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Business owner and city officials dispute parking

Posted by wlpo on August 4, 2010

Bianchi’s Pizza is a staple of Ottawa, but the restaurant’s owner is at odds with some city officials.

Bianchi’s owner Al Ruhland sparred with Mayor Bob Eschbach and City Commissioner Dale Baxter at times Tuesday night after both came out against Ruhland wanting to put a parking lot in just to the north of his business.  Eschbach and Baxter accused Ruhland of not wanting to compromise with them.  Ruhland fired back saying “nobody is against the parking lot but you folks”.

The council tabled a decision on the parking lot after Ruhland said he would talk to them about a compromise.  If the council would’ve accepted the planning commission’s suggestion to deny the conditional use permit, Ruhland would have to wait another year to apply for a permit.

Ruhland has waited around six years to turn the vacant, gravel lot into parking.  However as Eschbach and Baxter point out, the zoning ordinance doesn’t allow parking lots up against the downtown blocks of La Salle Street.  They say if Ruhland agrees to lose a parking spot and put in landscaping or a patio as a buffer to La Salle Street, they would approve his plan.

Commissioner Ed Whitney sided with Ruhland accusing the council of working against merchants after referring again to the city cracking down on what signs businesses can have downtown.

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