicked him out because he didn’t have any money. He
found a place at St. Joseph. A man that never had done anything to anybody. No one could
help him. But Deacon Lou did. Please help Deacon Lou and staff help people like that.
Dana Sutton: Dana Sutton 3712 Canton Ave. Lorain. I am employed by Catholic
Charities so I know first hand what the need for the shelter is. I work at the women’s
shelter you have females who come off the street sometimes they don’t have shoes on their
feet, underwear, personal things that ladies need. They come in broken for whatever
reason. Sometimes they only come for a night, but when I open that door I extend my hand
out to them – they are kind and they are broken, and I just give them a hug. I let them
know that this is a safe haven that they have a place to just lay down without any
interference. No matter how late they come we can call over to the kitchen and say that this
person is hungry. I would just like to say that a lot of the ladies that come through there
nobody wants to be homeless. There is a misconception and I have heard things as I have
gone along that they are lazy. Who wants to be homeless? Nobody wants to be homeless.
A lot of us, including myself are only one paycheck away from being in this situation and I
thank God that there is a St. Joseph’s shelter there for people to have a place to just get
their thoughts together. Just to get to find out about what their resources. This is my second
season, and I never even knew that there was a homeless problem. I had no idea there was
so many homeless people. I used to work for Horizon Activity Center, and when I got laid
off I found my way instead of working with children now I am working with adults and
children. There are babies that come through there in their mother’s arms. We have a child
room where we have cribs. We have baby food. I would just like to thank all of the
volunteers that come and they bring their families and they serve the ladies at night. The
ladies are so grateful for the outpouring and the community help that we have here in
Lorain County and further from what I am hearing now. So what I am asking is what I am
begging you is please please; we are a stepping stone; we are here to encourage the
residents to be self sufficient. They want to be self sufficient. They just need a little help,
and that is what St. Joseph’s shelter offer them. Thank you so much.
Don Attie: My name is Don Attie and I live at 458 Florida Ave. Lorain, Ohio. I am on the
Executive Board for the Valor Home which is currently on its way. I think that most of all
that we need to address this situation and the misconception on homeless. The homeless
does not mean that you have to live under the bridge or in a tent or anything. If you don’t
have a residence, an address or you are living with a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, whatever
you are considered homeless. With our program trying to help the homeless veterans to get
them off the street to get them back into society. Get some training under their belt, a better
understanding of the community. To get them back out there so that they can be productive
again. Along with the Valor Home also our bylaws community chairman Mr. Dan Gillotti
works endless hours along with Deacon Lou and also with the rest of the staff there. What
makes it so amazing on the program and the help that they give to the people and the
community that there is no city funds, no county funds, no state, no federal, no nothing.
This is people in the community like the people that you see here today that are concerned
on the well being and helping others get back on their feet. With the Valor Home whatever
donations that we take in that may not work there for an example; some of the clothing,
extra food whatever. We are going to work hand in hand on that situation also. So I am
urging the committee here and the rest of you to please consider the situation. I don’t think
there is much to think about really. Other than it’s a hands down that it’s a win win for
everybody. And that we are out there trying to help the people in the community to better
our community. With that I thank you.
Major Robert Seers: Major Robert Seers 124 Ashland Ave. Elyria, Ohio. I am also the
Lorain County Coordinator for the Salvation Army. Being involved with homelessness
myself we have a shelter two years ago. We see the situation where; yes not every person
that goes through becomes a success. Where we in our minds would love to have them be a
success. When we look at the numbers that are successful versus those that don’t make it –
it betters the community. We are thankful that we have a collaboration here. A
collaboration of volunteers, a collaboration of effort between resources both financially
and in kind things. Without that collaboration we would see a multitude of churches and
individuals and even store fronts sheltering people. With the shelter where it is now, and
with the support of the Law Enforcement and all of the Churches we see that you are able
to get these people in one location. The best place for them to find resources because they
have staff members that can help people find the way out of homelessness. Will there
always be homelessness with us? Probably so, but the good thing is that when we
collaborate together like we’ve seen today we are better able to attack the problem and
adjust the problem, and help those that can be have homes again. The resources are there. I
would hate to see everything go back to a multiple of individuals and churches trying to
handle it when its better when we can all work together as we have been. I ask for your
support and we pray together with the churches that this is that this comes through. Thank
you and God bless.
Joanne Eldridge: My name is Joanne Eldridge and I live at 4065 Lake Rd. Sheffield
Lake, Ohio. I am here representing the Library at the Director of the Lorain Public Library
System. I am here advocating with the rest of the community that we keep a viable
homeless shelter in downtown Lorain. Also we have to have something year round and it
needs to be permanent. It doesn’t make sense to me, and it does impact the residents and
the businesses and obviously the Library. So thank you for considering this.
Eddie Edwards: Good Morning I am Eddie Edwards 3571 Clifton Ave. Lorain. I am glad
to see that we had this conversation. I am glad to see that there is much support that there
is out here. We don’t normally (the Council Members) we don’t get these kind of
meetings. I am glad to see that there is a network of people that (inaudible) I am glad to see
that volunteers and other people are coming together to help folks that – it could be anyone
of us only by the grace of God. You need to think about that, but let us share and let us do
what we can to make this a reality. The merchants, the people that live in that area they
have some problems with the people being back and forth. I think we should make this a
year round shelter. I think this would definitely help. I think that if the Administration is
serious about this I think we can make it work. It is just a matter of coming together and I
am sure that Council will do what they can to help make this work. We only have two
shelters; the Haven center is totally different from what we are talking about here. You can
only stay there for an x amount of days and then you are out of there. There is no overnight
and you are only in there for a certain amount of days. These people here; the people that
are under the bridge if you look in the back of Gaylord’s that area in the summertime is
basically home to them. Let us look at it and see if we can do better than this. Lorain
deserves better. People in Lorain deserve better, and we the people of Lorain can do better.
Thank you and God bless you.
Anne Molnar: Anne Molnar Councilwoman. One Christmas Eve my custom is to have a
large dinner with my family and I had so much food leftover so I at about 11o’clock at
night I wrapped up the food and went down to the Haven house. There was a lady standing
out there, and she said that she was waiting for a bus, and I told her that there was not a bus
running tonight. I asked her where she wanted to go, and she said I don’t have any place to
go. She said that she just hoped that she could find some place to lay my head down on the
pillow. So I put her in my car, and I took her to St. Joseph’s shelter it was filled, but they
still managed to find a place for this lady who was from New York City. She was so happy
that they took her in. There are so many stories that could be told about St. Joseph’s center,
and I really – I have no problem believe me; passing this piece of legislation. Thank you.
Mayor Ritenaur: Chase Ritenaur Mayor of Lorain. I want to thank everybody for coming
out today. I want to thank Deacon Lou and Pat Gareau for allowing me to take a tour of the
facility: probably some weeks ago. I am familiar with the issue as it has come before this
Board before in the last year. I am also familiar with some of the issues that I am sure the
Board will be discussing with respect to the location and certain conditions in the building
that might need some tending to. The bottom line the homelessness and the homeless in
our city need somewhere to stay. They need the city’s support and they need a place year
round. When I looked at the proposal as it was to cut off – to have a time line cut off just
based on the seasons of weather to me doesn’t seem right doesn’t seem just. If we are
going to have a homeless shelter it needs to be a year round shelter. I would ask the Board
that of the issues that are outstanding that the Commission make it work, make it so that
the service is uninterrupted. Again I know there are challenges forthcoming with respect to
some issues, but the bottom line is I believe that the Commission can find a way to make
sure that this very, very valuable community resource for our homeless goes on
uninterrupted. Thank you.
Don Attie: I was up here once, but I feel impelled here to make the people understand in
the City hearing and community (inaudible) I think that this should be a no brainer. What
we should be really thinking about is providing another shelter. That is what we should
really be thinking about. Our mission as the Valor Home – we have to look at the bigger
picture and look ahead a little bit. We have got a big influx of Veterans that are going to be
coming home here before too long. With our economy the way it is, and it’s not just here it
is throughout the country we are going to have a real issue on our hands here with the jobs
and no where for people to go and no work.
R. Michael Fowler: Sir, I would please ask for you to keep it to the variance that is at
Don Attie: Okay I understand. Well then my question would be is that we need to think
about another facility. This shouldn’t even have to be discussed. In this kind of depth. It is
obvious, and if we work together all of us. I think we can make it happen with another
Samuel Felton Jr.: Samuel Felton Jr. 335 E. 44th St. Lifelong resident of Lorain, Ohio. I
think it is vital and imparitive; I am sure you have heard all of this before about the zoning
issue and the Catholic Charities. Well I mean in this appalling budget ridden torn up
society that we live in for lack of a better way to express it. Somebody has to step forth and
realize that now is the time for the (inaudible) to do all they can to facilitate so that
somebody has somewhere to go. Aside from sleeping in the store front or sleeping in the
woods. Try to temper your decision making with some type of compassion because there
are a facet of us that are out there that don’t have anywhere to go anywhere to sleep and
they are still worthwhile individuals. They are still God’s children, so try to give them a
break as well.
Steven St. Clair: My name is Steven St. Clair I am currently right now a resident at St.
Joe’s shelter. Over the years since I have became homeless since on and off since 1998. I
have been able to look towards this place. They opened their arms and their doors, and they
have provided me with places to go. With stuff to do. If it wasn’t for them I would
probably living in the woods somewhere, maybe in one of these abandoned houses around
here or I could be dead right now. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have no where to go.
That is all I wanted to say.
R. Michael Fowler: One last time, with that I will close the Public Hearing for the
Conditional Use Variance to allow for a residential social service facility located at 317 W.
15th St. R-2 Zoning Patrick Gareau, applicant. Mr. Klinar would you please do roll call?
Richard Klinar: Mr. Kramer, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Iemma, Chief Brown, Mr. Fowler. (all
Richard Klinar: First item on the agenda B.A. #3-2012 317 W. 15th St. Conditional Use
Variance requested to allow residential social service facility in an R-2 Residential District.
Section 1149.02 Residential social services are not a permitted in an R-2 district. R-2
Patrick Gareau, applicant.
R. Michael Fowler: I would ask Deacon Lou and Mr. Gareau please come to the
microphone because I have a couple of questions to be answered.
Patrick Gareau: I have also asked Shawn Nugent of our facilities company in case there
is a question involving him.
R. Michael Fowler: Thank you gentlemen for being here today, and thank you for your
participation and all that you have done. My first question is related to the Fire Code. If we
grant this variance your building will become or will be part of jurisdiction under the State
Fire Marshall’s office. There are several items that would need to be addressed in order for
your building to be brought up to code if this variance is granted. My biggest concern with
this issue is that if I grant this variance, and the Fire Marshall comes in and he says that
you need to spend a significant amount of money on capital improvements in order to
maintain your shelter. We are doing more harm to the community by granting this and
putting it under their jurisdiction. So my question is; is the Catholic Charities organization
prepared to invest the capital amount necessary to bring this building up to code to meet
the requirement of the State Fire Marshall to be compliant with their requirements?
Patrick Gareau: I don’t think we are aware of what those requirements would be to be
able to answer you know the monetary consideration of that. We are committed to the
shelter, and we can commit to some capital improvement dollars, but the unknown I cannot
R. Michael Fowler: I can speak to several of the items listed. One is the means of egress
from both structures as well as sprinklering the buildings. By changing the Use of these
buildings it becomes a different classification and because it is more like a hotel according
to the State Fire Marshall it would be under his jurisdiction. I can defer to the Fire Chief
Chief Brown: As Mr. Fowler stated, we consulted with the State Fire Marshall along with
my Fire Marshall in anticipation of this meeting. It is very complex in the fact, as operating
as a church as you have done since 1995 the Code allows for a six month shelter for winter
events, weather events to operate the shelter that way. Since you are no longer the church
you become a full fledge shelter, it falls under the State Fire Code. We asked him what that
would result in and he explained to us what we would have to inspect and what we would
have to look at. When the Fire Marshall was there again; he was just there for your
monthly inspection for the conditional use as a temporary basis. I asked him to make a
punch list of the things that the State Fire Marshall conveyed to us that we would have to
look at. As Mr. Fowler stated, if we were to approve this it would fall under his inspections
he would be coming in and he would have to immediately have to site. For Lorain Fire as
well, we would have to site as well if these things were not up to code or the City and quite
honestly the Fire Department (inaudible) would be responsible if there were any casualties
or injuries. It is a very tenuous position I guess.
R. Michael Fowler: So I guess, I don’t, my big issue is that I am very supportive of your
effort. If I grant this variance; you will close, and I truly see that as a disservice to this
community. That is why I am very concerned about this issue, and I don’t know if anyone
has brought this to your attention. This is why in the last few weeks we have been
investigating, and visiting the shelter on Monday.
Shawn Nugent: May I say something real quick? There have been a whole host of kind of
design review, planning type pieces that we have put together. We do have an architect
prior to the denial, and I guess many of those issues got tabled. We didn’t have a clear
direction, to do a feasibility and a true code analysis of the site. It is a tricky site, and we
have discussed things such as sprinklering before there are issues that we talked about
originally. We have got the Fire compartment per se for the first floor, for the basement.
Do we count the space upstairs. We have considered the upgrades to those fire
compartments, the ceiling of the first floor level being a compartment that kicks us under a
5,000 square foot designation that doesn’t trigger all those additional things that you would
be talking about for a full fledged, full on sprinkler system. We have at least looked at
areas of a limited sprinkler system, and have actually priced that into a feasibility analysis,
but again until we have a clear direction of what the code is. We have talked about this
before this has always been a chicken and an egg thing. We don’t know how to perform the
proper feasibility and code analysis with this particular site until we know what those
requirements are going to be based on the designation that you folks say that we have to
comply with. Again we would; safety is an utmost concern, whether that is mandated by
the City of Lorain Building Dept. or not. Obviously, we don’t want to be housing people in
a facility that is not safe so we will do. My job is to coordinate whatever capital
improvements obviously need to happen, but part of that is a feasibility analysis to
determine what those costs are going to be. We have considered accessability issues, we
have considered obviously all of the major life safety issues. Those are considerations that
we have had.
Mr. Patterson: Just in light of what was recently voiced and discovered. I also have
concerns at this point for supporting this variance just because of the consequences. I agree
that it – as the Chief brought up shutting it down has unintended consequences or not
granting this variance. The granting of this variance may do the exact same thing. I may
now be of the opinion at least temporarily table this topic so that we learn what specifically
needs to be done. In terms, it may be working with the Law Department, the Fire
Department, the Fire Marshall, the Building Department what exactly is required. It would
be a horrible thing to grant this variance and the next day have to shut down. I personally
don’t feel comfortable going forward with this with those unintended consequences. I think
that over the course of the next; I am not sure how long it will take, but let’s figure out
what needs to be done, what the costs are, and then you might be able to come back and let
us know. So that we can know the ultimate consequence of that action. I make a motion to
table this topic until those things are situated and you can come to back this board.
R. Michael Fowler: We have a motion on the floor. Proper second?
Ken Kramer: I’ll second.
Patrick Gareau: Just for the record are we to continue under the 30 day permit that we
have been under?
Mr. Patterson: What I was going to suggest is that we meet after this meeting, and
develop a strategy to address for a permanent solution for this facility.
R. Michael Fowler: Which would include. We will have the vote and then I will explain.
All those in favor say aye?
All Board Members: Aye.
R. Michael Fowler: Those opposed? Motion carries. What I would suggest is that if you
three gentlemen could wait and the Fire Chief and I would meet after this meeting to
discuss this very issue so that we can develop a long term strategy to address this. So that
we avoid those unintended consequences that we have just recently discovered.
Richard Klinar: Second item on the agenda, B.A. #6-2012 1149 Oberlin Ave. Use
Variance requested to allow a clothing store Section 1149.02 Retail stores are not
permitted in an R-2 district. R-2 Zoning Abed Ajeel, applicant.
R. Michael Fowler: Any discussion on item B.A. #6-2012? Anyone representing this
Abed Ajeel: My name is Abed Ajeel I live at 1606 W. 24th St. Lorain.
Richard Klinar: Would you like to comment or talk about what you want to do there, and
why you want to do it please.
Abed Ajeel: I bought this building four years, and now I have a tenant interested in getting
a store front to open a clothing store. I am just trying to see if I can get it approved.
R. Michael Fowler: Any questions from the audience?
Dennis Flores: Dennis Flores 903 W. 18th St. The gentleman that was here from the
residential area he got a stomach ache and he had to leave. I spoke with him and he has
provided with those copies of the petition signatures from I think there is 31. There is
Nichole Roody from 1131 Oberlin Ave. and I will quote her comment. “ I live next door to
the proposed site for the clothing store, and I do not want this kind of business next door to
me. Please keep it residential.” I am just hear to echo the sediments of the residents in the
area. I went to the Police Department, and some of the residents there; there are apartments
in the back of the building. If you look at the map; the police report on the drug raid was
not immediately available. Those reports are not made public like you can walk up to the
window and get the police report. Some of the residents expressed concerns that the
current situations that is there now with the apartment; they are suspicious of drug
activities and I am basically here representing the citizens and the residents of that area. I
have received calls, and the gentleman that was here and he provided me with the
signatures. He went around and talked to the neighborhood, and he said that no one refused
to sign this petition. I would like the zoning board to consider the consequences of granting
that variance. I know that a couple blocks away there is Dairy Mart and I know that they
sell clothing there; t-shirts and clothing there, but I don’t know if opening a clothing store
would be conducive to that residential area. I would like the board to consider the
ramifications of granting this variance. Thank you.
R. Michael Fowler: Anyone else wish to speak on the proposed 1149 Oberlin Ave.
variance? Questions from the board?
Chief Brown: Obviously, this is the second time today we are talking about an R-2 district
and my only fear is that this is one of those that has been in the system for maybe 100
years. It’s been a store in; inproperly in an R-2. It’s been a conditional use for all of these
years. The alternative is that it’s going to become more apartments. It would be the only
thing or it would have to be torn down? That would be the only two items if we deny any
store front into a store front.
Richard Klinar: More than likely, they would have to turn it residential or leave it and do
nothing with it.
Chief Brown: Okay. That was my question or more so my comment.
Abed Ajeel: Well if you think that it is not acceptable as a store front then would you
allow me to do an apartment there? Maybe two with a storage space? That would be
R. Michael Fowler: Any other questions from the Board? Richard I apologize I should
have asked before the meeting can you tell me if all of Oberlin Ave. zoned R-2, please?
Richard Klinar: No there are pockets of business up and down Oberlin Ave. There are
some areas and there are some lots that have been rezoned to business. For the most part, I
would say probably 80% of it is residential in that particular area. I would say north of the
tracks. He is an R-2 district which does allow multi-family dwelling chances are he would
need variances to increase that because there are square footage requirements that he
would have to meet. I don’t know if he would meet those per unit. Chances are he would
probably have to get a variance regardless if it’s for the store or to allow for a residential
R. Michael Fowler: Are there any other questions?
Mr. Patterson: Mr. Klinar when was the last time that this facility operated as a store.
You said you bought it about four years ago. When was the last time it operated as a store?
Abed Ajeel: 2008 I opened a Dollar Store, but it did not work out. It shut down the end of
year 2008. I could go either way. I just wanted to use this space because I have a mortgage,
insurance, and taxes, and I am just trying to get some income out of it you know. If you
will allow apartments I will just do that.
Mr. Patterson: Mr. Klinar could you tell me if a variance was granted prior to 2008 to
allow a store to operate in this location?
Richard Klinar: No, it was probably in existence when the zoning code went into effect.
Which would make it a legal non-conforming as long as it was in operation. Once it is
closes for more than a one year period it loses its non-conformity and it must comply with
whatever the zoning is in that district.
Dennis Flores: So it’s outdated? So it’s illegal?
Richard Klinar: It has lost its non-conformity. Without a variance it cannot reopen as a
R. Michael Fowler: Is there a motion to be made?
Ken Kramer: I will make a motion to deny this application. B.A. #6-2012.
Mr. Patterson: I will second that motion.
R. Michael Fowler: A motion has been made, and properly seconded. All those in favor
signify by saying aye.
Kramer, Patterson, Iemma: Aye.
R. Michael Fowler: Those opposed same sign.
Chief Brown: Aye.
R. Michael Fowler: Motion carries.
Richard Klinar: Next item on the agenda, C.U.P. #1-2012 317 W. 15th St. Submission
for conditional use permit to allow for a residential social service facility. R-2 Zoning
Patrick Gareau, applicant.
Mr. Patterson: I will make the motion to put this in abeyance until variance decision has
R. Michael Fowler: Motion has been made. Is there a second?
Ken Kramer: I’ll second.
R. Michael Fowler: Motion has been made and properly seconded. All those in favor
signify by saying aye.
All Board Members: Aye.
R. Michael Fowler: Those opposed same sign. Motion carries. Is there a motion to
Ken Kramer: I so move.
R. Michael Fowler: Is there a second?
Mr. Patterson: Second.
R. Michael Fowler: Motion has been made and properly seconded. All those in favor
signify by saying aye.
Board Members: Aye.
R. Michael Fowler: Meeting adjourned at 10:20.
Chairman of Zoning Board of Appeals
Mayor Ritenauer: I would like to call this meeting the Planning Commission to order at
10:30 a.m. on March 7th , 2012. I ask for the roll to be taken.
Members Present: Mr. Kramer, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Fowler, Mayor Ritenauer.
Richard Klinar: First item on the agenda submission for Planning Commission
recommendation of approval to Lorain City Council for the revision of the final
development plan at the Manors at Morningside on Martins Run. R-PUD Zoning Jeffrey
Keefe, applicant for K. Hovnanian Homes.
Mayor Ritenauer: I ask Mr. Keefe to come to the microphone and give a description of
what you are seeking from the Planning Commission.
Jeff Keefe: My name is Jeff Keefe with K&S Associates 260 Burns Rd. Elyria, Ohio. I
also have John Edison from K. Hovnanian Oster Homes. We are asking to modify the rear
setback on the lots that are listed in the Manors of Morningside. This is to allow for the
additional sun room on the new units that they have recently brought out to meet the new
market. The proposed setback is twenty-five feet which is pretty much the standard
(inaudible) on Morningside Martins Run development.
Mayor Ritenauer: Any questions or comments from the Board on this matter?
Mayor Ritenauer: I have a question. In terms of the setbacks that you are seeking is there
any; the property behind these setbacks – is it vacant? Is it occupied? Will this setback
impact any other residents?
Jeff Keefe: The use that we are looking at are the internal lots in the bullpen. It is only on
the lots that are facing north or south. It doesn’t include the ones that are facing west. So I
believe there are two homes in that area that have already been sold. This would make all
of the rear setbacks uniform basically it would add twelve and a half foot to allow the
depth so that they can add a sunroom in the future. (inaudible)
Mayor Ritenauer: Thank you. Any additional comments or questions from the Board?
Ken Kramer: Would you be infringing on any utilities?
Jeff Keefe: Everything is in the rear of the yard. So it’s all. The setback is in the rear of the
yard. The utilities are already in.
Mayor Ritenauer: Any other comments from the Board?
Mr. Patterson: Mr. Klinar I just have a question. Is the request for all of the lots or?
Richard Klinar: Go to the map. (discussion about plot plan)
Mr. Patterson: I would only mention that I am also (inaudible) variance in the plans if
there were to be a sunroom. If there isn’t a sunroom room there would be no impact. Is that
correct? Is that the reason you need the extra space?
John Edison: No. John Edison 6150 Park Square Dr. The main purposes of K. Hovnanian
Homes is introducing nationally a new line of homes. They are very similar to what we are
building out there. These lots here (inaudible) are the largest sublots available in that
subdivision. We have the Gardens area that is much smaller, but those have the 25 foot
setback. On these lots we chose at the time to put the larger setback on them, but at this
point because of the new product line we need to have a little more depth in the homes. We
are noticing that the prices are coming up a little bit, and we like to make sure that we are
able to sell the maximum product that we can so that the home buyers can certainly
appreciate the area. So the home in general could be larger not necessarily just the
sunroom, but the additional footage helps.
Mayor Ritenauer: Any other comments from the Board? Are there any comments from
Tom Milanich: My name is Tom Milanich and I live at 4702 Hawk Lane in Morningside.
I am on the HOA Board of Directors as well. They had requested a similar variance along
the Meadow Lark Lane which is known as the Gardens not too long ago, and I remember
being here at that time and it was for the variance for the Lot Split as well to accommodate
some of these extensions. Some of the home plans allow for two or four foot extension on
the garage to increase the size of that or the two foot extension on the back of the house to
increase the size of the bedroom or living room, and then of course also they have the
sunrooms or the morning rooms that they offer. There was really no problem along
Meadow Lark it would be nice if they could have kept the 35 foot setbacks to keep a really
nice green space. I think that some of the owner’s along there were hoping that perhaps
they would even from some of the excavations from basements and foundations would
have put some earth through there and landscape it like they did between some of the other
areas such as what is known as the Cottages and the Gardens. I think that a lot of the
residents are seeing the advantage of creating a situation where they can sell the homes that
they are trying to sell. They have been selling homes at a pretty good lately. That is to all
of our advantages in terms of increasing people paying HOA dues over there. So I would
love to see more green space I don’t think that I personally (I don’t want to speak for the
whole community, but I was elected by them) I think from my perspective that this would
be (inaudible) Thank you.
Mayor Ritenauer: Any additional comments from the public?
Paul Tite: Paul Tite 5232 Cardinal Court. You would see me on sublot 8 there on the
diagrams. I don’t abut the properties that they have proposed to change, but I am within
sight of them. There is something in me that likes the idea that that is my little corner of
the world on sublot 8, and that future buyers are going to come in and that is going to be
their little corner of the world. If it increases their enjoyment of that little corner of the
world to be able to have a sunroom or to modify for a push out on the garage by pushing
the rest of the house back a couple of feet to comply with some other regulations I am all
Mayor Ritenauer: Thank you, sir. Any other public comments? At this time I would ask
the Board for a motion.
Ken Kramer: I so move to accept the application for Planning Commission.
R. Michael Fowler: I will second.
Mayor Ritenauer: Okay the motion has been made and properly seconded. I will ask for
the roll call vote.
Richard Klinar: Mr. Kramer, Mr. Fowler, Mayor Ritenauer. Motion has been granted.
Mr. Patterson: Abstained.
Mayor Ritenauer: Motion to adjourn would be proper at this time.
Ken Kramer: I make that motion to adjourn.
Mr. Patterson: Second.
Mayor Ritenauer: Motion has been made and properly seconded. Roll call.
Richard Klinar: Mr. Kramer, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Fowler, Mayor Ritenauer.
Mayor Ritenauer: The Planning Commission meeting of March 7, 2012 was adjourned at
Chairman of Planning Commission