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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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        The Lake Township trustees have agreed to a request to rezone two parcels covering 2.3 acres along Woodville Road from R-2 residential to B-2 general commercial but included two stipulations.

        Jim Mlynek, who owns Woodville Road Nursery, sought the zoning change. He is using the parcels to temporarily store leaf piles before composting them at his nursery on the other side of Woodville Road.

        The trustees Tuesday voted 2-1 in favor of rezoning the parcels after trustee Ken Gilsdorf proposed modifying the request to stipulate that Mlynek be required to construct an earthen mound at least 4 feet high with trees along the perimeter of the western side of the property that abuts Bailey Road residences. Also, Mlynek would have to agree to not place an access road from Bailey to the parcels.

        Gilsdorf and trustee Jeff Pettit approved the request but Richard Welling voted against.

        After the hearing, Welling said future boards of trustees and the zoning office will still be “saddled” with complaints from residents about odors and drainage issues.

        The trustees’ meeting room was packed with residents – many of them Bailey Road residents opposing the change in zoning. A petition bearing the signatures of about 60 residents against the zoning change was presented to the trustees.

        Jerry Parker, the attorney representing Bailey Road residents, told the trustees it would be inappropriate to have B-2 zoning along a residential area. He said there would be more than 320 feet of commercially-zoned property fronting the residences with the zoning change and he reminded the trustees that the township zoning commission has twice recommended against changing the zoning.

        In addition, the Wood County Planning Commission in December recommended rezoning half of the two parcels to B-2 and leave the other half R-2, he said. The non-binding recommendation called for the half fronting Woodville Road to be rezoned to B-2 and the portion along Bailey Road to remain R-2.

        “Should you ignore the recommendations of the Wood County Planning Commission and your own zoning commission?” Parker said.

         Mlynek’s attorney, Brian Ballenger, told the trustees the county’s recommendation was impractical for the site especially with setback requirements in the zoning code.

        Ballenger said the parcels have been taxed as commercial property since at least 1995.

        “We’re just asking for a fair shake,” Ballenger said, noting there are many businesses along Woodville Road next to residences.

        The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has issued a permit to Mlynek to use the property as a transfer station for the leaves but the township can decide whether or not the owner has met requirements for stormwater controls and buffers, according to an opinion from Phil Dombey, township solicitor.

        Mlynek said he and his son cleaned up the parcels after buying them. At the time, the Wood County auditor’s website listed the parcels as commercial, he said.

        He said he’s been accepting leaves from Lake Township and other communities for years without charging a disposal fee.

        Joe Zemenski, a Bailey Road resident, said the composting process begins while the leaves are still piled on the site, causing odors and other problems

        Ohio law allows for a vote by township residents on the modifications to the zoning request through the referendum process.

       

 

 

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