TALLMADGE — A proposed conditional-use permit that would allow an entertainment arcade for adults to open in the city has been rejected by Tallmadge City Council, but an appeal by the applicants is being considered.
The vote was 6-0 Thursday night, with council Member Mary Tricaso (Ward 3) absent.
"We’re evaluating an appeal to the Common Pleas Court," Donald J. Malarcik, the attorney for the applicants, told the Tallmadge Express by phone. Malarcik said he believes his clients are entitled to a variance after reviewing the city’s code and zoning restrictions. The property is in an I-1 industrial district.
The Tallmadge Planning Commission had considered the proposal April 5. Four of its five members had voted to recommend that City Council reject the conditional zoning certificate (CZC); its fifth member, Patrick Larson, was absent that evening. It would have taken a two-thirds majority of Council, or five of seven votes, to overturn the Planning Commission’s recommendation, according to Tallmadge Law Director Megan Raber.
At a meeting earlier this month, Council had accepted the findings handed down by the planning commission, which cited several provisions of the zoning code that the gaming arcade does not comply with and recommended that Council reject the CZC application.
Among the main issues of noncompliance cited by the planning panel in its recommendation are: that the building is within 500 feet of several homes, is not set back at least 50 feet from one side property line and the number of parking spaces do not comply with the zoning code.
The Tallmadge zoning code states, "No such business shall be located on any lot within 500 feet of any residentially-zoned district or any residentially-used lot."
"Even though the building is in a light industrial area, we can’t close our eyes to the noncompliance issues," said planning panelist Julie Oliver when the panel made its recommendation April 5.
Residents who live near the proposed site, 132 Osceola Ave., attended a public hearing April 5 to express their concerns. Many of them told the Planning Commission the proposed arcade would be inappropriate near their residential neighborhood and had the potential to create crime-related problems. Eight people signed a petition stating they "strongly are opposed to any conditional zoning variance being granted" for the proposed amusement arcade.
In pre-vote remarks Thursday, Dominique Porter of Mogadore Road said she was "right behind" the Planning Commission in recommending rejection. Porter said she represented homeowners adjacent to the proposed location and asserted the proposed arcade "does not fit within that area."
Mike Kozlowski, representing the Kozlowski Roofing Co. at 157 Osceola Ave., said his business would be "pleased" with rejection.
"I’m concerned not just about our personal property," Kozlowski said, "but I’m concerned about the community as a whole."
T & T Retail LLC and Tyra Zwick of Canton applied for a conditional use permit to operate an entertainment arcade for adults on the property, which is owned by BGR Warehouse LLC. Malarcik said the proposed establishment would not serve alcohol and adults would be able to play games of skill for a chance to win prizes. There are no amusement arcades currently in operation in Tallmadge, according to the law director. With 30 machines in his plans, Malarcik said he estimated there would be a maximum of 40 or 50 people at the establishment.
Milarcik had told the planning commission the business wants to install about 30 amusement machines authorized by Ohio law and Tallmadge’s zoning regulations.
He said the business would comply with all provisions of Tallmadge’s ordinances, including customer’s ages, lighting, no tint on windows and posting of rules and prizes.
Milarcik also stressed the business would provide security personnel, who would keep a close eye on the interior and exterior of the building.
Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, firstname.lastname@example.org or @EllinWalsh_RPC.