Zoning Exception Sought at Hall China Co. in East Liverpool

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — A special zoning exception is being sought by the owners of Hall China Co. to allow for a recycling operation at the former East End pottery.

During a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 13, members will address a request by petitioner HLC Holdings, Newell, W.Va., current owner of the Anna Street facility.

Hall China last operated as a pottery manufacturer in March 2021. It is currently being used for warehousing, according to documents provided by the city Planning Department.

According to Planning Director Bill Cowan, HLC Holdings applied Dec. 8 for a zoning certificate for “recycling of various commodities.” He denied the request because the property is zoned M-3, General Industrial, which does not include a provision allowing for recycling, he said.

Cowan explained that a special exception is required under the M-3 zoning classification for “junk storage and sales,” which must be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Under city code, a “special exception” means a use which is subject to conditional approval by the board and is not considered a non-conforming use. The code specifies that “junk storage and sales (salvage operation)” means “any lot, land or structure … used primarily for the collection, storage and sale of wastepaper, rags, scrap metal or discarded material or for the collecting, dismantling, storage and salvaging of machinery or vehicles not in operable condition and for the sale of parts thereof.”

In referring the request to the board, Cowan made several recommendations for board members to consider, including construction of an earthen landscaped mound around the perimeter of the property with a height sufficient to provide a screen and buffer for neighboring properties. The mound would be completed within nine months of board approval and with evergreens, trees and other shrubs planted on the earthen mound to be well-maintained, he said.

In addition, the special exception, according to Cowan’s recommendation, would only be approved for a potential buyer of the HLC Holdings property and not continued to a successor without board approval, with any violations of these recommendations causing revocation of the special exception.

The board is composed of five members; Karl Fife, Mario Hernandez, Reese Kelly, Dan Painter and Brian Vaughn, who have the discretion of approving the special exception as requested, approving it with modifications or conditions, denying the special exception with their reasons stated, or other action.

Cowan said he hopes board members will include his proposed recommendations in their motion if they vote for the special exception, however noting, “I’ve been overridden before.”

Notices of the proposed special exception were sent to all property owners within 200 feet of the HLC Holdings property with no feedback to date. Comment from affected property owners is generally heard during the meetings, and Cowan said he has been advised a speaker intends to outline plans for the Hall China property.

City Council does not have to take action on the special exception designation, which can go into effect simply with approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

With plans for the site incomplete, officials from HLC Holdings and a potential buyer/recycler declined to comment at this time.

Pictured: The Hall China Co. in East Liverpool is being eyed as a potential recycling center, and the Board of Zoning Appeals will hear a request Jan. 13 for a special exception that would allow the operation.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.