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Parking amendment will be held for more input

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustee President Joe Hart will make one more effort to get the township zoning commission involved in the commercial parking in residential areas issue.

In August, Hart and Trustee Dave Miller proposed an amendment to the township zoning resolution that would allow offroad parking for special events or business as a conditional permitted use in a residential district. That would set up a case-by-case review where the township board of zoning appeals would decide whether to grant the conditional use permit or not. Trustee Joe Cooper opposed the proposal.

The 2-1 approval of the proposed amendment sent it to the Licking County Planning Commission for its non-binding recommendation. The Commission didn’t recommend approval, but suggested that some conditions be set to guide the board of zoning appeals. No conditions were offered.

The amendment’s next stop was the township zoning commission which must also conduct a public hearing and submit a recommendation to trustees. After its Sept. 24 hearing, the zoning commission recommended that the amendment be rejected.

Trustees were set two weeks ago to conduct the third and final public hearing on the proposed amendment. An advertising snafu with The Advocate forced the trustees to cancel their Oct. 20 public hearing since it had not been timely advertised. The proposed amendment died that night since it was impossible to provide the required public notice and still make a decision within the mandated 30 days.

Hart said then that he was prepared to offer the same amendment that night. “I do have the exact document as originally presented,” Hart told trustees. “I believe property owners at least deserve a hearing.”

Hart expressed some reluctance about sending the same proposal back to the zoning commission. He asked Cooper, who serves as liaison with zoning, if he would ask the zoning commission members if they would objectively try to come up with some suggestions. Cooper agreed.

“My intent hasn’t been to say that someone can park in that field (residential lot used by Capt. Woody’s customers),” Hart explained. “All I’m saying there ought to be a process.”

At Monday night’s meeting, Cooper reported that he had discussed the issue with the zoning commission after its Oct. 29 public hearings. “I want to know if they want to initially write the conditions,” Hart asked. Cooper said he had asked the question in a more general sense, adding that the commission is willing to work together with trustees on the issue. Miller, agreeing with Hart, thought the questions was to be if the commission would work on the conditions. “That isn’t what conveyed,” Cooper said.

“The final decision will be made here,” Hart said. “It doesn’t rest with the zoning commission.”

Hart then suggested that he go to the next zoning commission meeting to explain that trustees would like some suggestions on possible conditions for the zoning board of appeals to consider when they review applications for conditional use permits for parking in residential areas.

“My intent is to have reasonable things to consider,” Hart added. He emphasized that he doesn’t favor a specific solution, but rather wants to create a process to evaluate parking proposals on a case-by-case basis.

Hart also responded at length to a letter from resident Rhonda Carte expressing her frustrations with the parking problems. Miller asked her if she opposed parking overflow cars from Capt. Woody’s on the undeveloped lot. “That’s the only option I know of,” she told Miller.

Bill Ours offered what he termed his “far fetched” solution. He suggested that since The Woods subdivision didn’t secure docks for each lot that the property owners’ association now purchase the Capt. Woody’s property and turn it into a private marina and club.

Hart will meet with the Zoning Commission at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the Licking Township Fire Station 3 on Ohio 13.

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