2008-07-19 / Editorials & Letters

Neighbor details concerns about commercial parking

Editor:

I want to expand and clarify my comments as reported in last week's Beacon story on the July 7 Licking Township Trustees' meeting.

Issue: The issue in question, as I see it, is the commercial use of a vacant property zoned residential. Specifically, it is Captain Woody's use of a vacant field for off-street parking. The field is zoned residential.

Concern #1: This is a land use issue (see definitions below). Land use determination is core to effective zoning. In voicing my concerns, it is not my goal to "get rid" of any existing business. I am trying to work toward creating suitable areas for co-existing land uses within our township of various types which function compatibly, service neighborhood needs, and eliminate adverse conditions for all parties. The noise referred to as a "nuisance" (see definition below) is not the noise from any commercial business activity taking place on it's property. The problem comes from the noise off the commercial premises as a direct result of the commercial business.

Nuisance per Zoning Resolution: "Anything that interferes with the use or enjoyment of property, endangers personal health or safety, or is offensive to the senses...The separation of uses through zoning, e.g., industrial from residential, helps create suitable residential areas free from pollution, noise, congestion, and other characteristics of industrial areas. Also see Performance Standards." (Definition follows.)

Performance Standards: Performance standards regulate various land use activities by setting limits on the amount of smoke, odor, noise, heat, vibration, glare, or similar pollutants that may affect others nearby... Those which might negatively affect adjacent properties, are permitted only in industrial or intensely commercial areas."

Land Use excerpts from the Licking Township Comprehensive Plan (LTCP): "Comprehensive planning and zoning rest primarily on this" (State of Ohio) "police power and the democratic voice and wishes of the community. Police power is the authority to protect and promote the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the public." It "provides a long-range vision" for land use regulations. "Relationships between land uses, such as the use of parkland as a buffer between industrial and residential areas, and general land use issues, such as the appropriate location for a new business, should,...be maintained and followed as described in the plan." pg. 2 Introduction.

"...agricultural land promotes a rural atmosphere. Proposed developments that would be detrimental to any such features should be mitigated in order to minimize their impact." pg. 27.

"…minimize conflict between industrial, commercial, residential, and agricultural land uses." "Recognize that the residents want to preserve the rural character of the township." "Government officials and residents should be constantly considering the use of ... zoning and other avenues that will maintain the rural character of the township." pg. 76.

"The intent is not to control a person's right relative to their land, but to promote the general welfare of the public." pg. 82.

Land Use per OSU Community Development Dept.: "The purposes of zoning are to regulate land use, prevent land-use conflict, and allow growth to occur in a rational manner. More specifically, zoning aims to: use land for its most suitable purpose, protect or maintain property values, promote public health and safety, protect the environment, manage traffic, ... manage aesthetics, provide for more orderly development..." pg. 2.

Concern #2: Any zoning decision has precedent-setting ramifications which could positively/negatively affect our township. Whether it negatively affects me as an individual is not the issue. Alleviating the problem in one location simply to relocate it to another location is not a solution and could be detrimental to future permitted/conditional use allowance.

In deciding any issue, our zoning officials strive to maintain objectivity and consistency. They have worked diligently to maintain, enforce, and adopt new zoning regulations for the improvement of our township and quality of life for all residents.

Following are some portions of our comprehensive plan, zoning resolution, etc., some more relevant than others, which might provide further insight as to the magnitude that this decision could have on future land use in our township.

General Business per Comprehensive Plan: "...A commercial development at any location should be of a comprehensive, compact, and unified nature..." pg. 88

Commercial and Industrial Development per Comprehensive Plan: "Consider commercial development proposals that are compatible with the rural atmosphere of the area." pg. 78.

"Designate areas for commercial development that would be the least harmful to or that would create the least impact on the natural environment."

"Put commercial developments only off of high capacity transportation corridors (such as U.S. 40 or S.R. 13)..." pg. 78.

"Restrict noise, glare, pollution, etc., in commercial areas for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the township." pg. 78

"Require development of adequate water and sewer services to service the site." pg. 78.

"Concentrate on using existing commercial areas, rather than creating new areas." pg. 78.

"If future commercial development is deemed necessary, it should be concentrated on U.S. 40 and S.R. 13 between I-70 and Jacksontown." pg. 88

Local Business per our Comprehensive Plan states that it: "should serve general convenience needs of the immediate surrounding area. Such development should be pedestrian in nature and should enhance a central business district. Parking should be provided in the back of building..." pg. 88.

Buckeye Lake Area Business District per Section 1303 of the Proposed Zoning Amendments: "The purpose of this article is to provide for the land use development and conservation of lakeshore areas of Buckeye Lake within Licking Township, and to preserve and protect the rural character, scenic and aesthetic values and lake water quality…All development along its shoreline should be critically reviewed to assess the detriment that it will cause by its allowance.

"Further, the purpose of the Buckeye Lake Area Business (BLB) District is to provide for mixed use areas where both residential and commercial business can exist in a compatible manner. It is intended that commercial business uses commonly associated with lakeshore areas be located in these zones. Centralized water and sewer facilities are required for the utilization for some or all of the permitted uses listed below…" Denise R. Delagrange Licking Township

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