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Trustees approve zoning changes

MILLERSPORT – Walnut Township Trustees unanimously approved four zoning changes at their May 19 meeting.

The meeting was preceded by four separate public hearings on the proposed changes. The first resolution changed Fairfield Beach zoning (area bounded by Alder Road on the north, Fairfield Beach Road on the south, Rosewood on the east and Shell Beach Road on the west) from Business 2 (B-2) to Recreational Mixed Use (RMU).

Township zoning inspector Kevin Clouse explained that all current businesses in that area would be grandfathered and that designation would go with the property if it was sold. Trustee Chair Bill Yates said the subject arose when a Fairfield Beach resident had problems refinancing her home because it was in a business district.

The second issue was a request by Daniel Zimmerman of 13969 Custers Point Road to change zoning from B-2 to RMU. Clouse said the original request was to tear down two cottages and rebuild them. He said new residential buildings aren’t permitted in a business district. RMU designation will allow the cottages to be rebuilt. “It is a perfect solution to the problem,” he explained. Fairfield County Regional Planning recommended approval of both changes to RMU.

The third issue was township-initiated text changes to the zoning resolution. Text changes included:

• Adding accessory buildings to RMU districts;

• Clarify moveable versus permanent for accessory buildings;

• Removed RV’s from the definition of a dwelling;

• Clarified that setbacks are measured from the roof overhang not the gutters; and

• Tightened the definition of substantially complete.

A shed amendment allows for one larger shed or two sheds not to exceed a total of 320 square feet. “This will help with a lot of non-compliance we already have,” Clouse explained. They must be on a residential conforming lot. A shed used to be limited to a maximum of 160 square feet.

The maximum garage is still 1600 square feet unless it is on a lot of five acres or more when it is limited to 3,200 square feet. I-1 districts will now allow retail businesses.

The final resolution created a Park District that only applies to ODNR’s Brooks, Fairfield Beach and Liebs Island properties. Previously there were no standards for these properties. “We’re trying to get a handle on this,” Clouse said.

The minimum lot size is 80,000 square feet for a building. The minimum frontage is 200 feet, minimum front setback is 50 feet and maximum height is 35 feet. he said. “I don’t think they (ODNR) are planning to that.”

He emphasized that nothing has changed from 1997 on the level of risk. “The pressure on the dam is not a driving failure mode.”

Rizzo believes the estimate of four to five years to fix the dam is right. Doing the work on a design/build basis rather than the typical design/bid/build method could cut one to two years off the four to five year estimate. With design/build, a team is selected up front, negotiating a contract to design and build the project. It is used for highway projects in Ohio.

He doesn’t believe the dam needs to be replaced. The dam needs to be remediated or upgraded to meet current dam criteria. “We need to increase spillway capacity,” Rizzo emphasized. “There are many ways to do this.”

He mentioned that one ODNR engineer present at last Tuesday’s presentation to ODNR and Army Corps via conference call had called his office on Thursday with some follow-up questions. “I hope we have some more discussions with them,” Rizzo added.

He had explained earlier that, “They’ve got to be convinced that it is technically correct.”

The full report should be available next week. Representatives Hayes and Schaffer would like to have Rizzo at a future House Buckeye Lake Caucus meeting. Ryan pledged to make that happen.

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