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Glassworks Still Seeking to Expand Site, Zoning Change Required

Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 12:06 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

IMG_5123CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Miles Brothers have some additional hopes on expanding the $39 million Glassworks Business Park introduced on Friday, June 15, in groundbreaking ceremonies.

(Photo: Ryan Miles)

A lot of expansion of Glassworks depends on changing the zoning from residential to industrial.

Glassworks plans to convert a 28.5-acre Brownfield site formerly housing the Owens-Illinois Glass Plant into a compound with seven building pads ready for development.  One of the “pads” already has a tentative contract for five acres and a possible medical marijuana grow facility.

“The Glassworks Business Park is commercially industrially zoned,” said Ryan Miles before the ceremony last week. “We purchased an additional 30 acres behind the park that was formerly zoned industrial. Sometime close to five years ago that was rezoned residential.”

According to borough officials, the property was rezoned residential in 2011.

“We intend to bring some of that property back into the park,” Miles said. “We would like to rezone that and have it as an option to extend the Terra Works business to the end of that parcel and to add a stormwater detention facility for the park.  The reason is we don’t want to take away from the land that can be developed for stormwater management.  Instead of using three acres here we could use three acres in the back.”

At a public hearing about the proposed zoning change held prior to the June 5 Clarion Borough Council meeting, Ryan Miles also indicated plans to put a garage on the property as well if the rezoning went through indicating not wanting to take up land on the Glassworks property.

“We want to put a garage back there,” Ryan Miles said June 5. “We don’t want to put it on the Glassworks (property). That is intended for jobs. Building a garage on that property takes away from that. Right now, I have a 7,000-square foot garage. It is not big enough, and I can’t petition to put a garage on residential-owned property.”

Miles’ rezoning efforts met residents at both the public hearing and the regular scheduled Clarion Borough Council meeting that followed the public meeting and was tabled by the council without discussion. The matter is likely to be discussed again at the 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10, meeting of Council in the Clarion Free Library’s meeting room.

At the public hearing and the council meeting, Council heard from many in a crowd of about 20 that they have concerns about the rezoning efforts and neighbors in the University Manor were not happy with the impact that could be made on the property between Robinwood Drive and Bond and Gemmell Drives.

“If you give permission, it will impact me and my property value,” said Stephanie Kalinowski, who lives on Bond Drive. She attended both meetings.

“Houses in University Manor (where Bond Drive in located) can cost $300,000.00 to $350,000.00 and up. I don’t want to look at that behind me, and I don’t believe (Ryan Miles who was representing the Miles Brothers) what he says he is going to do. There is nothing on paper. He has free rein. He could do anything with it. It has already impacted the visibility of my backyard when the trees were torn down. It is a field of destruction and disappointment. If he told me that lie, what else is he lying about?”

The “lie” Kalinowski contends is that she was told by the Miles Brothers that when the trees were torn down, a wheat field was going to be planted, something that she contends hasn’t happened yet.

Miles admitted there was some concern about the plan.

“Many residents here feel that it might be troublesome to have businesses back there,” Miles said. “We explained our intentions that the development is clearly here (at the old Glass Plant site), but if I would like to extend Terra Works, the construction company (owned by the Miles brothers), I would like to put it in the back and not on the (Glassworks) property.  That would be more of a warehouse for equipment – this (the Glassworks) is more for manufacturing and distribution – it’s for job creation.”

Proposed OI Rezoning

Ryan Miles said the land was owned by two individuals from New Bethlehem, and Miles Brothers acquired the land from them after it was rezoned.

“When they rezoned it, I believe they intended to extend residential homes in the Troese addition, but they could not get a right of way,” Miles said. “The best-suited right of way was through here.  They came to us and said, hey, we’d like to sell. We were interested in it, and it was a good fit, and so far it’s worked out.”

At the rezoning hearing, some of the criticism of the request was that Miles lacked formal or written plans for the area he was asking to have rezoned.

“In the design plans right now, the road ends on the current industrial park,” Miles said before last week’s ceremony. “The road was designed without the concept of that property being purchased. The road ends in the park as it is. There is no road design or structural engineering work for the continuation. It is purely conceptual.

“It would be pointless for us to spend any money on the design until we can get it zoned for commercial industrial. We haven’t made any efforts, compared to the engineering we’ve done here (Glassworks).”

As far as a zoning change, Clarion Borough Council will make that decision.  Alternatives could also be discussed, ranging from a buffer zone around the upscale housing development to asking for a narrower rezoning.

Miles also called attention to the road improvements needed to the connecting to Glassworks.

“What we applied for was a multi-modal, and we were denied because we didn’t have the park approved at the time,” Miles said. 

“The Borough of Clarion is applying for this multi-modal grant to improve roads on Grand Avenue and improve the infrastructure with that funding. Those roads need improvement, and they haven’t been worked on since the glass plant was in operation. That needs to be done to sustain the business here we intend to put in.”


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