PERRYSBURG — Township residents voted Tuesday to return two incumbents to the board of trustees, while at
the same time voting to overturn a couple of controversial zoning decisions that the same candidates
Gary Britten, a local farmer and employee of the Wood County Engineer’s Office, was elected to a second
term with 1,843 (42 percent) of the vote. And board chair Bob Mack, principal with the real estate firm
Signature Associates, was granted a third term with 1,646 ballots (38 percent) of the total ballots
cast. A challenger, James Neu Jr., garnered 849 votes (20 percent) during his second run for a seat on
“We can carry on with our work in process,” Mack said Tuesday evening after all precincts had reported
results. “We’ve got some ambitious goals for the next few years, especially with our work on our
comprehensive plan and the water supply alternatives and attempting to zone the unzoned areas.”
Prior to the election, both candidates pointed to the township’s financial stability despite the sluggish
economy and its detrimental effects on other communities. Specifically, Britten and Mack noted that the
township’s general fund had reached roughly $17 million even after pending spending $5 million cash for
a new emergency services building.
Neu, a volunteer firefighter and union steward at Chrysler Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, had said
he wanted to give residents of the township a stronger voice on the board.
The election also closed the door on about two years of debate surrounding the rezoning of certain
properties south of U.S. 20 in the township.
The 2,316 voters who could cast ballots on the issue opted to throw out the township trustees’ approval
of zoning changes for two properties — the Neiderhouse and DeChristopher parcels, totalling about 180
acres — in the area of Neiderhouse and Thompson roads. Fifty-four percent of residents voted against
rezoning of the Neiderhouse property (41 acres) from Agricultural to an Agricultural and Suburban
Residential District mix. Fifty-five percent of the voters wanted the 100-acre DeChristopher parcel to
remain Agricultural, as opposed to the Suburban Residential District designation approved by the board.
“It’s a lot of hard work over two years, and I’m glad to see that the township residents support their
fellow residents and we need to control development in the township,” said Lynn Hunter, a Neiderhouse
Road resident who helped organize the referendum effort.
The Ohio Supreme Court had ruled at the end of September to keep the Wood County Board of Elections from
placing a referendum on denser residential zoning for the 41-acre Wolf property on the general election
ballot. However, the court’s majority opinion allowed voters to weigh in on the two other rural parcels.
Miller Diversified Holdings, L.L.C., and McCarthy Builders Inc., submitted applications to the board in
2007 to rezone the three parcels to develop single-family residential subdivisions. Hundreds of
residents in the affected area who opposed the rezoning gathered signatures to overturn the board’s
decision. The township and developers had contested the validity and accuracy of language in the
petitions distributed by the residents.
Mack said he had not expected the voters to overturn the board’s rezoning decision, but said “cumbersome”
ballot language may have caused some confusion. He said the board wanted the issue to read, “Should the
decision of the trustees be affirmed.” He acknowledged that development is unlikely in the current
economy but said the threat remains that property owners could voluntarily elect to annex into the city
limits. Conditions tied to the board’s original zoning decision protected the area from annexation by
the neighboring municipalities.
Hunter said residents who signed the petitions understand that development is inevitable but want density
appropriate to the area.
“I think now (the trustees are) aware that we aren’t just going to take whatever they decide,” Hunter
said. “They’re going to have to work with the residents and realize that we do have a say in what goes
on in the township.”