Zoning issue delays county EMA building
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Construction of a new building for Mahoning County's Emergency Management Agency and hazardous materials response team is already behind schedule, and it hasn't even started yet.
Workers were supposed to start construction last month so the building could be finished by the end of the year. The project has been held up, though, because of a zoning problem.
The building site is on Industrial Road, on the city's West Side, near the county engineer's offices. County officials assumed the land was zoned industrial and suitable for construction of such a building.
But a neighboring property owner informed the county that the property is zoned for residential use.
The county has applied for a zone change through the city, said Gary Kubic, county administrator.
"That's the reason for the delay," Kubic said, noting that no one thought to check the zoning earlier.
The general contractor, Augere Construction Co. of Hudson, has agreed to hold its $370,300 bid price until the zoning issue is resolved, Kubic said.
Concerns: Kubic and Clark Jones, EMA planning and training coordinator, said the neighbors are concerned that having the building in their neighborhood will crank up the noise level, but that's not the case.
"It's not going to be like a firehouse, with sirens going off at all hours of the day and night," Jones said. "We are not going to make a lot of noise."
The building will primarily house the EMA's three-person staff and will hold equipment for the Haz-Mat team, which responds to emergencies involving hazardous materials. When that team is called out, their truck sirens won't be activated until they are away from the building, Kubic said.
"We want people to be encouraged and to accept the facility," he said.
The Haz-Mat team's equipment is currently stored in rented space in Boardman, while the EMA staff works out of the county's South Side Annex on Market Street.