Planning Commission Hears Downtown Update

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Hillsboro’s Planning Commission held their monthly meeting by Zoom on Tuesday, March 16, at 12:30 p.m.; eight members were present.

City Planner Jonathan Weyer gave several reports beginning with the Downtown Building/Vacant Property Update. The Family Services section of the state government will occupy the former McFarlin Medical Clinic Building at the corner of East Wood and Rountree Streets, but Weyer doesn’t expect occupancy until the pandemic crisis eases. He reported no movement on the Corner Block (Sherman’s) Building and that the Vintage Refinery merchandise would soon be moved to behind the record store with perhaps a restaurant coming to their current building.

The former site of Gianna’s Pizza has been rented, and work continues on the Fern Hill Bakery building (formerly Lemo’s Tap) on Courthouse Square. A new gift-type store, Rabbit Hole Chaos, is coming next to the Opera House; and the hotel part of the Red Rooster Inn hopes to be open by fall. Mike Lee, the code enforcer, has been notifying the owners of vacant buildings of their obligation under the Vacant Building Ordinance.

The Future Land Use for the City Committee will meet in city hall today, Thursday, March 18, as organizational work continues; Weyer envisions working groups meeting on the committee as a whole.

The EPA will conclude its work at the Eagle Zinc Site by planting trees in April and May, so he thinks it may be turned over to the city in June. Chairman Tom Gooding asked whom potential developers should contact, and Weyer said the contact person is the city planner as the situation now stands.

Chairman Gooding, under the section called Other Items to  Discuss, said he felt closer attention needs to be paid to the two lakes, mentioning both water quality and structural stability.

He suggested someone address the planning commission about lake concerns at the next meeting; among possibilities are department commissioners or superintendents and members of the natural resources committee.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, April 20, at 12:30 p.m.

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