The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Morenci zoning appeals board rejects variance request 2009.09.23

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Monday against a variance request regarding property line setbacks.

Property owner Joel Morrison of Addison sought a variance for property he owns at the corner of N. Summit and Wilson streets where a house burned several years ago.

The 51 by 120 foot lot fails to meet the minimum size of 7,500 square feet and the minimum width of 66 feet for residential construction.

The board’s vote will leave the property as a non-conforming lot unsuitable for construction of a house.

Four members of the public spoke against the variance.

Esther Gilbert and her sister, Barb Vallieu—co-owners with their brother of the Hart property north of the lot—both stated that building on the vacant property would not improve the neighborhood.

“I think the lot is way too small,” Gilbert said. “I don’t think anything could be built there that would make the neighborhood look good.”

Vallieu also mentioned a problem at the lot where a portion of the old foundation caved in last summer following a heavy rain.

Michael Miller, who lives south of the property, said he wants to see the community grow, but he questions the ability to build on such a small lot.

Wilson Street resident Steve Clegg also questioned whether a house could be built on such narrow property.

Board member Greg Braun said it would take a shotgun-style house like those in New Orleans, and that wouldn’t conform with the neighborhood.

Morrison told the board he isn’t planning to build on the lot, but he wants to sell it as a buildable lot. He said he was encouraged by an opinion from the late residential zoning administrator Jack Baird who gave a suggestion on how it might work with a variance.

“If it’s deemed unbuildable,” he said, “I guess it’s going to have a ‘for sale’ sign forever. I don’t mean to upset the community, but if it’s not buildable, I guess I just wasted 10 years of footwork.”

Board member Ernie Schultz asked the owners of the Hart property if they were interested in buying the lot and also if they were interest in selling a portion of their lot to make Morrison’s property larger. Gilbert said she wasn’t interested in either proposition.

Braun and Schultz were joined by Al Acuña, Don Merillat and Art Erbskorn in opposing the variance request.

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