STEUBENVILLE - The city's Planning and Zoning Commission agreed Monday night to send a positive recommendation to City Council for the rezoning of the former Temple Beth Israel at 300 Lovers Lane that will allow the Tri-State Health Services Inc. to convert the building into a senior citizens center.
Council will vote on the rezoning legislation during next week's regular meeting.
The commission also agreed to amend the use unprovided for request to prohibit the sale of alcohol by any potential future owners of the property.
"There is overwhelming support in the community for a senior citizens center. We met with several area residents and their only concern is to prohibit establishments selling liquor or beer with a permit in the future. We have no problem amending our request to include that prohibition," said attorney Frank Bruzzese, who represented Tri-State Health Services at the commission's public hearing.
"I'm all for the senior citizens center, but I am looking down the road. We oppose any lodges or clubs who may want to move in there with a liquor license," said William Corella, who lives near the facility.
"We like the neighborhood and look forward to the senior citizens center there. We just have concerns about the future and there being a club selling beer there or a filling station," added resident Bob Martin.
Andy Pipo questioned the current condition of Lovers Lane and said there is no speed limit enforcement.
"I'm fine with the senior citizen center. But we have noticed an increase in traffic, particularly large trucks. It's becoming an issue on Lovers Lane and the street is a mess," noted Pipo.
Sanford Berman, president of the former temple, said the senior citizen center, "will be the Jewish legacy to Steubenville.
"I have been president of the temple for so many years that no one else wanted the job. Thank you for putting me out of a job," Berman declared.
Tri-State Health Services purchased the synagogue earlier this year and filed a request to rezone the property from R-1, a low density residential district, to B-2, a community commercial district.
Bruzzese said Tri-State Health Services plans to open the senior citizen center as soon as possible.
In other business Monday night, Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi announced the city will receive $595,549 in 2013 Community Development Block Grant funds.
"That is a 5.1 percent increase from 2012 but still much less than past years," said Petrossi.
Petrossi said the proposed one-year action plan calls for $150,609 to be repaid to the city's recreation fund that provided money for the park and recreational facility security lighting projects.
"We have allotted $119,940 for street improvements and $125,000 for clearance and demolition projects. An additional $25,000 has been set for fair housing activities, $100,000 for code enforcement and a final $100,000 for general management, oversight and coordination," explained Petrossi.
"A copy of the 2013 one-year action plan will be available for public review beginning Friday at the Community Development Office in the City Building and at the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County main library and Schiappa branch library," stated Petrossi.