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Licking Township rejects zoning change for Dollar General

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustees unanimously accepted recommendations from both the Licking Township Zoning Commission and the Licking County Planning Commission to deny a zoning change to allow retail sales in areas of the township zoned for industrial use.

Trustees’ decision stopped plans to construct a Dollar General store one lot north of the GolfWorks facility on Ohio 13.

Monday night, several residents expressed concern with about approving a zoning change that affects the entire township. Trustees agreed. “This is a tricky recommendation,” said Trustee President Joe Hart. He said people have sincerely expressed concerns about a request to open up 900 acres of industrial zoned property to retail.

Township zoning inspector Forrest Cooperrider said there is currently no property zoned for retail use in Licking Township.

Trustee Dave Miller said the Licking County Planning Commission recommended denying the request because it did not conform with the township’s 2002 comprehensive plan. He said if the request were approved, anyone could build retail on any property zoned for industrial use. “You open up a can of worms,” he said.

In a letter to the trustees, Licking Township Planning Commission members said retail sales may not be appropriate in all parcels zoned for industrial use. Retail sales may be more appropriate for a general business district since those areas may be more conducive to retail sales establishments.

Trustee John Holman said he believed there is actually 1,025 acres zoned industrial in Licking Township. Most are currently used for agriculture. “This decision has a far reaching impact on the township,” he said. Holman said he was involved with the decision to pull retail uses out of industrial zoning. “It doesn’t make sense to put it back in tonight,” he said.

Miller said the trustees’ vote may have confused some people. He said all three trustees voted “yes” to uphold the zoning commission’s recommendation to deny the zoning change. The trustees did not vote in favor of the zoning change or allowing construction of the proposed Dollar General.

Trustees have changed the time for their next regular meeting. It will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 20, at the Licking Township Fire Station #3, 9384 Jacksontown Road (Ohio 13).

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