September 30, 2014

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Lorain Council OKs land sale, may spur 100 new jobs

LORAIN — A land sale approved by City Council at its Monday meeting is expected to create at least 100 new jobs at Camaco, according to Mayor Chase Ritenuaer.

Council approved the sale of 3.46 acres of land west of the plant at 3400 Industrial Park Road. The $103,800 sale will allow for a 40,000-square-foot expansion.

Camaco makes seat backs, seat frames and metal stampings at the 160,000-square-foot plant, according to the company’s website. It employs 215 people in Lorain, and its customers include Ford Motor Co., Lear Corp. and the Woodbridge Foam Corp. Camaco, formerly Lorain County Automotive Systems, formed in 1999. It employs 1,110 people at its four plants nationally.

Ritenauer attributed the expansion to increased demand for Ford F-150 and Ford F-250 pickups and the Chevrolet Cruze. He said the expansion is expected later this year.

All council members present — Councilman Eddie Edwards, D-5th Ward, and Joe Faga, D-7th Ward, were absent — voted for the sale. Councilman Dan Given, D-at large, said he supported the expansion. Nonetheless, Given said after the meeting that the Ritenauer administration should have done more homework on pricing the land before the sale.

The land has a market value of $71,530 and annual taxes are $2,299, according to Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler who referenced the Lorain County auditor’s website. Given said after the meeting he was disappointed when told that the price was the same as similar parcels sold in 2009.

“I would think they would have a scientific analysis with regards to the value of the property versus just saying, ‘something like that sold five years ago,’ ” Given said. “In the future, they better change their thought process because I think it’s flawed.”

In other business

Council voted to change the requirements when point-of-sale inspections and rental inspections are done to avoid property owners having to pay for double inspections. Point-of-sale inspections — interior and exterior inspections designed to reduce blight and property flipping — are done yearly.

Some property owners were concerned about having to have a rental inspection less than a year after a point-of-sale inspection if the property was rented out within that period. Rental inspections, which cover the exterior of properties, are done every three years.

The change will allow point-of-sale inspection certificates to serve as a rental registry certificate until the point-of-sale certificate expires. Councilman Greg Argenti, I-4th Ward, cast the lone no vote.

Argenti said after the meeting that he thought the change created an undue burden on property owners who weren’t selling rentals and he questioned whether the point-of-sale inspections will actually reduce blight.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.