- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The Crawford County Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend two zoning changes at the former Talon properties in the City of Meadville.

The first proposed change is to make the area between Arch Street and Pine Street, which is currently zoned as B-3 for flexible business, an R-2 zone, a multiple family residential zone. The change was requested by Calamar Enterprises Inc., a company based out of Wheatfield, N.Y., in the hopes of developing that section of property into a senior-living apartment complex.

Calamar is currently working with the county to purchase the former Talon land between Arch and Pine streets for $660,000. With the land, the company hopes to construct a three-story, 128-unit apartment building for independent-living individuals older than 55. The estimated cost for the project is $13 million.

The construction of the complex would require the zoning in the area to be changed from business to residential. This is not an unusual request, given that the surrounding areas are also residential, City Manager Andy Walker said at a previous Meadville City Council meeting.

Calamar hopes that these logistics will be complete with approval by all of the necessary bodies by the end of the year, as groundbreaking may be as early as the spring of 2016, said Jocelyn Bos, director of Calamar’s senior living housing division.

The company is currently in the process of requesting a residential Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA), which would allow full taxing of the property to be delayed. As the site is county-owned, it is not currently being taxed, but the LERTA must first be approved by the county, the city and Crawford Central School District.

The second recommendation was to expand the permitted uses of the area on the other side of Pine Street, adjacent to Cora Clark Park. This land, which was also previous Talon property, is county-owned and currently zoned as an I-2 zone, an institutional medical zoning district. The recommendation would allow this zoning to be expanded to include civic and cultural uses, allowing for the county’s proposed 911 and emergency services building to be constructed at that location.

Money is already set aside for the approximately $2 million building. Located on Pine Street, the building would serve all of Crawford County and more comfortably house the emergency services that have outgrown their current courthouse location, Allen Clark, the county’s director of the emergency management agency, said at a public meeting on July 20.

The land at the former Talon property near Cora Clark Park is also on relatively high ground, making the location a better option, as was also stated during the July 20 meeting.

This building would be approximately 5,300 square feet with a 2,700-square-foot garage to house emergency vehicles. Services housed in the building would include the county 911 dispatch center; emergency management, hazardous materials and Homeland Security operations; geographic information systems and addressing; the coroner’s office and a backup site for the county’s information technology/computer systems. This space would also be the emergency operations center in the event of a manmade or natural disaster.

These recommendations will now go to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which will make its recommendation before bringing the zoning change requests before City Council.

Council must make any final approval of the zoning changes before they are official, according to Gary Johnson, assistant city manager.

Amanda Spadaro can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at [email protected]

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(c)2015 The Meadville Tribune (Meadville, Pa.)

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