At the January 26, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Township Zoning Commission, the commissioners heard a request from Bethany Horn to rezone 2.518 acres at 968 Bellefontaine from R-1AAA Residential to B-2 Office/Residential for the purposes of establishing a veterinary clinic at that location.

The property sits on the Miami and Clark County line. To the north and east of the property in Clark County, the property is bordered by a business district. To the south, the property is bordered by a residential district. To the west, the property is bordered by an agricultural district.

According to Planning and Zoning Director Marty Caskey, Horn intends to use the existing pole barn on the property for the clinic. Horn is working with the Health Department and the County Engineer to put in a separate water and septic system for the existing structure in addition to insulating and finishing the interior of the barn.

The owner of the neighboring property Frank Rich expressed his concerns about the establishment of a veterinary clinic at that location. He said, “It will be nice to have a veterinarian that close, but I am concerned about barking dogs.”

Caskey reassured him, “Horn is not going to have a kennel. The only dogs that will be there overnight are ones recovering from surgery or for hospitalization. The animals will be inside of a fully insulated building.” He also pointed out that if barking does occur, Bethel Township has a noise ordinance that has been used effectively to address barking dogs in the past.

Board President Lorna Furderer also pointed out that anyone in the township can establish a kennel by obtaining a license from the state.

Frank also expressed his concerns about access to the property and the water that drains onto the property from his property and the farm fields to the west. He did not have any photos of standing water. He also said that there are two wells on the property.

Commission Member Julie Reese added, “The property is pretty small for a business.” She asked if two septic systems could be put on a two-acre parcel.

Caskey noted that the Horn is working with the Health Department and they approved the second septic system. He also added that standing water and the septic systems came under the jurisdiction of the Health Department and were not matters that the Zoning Commission regulated.

The Commissioners recommended the rezoning with the condition that the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) approve a conditional use for the establishment of a veterinary clinic. The BZA will hear the conditional use request on February 23, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

The Bethel Township Trustees will hold a public hearing on the rezoning request at 6:30 p.m. on February 14, 2017 and will vote on the rezoning at their regular meeting at 7:00 p.m. on the same date.

The next meeting of the Zoning Commission is scheduled for February 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Township Meeting Room.

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