2008-05-17 / Editorials & Letters

Writer has questions for trustees on zoning decisions

Editor:

I moved to Walnut Township 19 years ago for clean air, water and land due to a severe case of allergies and chemical sensitivity. Farmers only use chemicals once or twice a year. City dwellers constantly spray their lawns.

Walnut Township's three trustees are farmers. I thought they would support farmland preservation and be good stewards of the land. Don't they understand what a precious jewel we have with the township draining both north and south so we are not going to be impacted by this grand Monsanto experiment to see how much Roundup the soil can withstand before killing all the microorganisms in the soil. Our soil is only subjected to the chemicals our farmers are using.

I left the May 6 special meeting fighting tears about trustees' decision to go against the desires of neighbors in order to cover for zoning inspector Ralph Reeb's mistake. I was amazed at their rationale to cover for his incompetent actions and the willingness of regional planning to go along with it. The Baltimore Community Improvement Corporation made a reasonable request that the rezoning be delayed until zoning regulations are updated. Trustees ignored the request.

Why is Walnut Township's zoning so screwed up? Isn't this Mr. Reeb's responsibility too? Why has he not done this? Mr. Reeb even broke the Sunshine Law by demanding that the Beacon request a public document in writing and setting a 48-hour waiting period. I believe he should be removed from his position. Trustee Sonny Dupler even stated the reason for his support for the rezoning request is to fixMr. Reeb's error. How much more accommodating can you get for one man?

Isn't it the landowner's responsibility that his business comply with the law? Ms. Snook (attorney for the Mocks) made so many outlandish claims that it made my head spin. She claimed I-2 zoning fitsthe character of the Ohio 37/256 area when that area is surrounded on three and a half sides by Rural Residential districts. She also claims that the FairfieldCounty future land use plan is unreasonable in this case because it shows the tract as agricultural preservation, rural residential and preservation of critical resources at a time when some of the property was already zoned I-1. I guess trustees bought this so now we have more mistakes and misstatements than I can track.

Trustees have now created the township's first I-2 district to accommodate one man's greed who purchased a farm two years ago and now plans to bury it with a C & DD landfill.Is this trustees idea of progress?

My assumption that trustees had already made up their minds about the Parrish rezoning was correct. After all, they had already approached him several years ago and again in January. Mr. Parrish talks like he is making a sacrifice by allowing Walnut Township to decide the future use of the land, knowing full well that industrial land is worth more than farm land. His remarks about the inability to get things done when the 'old guard' is outnumbered is misleading. The landowner largely controls what is to be done with his land.

With I-2 zoning, trustees are opening the door to almost any type of business and with I-2 it will be polluting in one way or another. Maybe trustees are hoping for new industry and jobs, but no one will come unless we roll out the red carpet and give abatements and get assistance from the state. This is a competitive world and we cannot complete with what large cities have to offer.

I also have a few questions for our trustees. Why are so many of these meetings held during working hours when many residents are unable to attend and state their concerns? Why are residents limited to three minutes when commenting? Don't you want to hear from your constituents? Are we only worth three minutes? This is unacceptable and undemocratic. Where are you posting zoning notices since you are not using The Beacon anymore? Why and who approached Mr. Parrish? And finally, have any of you been approached by any entity about Mr. Parrish's land? Sally McCrady Walnut Township

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