for sale

The Rural Zoning Commission reviewed a request for change in zoning last Thursday for three parcels of land along both sides of Dille Road near 235, asking that one lot be zoned industrial and the other two be deemed residential. Ultimately, the commission voted to approve zoning the two parcels residential, but denied the request to zone the parcel on the north side of Dille Road at 235 as industrial, reasoning that too many unknown factors exist.

Property owner Art Paradise and his representative Joe Roller requested that the 34-acre lot fronting State Route 235 on the north side of Dille Road be changed from A-1 to I-1S, which would have switched the zoning from agricultural to industrial. The change, if approved, would have made it possible for all manner of commercial and industrial corporations to occupy the site except for the following: auto wrecking, junkyards, sanitary landfills, adult-oriented stores or clubs, jails and correctional facilities, and mineral extraction venues, per the owner’s specific use condition in the zoning request.

The lack of restrictions in the industrial change was worrisome to the Bethel Township Board of Trustees, who discussed the issue in last Tuesday’s meeting, expressing concern for the types of businesses that could move in to the site, as well as traffic concerns. Trustees said that Dille Road is not built for much traffic, saying it is too narrow to accommodate residential and industrial traffic combined, also noting the lack of signals at the intersection with State Route 235 and Bellefontaine Road. The trustees were also concerned about the parcels’ proximity to Park Layne Elementary School, saying that residences and commercial businesses should not be located that close to a school.

Mr. Roller told the RZC that he and Mr. Paradise were too concerned with “self-preservation” to allow any unsavory businesses on the property, saying they were in the business of selling “expensive homes” in their adjacent residential lot. This is why the request for change in zoning from A-1 to I-1S was created, with the “S” condition signifying a specific use clause, in which the owners could list what kinds of businesses they did not want to occupy the site.

Trustee Nancy Brown attended Thursday’s RZC meeting, saying that too many variables still existed in the industrial zoning terms, stressing that because the property owner does not have a definitive list of “end users” for the site, that appropriate road expansions and traffic signals cannot even be considered at this point. Brown said the board recommended that Dille Road be altered to the north, so that it is put in line with the Bellefontaine Road intersection with 235, which has been tentatively included in the site plan. The 27 acres adjacent to the proposed industrial parcel was approved for zoning change from A-1 to R-1, which is classified as single family homes. Across Dille Road from this R-1 parcel is a 26-acre plot that was approved for zoning change from A-1 to R-3, which includes single family homes as well as duplexes.

The property owner would ideally like to connect the 27-acre site to the rest of Park Layne via Cliffside Drive, but may run into some issues concerning the debate over the end of Cliffside being a closed-off street or a “Stub street,” meaning it was left primed for future development. Roller said that a previous “glitch” led to Cliffside being a closed-off street, noting that the parties responsible for the error should pay for the preparations needed to extend the street. Allan Neimayer of Community Development said that the Lutheran church at the end of Cliffside has acquired some additional acreage that would be needed to connect the streets, and that the Pastor has tentatively agreed to some land-swapping to allow the new street to run through his property.

Brown said the issue highlights the need for Bethel Township to have its own zoning commission instead of being dependent on county zoning.  

“We need to look at our own zoning. We need to start taking care of our own future,” she said in Tuesday night’s township meeting.

Brown said that many other townships in the county have their own zoning commissions, which, can determine their own rulings and specifications on matters such as the re-zoning of the Dille Road lots.  She said the issue would require a vote by the public, noting that Bethel Township has not sought its own zoning because of its neighbor Mad River Township’s failed attempt to do so. She said that residents often hold Bethel trustees accountable for issues such as this that are beyond their control, and that the board would have a more proactive role in the matter if the township had its own zoning.  

The industrial zoning issue was placed up for vote by the RZC instead of tabling the issue for further negotiation with the property owner, and the RZC unanimously voted against it, meaning that Paradise and Roller will essentially have to start all over with their request.

The RZC’s decision will now be passed along to the Clark County Commissioners for final approval. Trustee Brown encouraged any Bethel Township residents with input on this issue to call the township to find out when the County Commissioners’ public meeting on Dille Road will be held. The township may be reached at 849-9499.

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