Hospital zoning classification

The three Memorial Health System campuses that lie within the city of Marietta are expected to be approved for new “H/M” or hospital/medical zoning by the end of this year, according to the chairman of city council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee Tuesday.

Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, said MMH attorney Brad Payne, who helped the health system lobby council for creation of the new H/M zone last year, is now working to have the system’s Marietta Memorial Hospital, Selby General Hospital and Wayne Street medical campuses approved for H/M zoning.

Currently the Marietta Memorial and Selby General hospital campuses are located in residential-zoned areas where city code requires property owners to seek a zoning variance from city council before they can obtain a building permit for various construction projects. The H/M zoning eliminates that requirement.

The Wayne Street campus would also be included in the new zoning, although it is currently located in a commercially-zoned location.

“We set up the hospital zoning last year, now the hospital system wants to bring their campuses into that zone,” Kalter said. “But the health system first needs to provide a proper outline of the main (Memorial) campus.”

He said the Selby and Wayne campuses are newer and their property boundaries are fairly well delineated, but the Memorial campus is more spread out and an accurate map of that property’s boundaries has to be determined before the application for H/M zoning can be granted by council.

“I think we can do that legislation by the end of this year,” Kalter said, noting that the requested zoning measure would likely be ready for introduction to council in early September, and would go through three readings and a public hearing before formal adoption.

In other business Tuesday, council’s finance and audit committee heard a report from city development director Andy Coleman on the current status of 2012-2013 grants that were applied for through the development department.

Among that funding was a Transportation Enhancement Grant application to the Ohio Department of Transportation for the next phase of the city’s River Trail project. That request for $871,166, submitted by the city engineering department, was denied by ODOT.

Because that grant was not approved, the city has asked that two other grant applications be withdrawn, including a $150,000 Recreational Trails grant and $250,000 Clean Ohio Trails grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“The denial of the ODOT grant rendered those two grants useless for the next phase of the River Trail project,” Coleman explained.

He added that no grant money had to be returned because the ODNR grants had not been approved.

“Neither of those grants had been awarded yet, although we were told our applications received a high score,” Coleman said. “We’ve just requested that ODNR withdraw our applications from this grant cycle and place them in the next cycle (for 2015).”

He also noted that the city’s 2013 Community Development Block Grant for $345,743 had finally been received on Tuesday.

The CDBG monies, received annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, help support various projects in the city’s CDBG-qualified districts.