2008-11-29 / News

Trustees make decisions on two zoning map amendments

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN - Licking Township Trustees heard two proposals November 17 to rezone property from residential to commercial.

The first public hearing was on an application submitted by Lawrence Kellenbarger to rezone property at 6080 Jacksontown Road (Ohio 13). Mike Kellenbarger, speaking for his father, said the request covered one 8 acre lot. His father has been operating a construction business at the site for 45 years, he said. "It should have been grandfathered when zoning came in," Kellenbarger told trustees.

Neighbor Natalie Brems opposed the change to commercial zoning. She is concerned about what could be done on the site with commercial zoning. Township zoning inspector Joe Walker also opposed the change. He said there is no other commercial zoning in that area.

Trustee President Joe Hart asked whether commercial property taxes had been paid on the property. They haven't been, but Kellenbarger noted that they hadn't been levied.

The township zoning commission also recommended by a 3-1 vote that trustees turn down the request. The recommendation noted that commercial zoning in that area doesn't follow the comprehensive plan and would be spot zoning. Trustees unanimously agreed to accept the zoning commission's recommendation.

Kellenbarger, who also lives on the site, hopes to sell the property, but believes it will be a difficult sale as residential property due to the number of outbuildings on the property. Trustees told him that its nonconforming use could continue provided that the lapse in commercial activities didn't exceed 24 months and that the new owner operated the same type of business there.

The second public hearing was on an application from Thomas and Linda Hartman to rezone two lots at 4301 National Road (U.S. 40) from residential to commercial. The lots are just east of the Lakewood Schools bus garage. The Hartmans have owned the property for 26 years and operated a dairy equipment business there until 1997. A bottled water business then moved in and operated until 18 months ago. The property is in contract for sale and the Hartmans believed the property was zoned commercial until buyer's bank discovered the residential zoning. Hart asked whether both lots are on the same deed, noting that the building is built across the lot line. Linda Hartman produced a copy of the deed listing both lots. Hart also noted that the Hartmans have paid commercial tax rates on both lots for years.

Walker recommended approval as did the township zoning commission by a 4-0 vote. Commercial zoning in the area is consistent with the comprehensive plan. The Licking County Planning Commission also recommended approval. Trustees unanimously agreed to accept the zoning commission's recommendation for approval.

In other business November 17, Licking Township Fire Company Chief Mike Wilson spoke briefly about the narrow defeat of an additional three mill levy for fire/ EMS services. "We knew it was a rough time," he said. "Everybody (fire company members) is really positive. They are disappointed. But we're continuing to get the job done."

The additional levy would have allowed the fire company to provide 24/7 on-station coverage at its Jacksontown fire station. Wilson wants some time to think about it, before making a recommendation to trustees about going back to voters.

Wilson also recommended that trustees approve the contract to provide fire/EMS services to a portion of Franklin Township. Licking Township made 103 runs in the contract area in 2007 and is at 83 runs so far this year. He expects the run total to be down slightly from 2007, thus there is no reason to increase the payment. Franklin Township pays $19,000 a year and pays for two people on Saturdays and Sundays at the fire company #2 station on Flint Ridge Road in Franklin Township. Those part-timers are available for and do make runs in Licking Township. Trustees unanimously approved the contract.

Wilson said the fire company recently received 25 smoke detectors from State Farm Insurance. The detectors will be given away to anyone who needs a smoke detector. Call the fire company's non-emergency number - 323-0211 - to request a detector.

Wilson also asked trustees to increase the point money for volunteers by $1,000 for a total of $10,000 for 2008. Point money is distributed to volunteers based on points earned during the year.

Trustees also discussed Trustee Joe Cooper's request to adopt a model resolution drafted by the county prosecutor's office to use HB50 to remove junk vehicles. He suggested that trustees only enforce junk vehicle regulations when a complaint is made. Cooper offered to help Walker with the paperwork.

"None of the Licking County townships have done anything with HB50," Walker said. "Let's work on it when I get a complaint."

Cooper wants to get a process in place. He moved to adopt the model resolution on a complaint only basis. A provision that each day is a separate violation was removed. The resolution was approved 2-1 with Hart voting "no".

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