Heather Beyer
Ohio.com correspondent

STOW: City Council heard the second of three readings of a proposal by auto dealer Ron Marhofer to rezone three residential properties for commercial use during its meeting Thursday.

Marhofer is requesting council approve a text amendment request to allow auto sales and rental in districts zoned as community retail (C-3) or general business (C-4).

The approval will allow Marhofer the ability to expand his dealership located on the corner of Kent and Darrow roads. The expansion would require razing three homes located on Thorndale Avenue.

Attorney Michael Gordon, representing Thorndale Avenue residents Allyson and Doug Burley, objected Thursday to any additional readings of the request.

Gordon said Marhofer's proposal does not follow proper procedure in regards to adhering to the city's Comprehensive Plan. He reiterated statements that he made at previous meetings about the request lacking specific information such as a statement as to how it would benefit the city.

Stow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Doris Stewart said she came to the meeting to speak on behalf of the Board of Directors in support of the legislation.

She said the zoning change would enable this long-time business the opportunity to improve and grow its operation where it has thrived for decades.

"The dealership continues to bring revenue to the city through payroll and property taxes, is a major monetary supporter of community activities and significant projects that improve the quality of life for our residents and is a well respected business in the community,” Stewart said.

Stewart added that she and the Board of Directors recommends that council pass the legislation.

Rachel May Killinger, the youngest daughter of Bud and Terry May who reside on Margaret Avenue, said that even though she no longer resides with her parents, she still has a vested interest in council’s decision.

"For the first 18 years of my life I grew up riding a bike up and down Thorndale Avenue and for the later half of those years I learned to drive sitting in my father's lap up and down Thorndale Avenue," she said.

Killinger said that she didn't come to the meeting to ask council to make a decision on the legislation. She came to ask them to listen.

"Open your hearts tonight and every night moving forward on this very matter because it is about more than just a business decision, it's about a neighborhood.

"The final decision rests with you. I have to believe that you are going to make the right decision because the future of all of these families lies with you."

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in council chambers.