Zoning change worries Plain Twp. neighbors PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JAN LARSON Sentinel County Editor   
Thursday, 04 February 2010 10:21
Kuntry Haven property on Rt. 6, the site of neighbor complaints. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
Plain Township officials want the owner of Kuntry Haven Construction to stop violating zoning laws. But to do so and stay in business, the property would need to change to commercial zoning - which does not sit well with neighbors who relish their rural setting.
So Tuesday evening, the Wood County Planning Commission listened to a zoning request from Kuntry Haven owner Jestin Shank, who asked that a portion of the 13-acre parcel on the southside of U.S. 6, between Wingston and Potter roads, be changed from agricultural to commercial. The zoning change would allow him to continue operating his barn construction, landscaping and snow plowing business there.
But after listening to neighbors who are tired of construction equipment being parked in their rural area and who worry about other commercial uses, the county commission voted unanimously to recommend that Plain Township officials deny the zoning request. However, the commission also asked that the township review its zoning resolution to find a way for the business to continue operating without requiring commercial zoning.
Shank's zoning change request came only after the township noted zoning violations in 2008, according to the county prosecutor's office. Plain Township Trustee Gary Cromley said Shank had been given zoning change applications four times.
"Mr. Shank repeatedly assured the township that he would comply with zoning or apply to rezone the property. He did not," stated a letter from the prosecutor's office. The case went to municipal court, and in lieu of a trial, Shank plead no contest to 20 counts of zoning violations.
"We're trying to make the township happy. We're trying to make the neighbors' happy," Shank said to the planning commission.
But while the zoning change would put the business in compliance, it would not make neighbors happy, according to some at Tuesday's meeting.
"None of us bought out there with the intention it would become commercial," said Donna Vatan. "All of my neighbors moved out there with the anticipation that it remain rural."
Don Stichler, of Euler Road, said he was concerned about other uses that would be allowed under the commercial zoning.
"Who knows what could happen with that property," he said.
Glenn Gill, of Wingston Road, asked if there was any way the business could comply with zoning without the change to commercial.
"It's pretty basic, people don't want it to be commercial," he said.
Wood County Planning Commission Director Dave Steiner said Plain Township's commercial zoning classification allows such uses as hotels and convenience stores.
While surrounded by agricultural zoning, Shank pointed out that his is not the only business along that stretch of Route 6.
"There's a gigantic landfill right across the street," he said of the county landfill.
Shank said besides his nine trucks leaving for jobs each morning, his business creates little traffic. Building materials are delivered directly to construction sites.
"Nothing that we do is on site," at the Route 6 location, he said. "That's why it's taken so long for anyone to notice."
If the zoning change is denied, Shank said he will have to halt his business and his 13 employees will be without jobs.
"We cannot afford to move to Perrysburg," he said.
However, planning commission member Pat Fitzgerald suggested that Shank try to comply to zoning laws by renting appropriate space elsewhere for his equipment.
And commission member Dick Kohring said the lack of formal complaints about Shank's zoning violations did not mean that Shank was exempt from following the rules.

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