If Cynthia and Steven Mahaney ever move from their Clintonville home, they would like to get their mail forwarded.

As things stand now, that would not be possible.

The Mahaneys discovered a couple of years ago, when a neighbor wanted to sell the lot next door to their house at 18 Glenmont Ave., that both properties were zoned as a private parking district.

"We had no idea when we bought the house," Cynthia Mahaney said. "No one disclosed it to us."

"We were kind of shocked, really," Steven Mahaney said. "Wouldn't you be? You would think someone in the city would have had the foresight to actually check on something before they allowed you to build on it."

The Mahaneys are scheduled to come before the Clintonville Area Commission at the Thursday, Aug. 3, session seeking support for a City Council variance that would allow the property to be used as what it is: a residence.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Clintonville Woman's Club, 3951 N. High St.

"We purchased this property on Nov. 23, 1998, and have been living here as our permanent residence ever since," the couple wrote in their variance application. "The hardship created by the current zoning is twofold. One, if we should move in the future, the U.S. Post Office is not legally permitted to forward our mail. Two, if we should sell this property in the future, we would like the zoning to reflect that this is a residence for ease of sale."

"What alerted me to that was my father-in-law was living in North Carolina and was moving back to Ohio," Cynthia Mahaney said. "Our address was his permanent address."

When he sought to have his mail forwarded in preparation for the move, he was told that would not be possible because it was a business address.

How the Glenmont Avenue site came to have such an unlikely zoning designation involves one of the more peculiar buildings in Columbus history: the cylindrical 15-story Christopher Inn with its 137 pie-shaped rooms.

The Mahaneys learned of the connection from a former longtime resident of the area who dropped by during a yard sale.

"He told us that originally they were going to use this land for, I guess, parking for the Christopher Inn," Cynthia Mahaney said.

The inn, she said, was to have been built on what is now a Fifth Third Bank branch at Glenmont Avenue and North High Street.

Instead the inn was built in 1963 at 300 E. Broad St.

It was torn down 25 years later and currently is the site of the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio.

The council variance to resolve the zoning snafu will cost the Mahaneys $350, Cynthia Mahaney said.

That's a cheaper alternative than a full rezoning, which Clintonville Area Commission member Judy Minister has said can run as much as $2,000.

A U.S. Postal Service supervisor said a council variance would resolve the mail-forwarding issue, Cynthia Mahaney said.

"That's what we're counting on," she said.

"I think the city council should rubber-stamp it," Steven Mahaney said.