Residents who crowded city council’s meeting Wednesday tried to sway the lawmakers on a controversial zoning issue, which passed to a second reading Wednesday with a 4-3 vote.
Council is deciding whether to change zoning on three parcels of property in the Lake Shore Drive neighborhood from residential to commercial so Struthers Credit Union can erect a building there. The credit union wants to move its operations from its Fifth Street location to state Route 616, where the property is located.
But residents of that neighborhood say traffic is already bad, and they believe a bank building will make it worse. Some pointed out the credit union could have chosen from properties already zoned commercial.
Supporters of the credit union told council it should consider keeping a business that otherwise might be forced out of the city.
City Auditor Tina Morell presented a petition with nearly 600 signatures supporting the move.
Linda Krestel, the credit union’s manager, said the business generates income tax revenue, employs city residents and donates to community and school organizations. She said it might have to leave the city or merge with a bigger credit union if the zone change doesn’t pass.
Neighbor Millie Cwynar said neighbors are not against the credit union, just against where it wants to put its building.
“The traffic on that road is ferocious,” she said. Her husband, Frank, said he was upset by the suggestion that the credit union would leave the city if it couldn’t move to that location.
Mark Brenner, a credit union board member, said the idea wasn’t presented as a threat, but simply as what might have to happen.
The city would put four-way stop signs at Fifth Avenue and Route 616 to help control traffic.
Council plans to vote again on the issue at its Feb. 13 meeting.