ASHLAND — Council has delayed any decisions related to the addition of a “horseshoe” driveway and small parking lot on a property owned by Ashland City School District until preliminary plans are drawn.
Before a driveway and parking lot addition can happen, the property — located on the corner of Oakbrook Drive and Mifflin Avenue — needs to be rezoned to a less restrictive residential zone.
The recommendation drew around 40 nearby residents to council chambers during Tuesday's meeting.
Doug Marrah, Ashland schools’ superintendent, was one of those in attendance. He said the project is needed to make the entry and exit of the district’s Outdoor Learning Center safer for drivers and students. The driveway would be shaped like a horseshoe and the parking lot would only include spaces for up to 10 vehicles.
The material used for the parking lot would not be meant to withstand heavier vehicles, like buses, he said.
The property was donated by Mary Lou Wertman of the Ferguson and Wertman family in 2016. The historical house and land have both been in the family since 1893.
Several residents voiced concerns the property, if rezoned to a less restrictive zone, would lead to unwanted development. Under its current zoning designation, R-L Residential, the only structure permitted to be built there is a single-family house.
The new zoning designation, R-A Residential, would allow for the construction of a school, church, non-profit or a multi-family dwelling.
Marrah said the school district does not have plans to construct a building on the property.
He also said the property can never be sold, because of how Wertman’s gift to the district was written.
Duane Fishpaw, who owns an Oakbrook condominium his daughter lives in, said he hopes the new parking lot’s perimeter can be lined with trees as a buffer.
Marrah said that would be fine.
More concerns, such as speeding along the already busy road, were voiced by others in attendance.
Council President Steve Workman pointed out the speed limit was recently reduced to 25 mph from 35 mph.
Following about 20 minutes of discussion, council agreed to wait on voting on the rezoning request to allow time for the school district and the city’s engineer to finalize preliminary plans for the driveway and parking lot.