Before the Bethel Township (Miami) Board of Trustees meeting on January 12, 2016, the trustees held a public hearing on a zoning request from Dennis Swartzbaugh of 8355 Flick Road for a lot split and a rezoning of five acres of the 38.92 at that address. Swartzbaugh requested that the new five-acre lot be rezoned from A-2 General Agriculture to A-1 Domestic Agriculture for agricultural and residential purposes. Both the Miami County Planning Commission and the Bethel Township Zoning Commission heard the case in December and unanimously approved the rezoning.

At the hearing, the public was given the opportunity to comment on the case. There were no objections. However, Swartzbaugh has potential buyers for both lots. He requested that the trustees rule on the case in their regular meeting rather than wait until the next meeting as is the proper procedure. The trustees agreed to add it to the current agenda.

At the regular meeting of the Township Trustees, which followed the hearing, the trustees approved the lot split and rezoning.

Since the January 12, 2016 meeting of the Bethel Township Trustees was the first meeting of the year, the trustees passed several resolutions electing officers and addressing annual organizational items. The trustees approved the election of Gary Biggs, Trustee, as President of the Board for 2016, with Jerome L. Hirt, Trustee, serving as Vice-President.

In addition, the trustees approved the following appointments for board members to serve on state and local boards. These include Hirt as representative to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission with Beth van Haaren, Trustees as alternate; Andy Ehrhart, Township Administrator, as representative to the Technical Advisory Committee of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission; Hirt as representative to the Miami County Council with Biggs serving as alternate; and van Haaren and Biggs as representatives to the Bethel Township Volunteer Fire Fighters’ Dependents Fund.

In addition, the trustees passed a resolution retaining Carter Law LLC as legal counsel to advise and represent the township in annexation and legal matters. They also appointed Polly Turner to serve on the Bethel Township Zoning Commission effect January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020, and Neil Sonnanstine to the Bethel Township Board of Zoning Appeals effective January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2019.

The trustees approved the payment of annual dues of $2,227.78 to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the payment of the annual licensing and support fees of $2,800 for the Geographic Information Software to Digital Data Technologies, Inc.

As specified by the Miami County Debris Management Plan, the trustees designating Bethel Township West Cemetery and Friendship Park as the designated Debris Collection Sites for Bethel Township for temporary storage in case of a FEMA disaster. The trustees named Ehrhart Debris Manager for any disasters.

In regular business, the trustees approved a payment of $22,700 to Access Engineering for design work to date on the Phoneton Water System. In addition, they approved two payments to GJO Distributors and Contractors. A payment of $29, 349.94 was authorized for work to date on the Friendship Park bathroom. An additional payment of $4,072 was made to the company for retainage. Retainage is a portion of the contract price deliberately withheld until the work is complete to assure that contractor has will satisfied its obligations and completed the construction project.

In other business, the trustees approved the selection of OTARMA as the insurance carrier for township liability and property insurance.

Lastly, they approved the trustees and fiscal officer salaries for the year. Hirt and van Haaren will earn $12,346 per year, whereas Biggs will earn $12,964 per year. The salary different resulted from a change in State Law and Biggs recent election. Hirt and van Haaren salaries’ will continue at their current rate until the next election. In addition, Deborah Watson, Fiscal Officer, salary was set at $21,221 annually until April 1, 2016 at which time it will increase to $22,282 when her new term begins.

The Bethel Township Trustees will continue to meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Bethel Township Building.

For the Fire Department, Ehrhart reported that the department made 24 runs between December 19, 2015 and January 8, 2016. Eighteen of the calls were for emergency medical services. In addition, the department responded to one building fire, which turned out to be food on a stove and one swift water rescue when a vehicle attempted to drive through high water on Tipp-Elizabeth. The driver was cited for ignoring the high water signs.

For Planning and Zoning, Jeff Green, Planning and Zoning, reported that no zoning applications were submitted and none were issued. In addition, he announced that the Miami County Planning Commission and the Bethel Township Zoning Commission would hear a case in January requested by Thomas Burrowes at 9885 Palmer to split two acres from 147.73 at that location. In addition to the lot split, Burrowes requested that the smaller lot, if split, be rezoned from A-2 General to R-1AAA Single Family Residential for residential purposes. The County will hear the case on January 19, 2016 and the Bethel Zoning Commission will hear the case on January 28, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Township Meeting Room.

In addition, the Bethel Board of Zoning Appeals will meet on January 28, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. to hear two cases. The first case is a request from Rolling and Sliding Doors of Dayton, located at 8755 SR 201 for a variance to erect a sign within the right of way. The second case, a request from Roger Watercutter of 5775 SR 571 asks for a conditional use for a residence to be located at that address within the floodplain. According to Green, the residence already exists; however, the property has recently changed owners. The new owners must re-request the conditional use.

In Zoning Enforcement, Green issued a citation at 5190 Eastland for junk and debris.

The next regular meeting of the Bethel Township Trustees is scheduled for January 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Township Meeting Room.

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