By Mike Kruzman /

Plans for expanded outdoor storage at a rental business and hardware store in Hamburg Township have been tabled by the Planning Commission.

Owner Andy Ward of Ward’s Construction Rentals and Peter’s Hardware was recently before the Hamburg Township Planning Commission requesting a special use permit and preliminary/final site plan approval for the site. The amendment of the existing special use permit would allow the rental business to add roughly 18,000-square feet of outdoor storage use and an expansion of the outdoor sales area to the hardware store.

Township Planner Scott Pacheco called it a complicated project for many reasons. The site already has a large amount of materials that aren’t on the current plan. While it was originally constructed before many of the ordinances were in place, now that site plan amendment has come, the planning commission could require them to come under compliance, if the requests are deemed reasonable. Pacheco said one consideration, if space is an issue, is to build a barn or find another way to store materials on their 4-acre site.

Another issue was parking on the site. There is said to be a lot of parking in the rear of the structures, but no designated walkway for people to get to the front entrances of the building. One option could be to open up a back entrance, or entrance through an existing greenhouse.

There was also discussion between Ward and planning commissioners about the logistics of a sidewalk through the front of the site, as the path in front of the neighboring Dairy Queen gets very little traffic and has been called a “sidewalk to nowhere.” Zoning Administrator Chris Madigan argued, saying that if they don’t require sidewalks, every developer will come in and argue that it doesn’t make sense at their location. Madigan said a sidewalk network is a patchwork network at first, and if they don’t require them to be put in, it will never happen.

The Planning Commission voted to table the project so that staff could work with the applicant on these and other considerations.