A public hearing is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 for Canal Winchester Village Council to hear an appeal related to the demolition of buildings at a vacant downtown lumber company.

A public hearing is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 for Canal Winchester Village Council to hear an appeal related to the demolition of buildings at a vacant downtown lumber company.

Guernsey Bank is appealing the Landmarks Commission's denial of a request to raze buildings at the old Cellar Lumber site, 45 E. Waterloo St.

Development director Chris Strayer said the request was rejected because the bank had no redevelopment plan and no specific developer who wanted to buy the property.

The bank has owned the 1.1-acre downtown property for more than three years. Bank officials believe demolishing the buildings will make the site more attractive to buyers.

"We believe the site would better lend itself to development if our future buyer could view the entire property without the existing structures in place," Guernsey Bank president Robert Patrella wrote in a Jan. 7 letter to Strayer.

Strayer said Canal Winchester's zoning code requires redevelopment plans when downtown buildings are torn down. Council has the final say on zoning issues, including appeals, in the village.

"They (Guernsey Bank) want to demolish the entire site, including three large buildings and then some covered area," Strayer said this week. "They would want to knock down the buildings, tear up slabs and foundation, reseed it and let it be a grass area."

Moreover, he said any commercial interest seeking to develop the site -- whether it's Guernsey Bank or another entity -- would likely want to knock down all the buildings.

"It would cost significantly more to rehab the buildings and get them up to code," Strayer said.

The Cellar Lumber site has been vacant for around 10 years, he said. After the lumber company closed, the property was unused for several years before becoming a retail paint store. There has been no new tenant or use of the site since the paint store closed.

"It's a key site to downtown," Strayer said. "It's a large vacant site. Anything to get it cleaned up would be good for downtown just for appearance sake."

The downtown commercial vacancy rate in Canal Winchester s "very minimal," Strayer said, adding that the old Cellar Lumber site could add some needed square footage."Anything to get retail or office space downtown would be a positive," he said.

In other news, council held a public hearing and heard the first readings of ordinances Monday related to rezoning two properties on West Waterloo Street.

Beth Bayless wants to rezone her 0.989-acre property at 485 W. Waterloo St. from low density residential (R-3) to neighborhood commercial (NC). Ken Heiberger is seeking to have approximately 1.94 acres at 458-464 W. Waterloo St. rezoned from light manufacturing (LM) to neighborhood commercial.