2008-04-12 / Editorials & Letters

Writer says it's time to get business out of residential area


About three years ago, two former Liberty Township trustees - Keith Taylor and Dave Keller - along with recently reelected trustee Ivan Ety approved the rezoning of a piece of property on Heimberger Road to B- 2 commercial. This was after the FairfieldCounty Regional Planning Commission recommended the rezoning would be inappropriate for the area and many neighbors voiced their opposition. The property is located in the middle of a rural residential area surrounded by nice homes.

It is my understanding the above three trustees are the same elected officials that approved and promoted expanding the Violet Township and Pickerington type of high density development into Liberty Township. It is also an understanding that these are the same three that approved and promoted the placement of an electric power plant within Liberty Township.

For those not familiar with the business, the operation includes in excess of 20 employees during peak season, large dump trucks, multiple bulldozers, 18 wheeler trucks coming and going hauling in 40 foot long logs, a machine that shreds these imported logs into mulch, chain saws, cars and trucks for each of the employees and a long list of other supporting equipment. The two former trustees, the current reelected trustee and the former building inspector all approved this business for operation in the middle of a rural residential area after they closed down a home based photography business! I guess they expected a camera would be more of a nuisance than bulldozers, chainsaws, and machines capable of shredding 40 foot long logs!

For those not familiar with B-2 type zoning, such zoning allows a property owner to operate almost any kind of business without restriction. According to the township zoning resolution, B-2 zoning is intended for creation of "business clusters" in vicinity of "major streets and highways," not in the middle of rural residential areas! B-2 zoning allows the property to be used for restaurants, bars and night clubs, retail stores, gas stations, car washes and worse. A current owner or future owner would be allowed to operate any of these kinds of businesses without regards to the effect on adjacent homeowners. Ask yourself if you would like to have such businesses next door and what would such a business do to your property value!

The attempt to rezone the Heimberger Road property commercial was challenged by township residents by placing the issue on the spring 2006 ballot. Two out of three voted in support of local homeowners to not approve the property to be rezoned commercial.

When the B-2 rezoning was being challenged in 2006 many were given the impression by the owner the business would be moved to an appropriate area within 6 months. A year later the business was still operating and the township Board of Zoning Appeals finally voted unanimously that the business was inappropriate for the rural residential area. The owner immediately appealed the decision and the business continues today.

On March 27, 2008, the business owner dropped the appeal and still the business continues to operate illegally. The business owner has had over two and a half years to move the business as promised. It is way past time to move the business out of the rural residential area and to a properly zoned commercial area.

Liberty Township needs to accommodate home based businesses which are not disruptive to neighbors while limiting illegal and high noise business operations such as those involving heavy trucks, bull dozers, associated excessive traffic and noise and unsightly materials. It is the moral responsibility of the township to protect residents by enforcing zoning and zoning enforcement should not be a financial burden to or the responsibility of residents.

I truly wish those associated with Hydromaster success in moving the business and a prosperous future. Ron D. Galliher, P.E. Liberty Township

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