The building supervisor says the facility causes less traffic for the neighborhood now than when it was a hospital.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The owner of Riverside Square is again asking the city to rezone his property.
Legislation was introduced at Wednesday's council meeting that addresses Daniel Cadle's request to rezone the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital at 1400 Tod Ave. N.W. from Residential A to Commercial A.
The Newton Falls man wants more flexibility in renting space to businesses.
The building houses professional offices, a commercial laundry, a moving company, a veterans' clinic and offices for organizations including SCOPE, Belmont Pines and Fairhaven.
The city school district's adult literacy program is also housed in the building rent-free.
Joseph Major owns the laundry and the moving company and runs the building for Cadle.
Adding businesses: Major said there are no specific plans that prompted the zoning request, but noted Cadle wants to increase the number of businesses housed at Riverside.
He said Cadle has no intention of selling it but wants the zone change, for example, to allow a public restaurant instead of a cafeteria for building occupants.
Councilwoman Virginia Bufano, D-1st, said residents in her ward, near Riverside, want to know Cadle's plans Cadle.
She said citizens are worried that commercial businesses would ruin the neighborhood and increase traffic.
A commercial designation would stick if Cadle sold the property, meaning new owners could bring in any kind of business they would want, said Susan Hartman, D-7th.
It would be better if Cadle asked for a variance that would be in place only for as long as he owns the building, she said.
A public hearing is set for June 27.
Earlier request: Bufano said Cadle requested a similar zone change a few years ago for the laundry. A 21/2-year zoning battle ended in 1999 when a ruling from Trumbull County Common Pleas Court allowed the laundry to operate, but not as a coin-operated laundry with walk-in customers.
Council, the planning commission and the board of zoning appeals all denied Cadle's request for those uses.
The city has said it denied that zoning change because of neighbor protests.
The building closed in 1996 when the hospital moved to the former Warren General Hospital building on Eastland Avenue.
Major said the building should be 90 percent full by August.
He noted the issue should not be controversial because Riverside houses reputable businesses, causes less traffic than the hospital and has been remodeled.
Cadle bought the property for $375,000 and has invested about $4 million, Major said.
Council, meanwhile, voted 9-0 to prohibit businesses from offering branding and scarring services. Ron White, D-5th, was absent.