ONTARIO — Ontario City Council discussed multiple topics at its Wednesday meeting, from how the city might spend CARES Act money, to the opening date of the Five Guys franchise to the possible development of townhouses on Ferguson Road.
Mayor Randy Hutchison said the new Five Guys location is set to open Aug. 17.
At large council member Eddie Gallo quipped that the number two question he gets as a council member is “When will Five Guys be opening?”
“The number one question is ‘When will Ontario get a Chick-Fil-A?’”
Paul Getz of Getz Builders shared plans for the construction of 10 townhouse units on a vacant Ferguson Road lot. Getz purchased the lot Wednesday, but will need the city to approve a variance and rezone the lot from commercial to R-3 (high density residential district) in order to complete the project.
Getz described the homes as high-end, urban-style townhouses aimed at young professionals.
“They will be built as zero lot line homes, two story and they will be for rent and for sale,” he said.
Getz said the units would rent for $1,500 a month or sell for $200,000 each. He’s currently planning for six two-bedroom units of approximately 1,500 to 1,600 square feet and four three-bedroom units of approximately 1,800 to 1,900 square feet. Each unit will have separate utilities and its own driveway.
Third ward council member Sherry Branham, who lives on Ferguson Road, asked Getz to consider the neighborhood’s existing residents and the style of surrounding homes during construction.
“That area is starting to look cluttered and congested because there are so many types of properties there,” Branham said. “I would appreciate, for the residents in my ward, something that adds appeal.”
Getz said the townhouses would be less congested than some of the surrounding developments. There would be some open green space behind the homes.
“I’m not really trying to maximize every square foot,” he told council. “I really want to build something that will fit into the area and people will really enjoy.”
Hutchinson agreed to set a special meeting with the planning commission next Wednesday at 5 p.m. so Getz can request the rezoning and variance needed to build the townhouses.
“If we can get all the variances needed, we’d like to break ground this year, have it ready by spring,” Getz said.
Council also approved authorizing the city to use CARES funding distributed through the county. Hutchinson said Ontario will receive approximately $47,000.
Although city governments lost significant tax revenues to COVID-19, CARES Act funding can only be used to pay for necessary expenditures incurred due COVID-19, not to reimburse local lost revenue. According to Hutchinson, the city incurred about $7,000 in eligible expenses, such as thermometers, masks, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
Thus, Hutchinson recommended council approve putting CARES funding towards a small business loan program administered by the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce. The program will provide loans to locally owned small businesses with less than 10 employees.
Hutchinson said he has another meeting with the Chamber to finalize details of the program later this week. Council will vote on how to spend the city’s CARES Act funding at a future meeting.
Jeffrey Wilson, the city’s service and safety director, said that the Ohio Department of Transportation will be doing repair work on Park Avenue West starting Aug. 20. The affected portion of the road will stretch from Home Road to 314. Wilson estimated the project will take at least three weeks to complete.