At the October 27, 2016 meeting of the Bethel Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA), the board declined a request from Susan K. and Charles Miller to build a second residence on the property at 6365 SR 201.

According to Tom Crotinger of Hunter Modular Homes, the Millers are requesting the conditional use because Susan Miller is aging. She wants to be near her son so he can help with doctor’s appointments and other needs, but wants her own space and does not want to go to a nursing home. The conditional use request is to purchase a modular home and place it the 7.234-acre lot. He said, “The home would be placed on a five block crawl space and is not considered a mobile home. It would have its own septic system.”

Charles Miller added, “When my mom bought the property, she wanted us to move together. The previous owner told us that two homes had been approved for the property.”

The BZA opened the floor to the public for discussion, Gregory Schwieterman, who lives on Studebaker near the property, addressed the BZA. “I am concerned about the proposed change. It is not consistent with the other properties in the area. My wife and I bought the property on Studebaker because we wanted to live in a community with other people who want to live on larger lots. This is opening a Pandora’s Box. “

Richard Longshore, who also lives on Studebaker added, “I was involved in the original division of the farm into smaller plots. Originally, six lots were requested, but were turned down because the lots were too small. Five lots were approved. A covenant was placed on all of the deeds that the properties would be at least five acres and the residences would be a minimum of 2000 square feet. The proposed change that would allow two houses with a shared driveway violates this covenant. The covenant does not expire until January 2018”

Tina Neiswonger agreed, “I don’t want the house. It will bring down my property value. It opens the door for other neighbors to split their lots.”

Miller responded, “According to the deed we have, the property is not part of the covenant. This is going to happen. Why are you making bad neighbors? You should be ashamed of yourselves. This is going to happen.”

Crotinger said, “I can understand the limitation 30 years ago when there was plenty of land. We are running out of land. There are not good building lots available. Shame on you. The covenant expires in one year.”

Because of the at times heated discussion, the BZA denied the requested to build a second residence on the property. Because of the denial, a variance to build a home less than 1500 square feet on the same property became moot and was dismissed.

In addition, the BZA approved a request from David Seale to split the property at 5015 SR 201 back to the original property lines. According to the original deed, the residence on the property occupied a 1.398 parcel zoned R1-AAA Residence. At some point, it was joined with 5.652 acres and zoned A-1 Domestic Agriculture. In addition, Seale requested that the 5.652 acres be joined to the adjacent 5.1-acre parcel he also owns to prevent the 5.652 acres from being landlocked. The BZA approved the request.

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