Whitehall News

Council gives nod to auto repair shop


Whitehall City Council on Jan. 2 voted 6-0 to approve a special permit for an automotive repair facility at 4257 E. Main St., on the south side of East Main Street just east of South Yearling Road.

Councilwoman Karen Conison was absent.

Council's vote followed a public hearing at which no one from the public spoke for or against the special-permit request.

The applicant, Herbert Block, told council he would operate an automotive repair facility at the site.

The parcel once was a Sinclair gasoline station but most recently had been a repair shop under various ownerships and names. It has been vacant for about two years.

The special permit was issued with several conditions, including a requirement that the owner replace a pole-mounted sign with a monument sign.

Council members also held a public hearing for an ordinance amending the city's zoning code for churches and other places of worship.

Whitehall development director Zachary Woodruff explained that the city is required to make the amendments to comply with federal laws that prohibit undue restrictions on permissible places for churches and places of worship.

The amendment to the zoning code complies with the federal Religions Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The zoning codes were amended to eliminate restrictions in some of the city's zoning districts, Woodruff said.

Churches and places of worship now are permitted special uses in the R-1, or residential, zoning district; LCD, limited commercial district; and OD, office district.

The action removed restrictions, most of which related to the size of places of worship relative to the number of required parking spaces and for seeking special permits in numerous other zoning districts including R-2, R-3 and R-4, all residential districts, and A-1 and A-2, apartment districts.

No other formal action was taken Jan. 2.

Council members read six ordinances by title only. All six ordinances received a second reading and were held over for a third and final reading at the Jan. 15 council meeting.

The battery of ordinances each amended a specific section of the city's codified ordinances renaming various job titles in the city to more accurately describe the duties and responsibilities of the person filling the position, council president Jim Graham said.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Whitehall City Council is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Whitehall City Hall, 360 S. Yearling Road.