The Mahoning County Planning Commission has recommended against rezoning seven parcels on the west side of state Route 46 near Norquest Boulevard from single-family residential to a general-business classification.
The final decision, however, will be up to Austintown officials, whose zoning commission will meet at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 in the township hall.
After Robert Lidle, planning commission chairman, said the rezoning would be inconsistent with the county’s land-use plan, which was last updated in 2006, the commission voted to oppose the zone changes.
Lou Zarlenga, planning- commission member, said he voted against the changes Tuesday because they would be inconsistent with the single-family residential character of the surrounding land.
Darren Crivelli, Austintown zoning inspector, said he expects opposition to the zone-change requests will be voiced at the zoning commission meeting.
The requests were made by four homeowners living within the group of seven parcels, which together total 4.7 acres and are located about six-tenths of a mile from Penn National’s Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, whose casino operations will open Sept. 17.
The racino will have its first horse races Nov. 24.
It will be the seventh racino to open in Ohio.
“With the racetrack coming in and Austintown just keeping on building, I believe, for the long run, that businesses and restaurants will be moving in,” said Chris Morris, of 164 N. Canfield-Niles Road (state Route 46), one of the landowners seeking the zone change.
“It’ll be growth for the community and extra taxes coming in for the community,” he told the planning commission.
With the Interstate 80 and Route 46 interchange being one of the nation’s busiest, Morris predicted growth along Route 46 in Austintown will be similar to that which has occurred along U.S. Route 224 in Poland, Boardman and Canfield.
“I’ll be willing to sell,” Morris said, adding that he has no specific usage plans in mind for his land.
“For speculative purposes, I felt it is due time that I try to move from a residential to a business section,” Manfred Michalski of 166 N. Canfield-Niles Road, another landowner seeking the zone change, told the commission.
Increases in traffic will make the location less desirable for residential use, he said.
“With the noise and everything there and the way the cars are going now, it’s not a family environment. It’s a business environment, and I’m just trying to be proactive,” Michalski said after leaving the meeting.