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Variance for Thorn Township lot splits denied

THORNVILLE- A Thorn Township zoning issue is headed to Perry County Common Pleas Court.

Feb. 22, the Thorn Township Board of Zoning Appeals upheld its decision to deny resident Rick McCance’s family’s request to divide its property because the property does not have proper road frontage, according to Thorn Township zoning. Jan. 11, McCance, representing his mother, Joanne McCance, who owns the property, asked the appeals board to reconsider his family’s request to split 61 acres of land, purchased in 1969- -22 years before zoning existed in Thorn Township, he said–to build houses for family members. The appeals board previously denied the lot splits because the property does not have 300 feet of road frontage per individual lot, as is required by zoning. The current zoning states that there must be at least 300 feet of road frontage and 3.5 acres for each house built, no matter how large the entire lot is. The appeals board’s decision means McCance’s next option is to take the case to county court, which he intends to do.

McCance said he doesn’t understand why the BZA upheld the ruling. “Of all the variances applied for in Thorn Township as far as I know my family’s requests are the only that have been turned down even though they agree that yes, they did tell the McCance family in 2000 that we could continue to receive variances,” he said.

McCance believes the BZA members continue to feel that turning his existing lane into a township road is a reasonable request. “We do not,” he said. “My mother is on a fixed income, but has some savings she was planning on putting into her new house.” She already has spent thousands in legal fees and would still have to build an additional 750-900 feet of new township road connecting to the old lane to meet all the conditions of the Thorn Township zoning resolution, he said.

“I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone,” said McCance. “I findit hard to fathom that an appointed board that is appointed to represent all the township not, just their own individual agendas, can still exist after knowingly telling a family one thing and, when they are called on it, change their minds.”

BZA member Soup Dornan said if the township had the same zoning rules in the past that it does now, McCance wouldn’t have received variances then, either. The ruling was upheld because the BZA reevaluated the situation and reached the same conclusion it did previously. “We’re just going by the (zoning) book and the Ohio Revised Code,” he said.

Dornan said it’s important that access to McCance’s property is maintained by the township. Once all the homes McCance plans for the property are built, he said, there could be “23 to 25” people living there. If the access isn’t properly maintained, emergency vehicles may have trouble reaching those people if there’s a fireor medical emergency. “(McCance) doesn’t want it to be a township road,” said Dornan.

BZA Chair Tim Cotterman could not be reached for comment.

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