Youngstown zoning board rejects request from thrift store
By David Skolnick
The city’s board of zoning appeals denied a request from a West Side thrift store to increase the size of the outdoor display of items from 10 percent of the building’s front space to 40 percent.
After Tuesday’s decision, Frederick Schulte, owner of Schulte Thrift at 1648 Mahoning Ave., said he would consider filing a lawsuit requiring the city to permit him to have more of his wares outside. He’s currently permitted to display items for sale along 10 percent of the 130-foot frontage of his store under the city’s zoning code, adopted earlier this year by city council.
Schulte wants to have items for sale displayed for 52 feet along the outside of his store’s front. That amount is 40 percent of the store’s frontage.
“I’m disappointed with the decision, but it won’t stop me,” he said. “I will be following up on this.”
There are other stores that use a lot more than 10 percent, and even more than 40 percent, of its outside frontage to display items for sale, said Schulte and his wife, Beth, at Tuesday’s hearing.
“If there are other businesses violating this, we should enforce it,” said Mayor John A. McNally, chairman of the board of zoning appeals. “We need to make sure all businesses are treated equally.”
Businesses can seek variances from the board to the 10-percent frontage limit, and also can file with the zoning office four times a year, up to 30 days for each request, to expand the frontage to 25 percent, said Bill D’Avignon, the city’s community development agency director.
“You’re inhibiting me from displaying my wares,” Schulte said. “I give a couple of people jobs. I try to do good.”
The store sells household items as well as wheelchairs, lawn mowers and baby strollers.
“Many times the stuff out there is what I buy that day,” he said.
Schulte moved the business from across the street to a larger location in May 2013.
Barbara O’Hara of Halls Heights Avenue, who lives near the thrift store, told the board Tuesday: “We appreciate all the businesses we have on Mahoning Avenue, but the stuff on the sidewalk should be limited.”
She also said the store “looks like a garage sale all the time.”