Business Projects On Planning Commission Agenda

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With city hall closed, the Hillsboro Planning Commission met by Zoom Thursday morning, Nov. 19. Chairman Tom Gooding called the meeting to order at 10:35 a.m. In remote attendance were David Powell, Mark Osborn, Barb Hewitt, Michelle Ondrey, Mike Ryan and Don Karban.

Hewitt reminded the group of the reverse parade to be held Saturday evening, Dec. 5, in downtown Hillsboro. Imagine Hillsboro’s Festival Committee is finalizing arrangements for the event; floats will be parked along the street as families drive by to observe them.

Karban said the city’s contact with the Housing Urban Development (HUD) grant had asked for an extension of the town’s grant because of the pandemic; Tom Dunham arranges to bid the work out for contractors and supervises the work. Karban also reported that the requested variances for the Hillsboro Community Development group (HCDC) were granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals so planning work continues on the South Oak/Hickory Street project.

Community Planner Jonathan Weyer was optimistic about filling empty storefronts within the business district. The former site of Gianni’s pizzeria may become a restaurant again; a vintage clothing store may open soon in rooms behind Tres Chic Salon; a dog grooming facility just opened in the former Myers’ Barbershop; an art studio may be in the works; Hardcore Hammers plans to expand to the west side of the Alco Building, and Fern Hill Bakery will open on the Courthouse Square in February or March. In addition, the pet supply company Woofers and Whiskers will locate in the former Jorn Sign Company building on downtown South Main.

Weyer is still hopeful about the Corner Block building on the corner of South Main and Wood Street. He reported that an effort was underway to come to terms with a developer; he anticipates an announcement in January. He also said requests for available storefronts are still coming in. “It’s a good situation for a small town to be in,” he concluded.

Weyer covered two other agenda items. He asked the commission to send a recommendation via motion to the city council concerning a land use plan for the city. That recommendation was passed unanimously. The plan would cover land the city already owns/controls. Weyer said having a land use plan as part of the Strategic Plan will help attract interest in the Eagle Zinc site.

The other item dealt with the Strategic Plan itself; it is available online on the city’s website; a limited number of paper copies are available at city hall. Those who want one should call 532-5566 to arrange for pick up.

The meeting adjourned at 11:12; the next scheduled meeting, probably also by Zoom, will be on Thursday, Dec. 19, at 10:30 a.m.

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