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March 4, 2013

Harrison Township Zoning Commission Meeting Minutes

March 4, 2013

The Harrison Twp. Zoning Commission hearing on Brian Bell’s proposal to rezone property located at 12375 Bulen Pierce Road, Lockbourne, Ohio 43137 from the current Farm Residential District (FR) to Planned Business District (PB) was called to order by Chair Kelly Spriggs at 7:00 P.M.  Present were Dorothy Green, Ronde Cook-Brushart, Kelly Spriggs, Jim Wells, Trevor Younkin, Joe DeFelice and Carol Balthaser.

Others in attendance: Barry McConnell, Chad Cunningham, Deborah Crolla, Donna Collier, Shirley Tompkins, Jud and Michelle Hines, Steve Scott, Robert Thompson, Allen and Valerie Green, Tara Rickards, Heather Ward, Cindy Bell and Brian and Stephanie Bell.

Kelly reminded those present to please turn off their cell phones or set to vibrate, identify themselves when requesting to speak and to speak clearly when recognized for recording purposes.  At this time, the guidelines for the hearing were read by Carol.  After the guidelines were read, Kelly reminded those present that the Zoning Commission only makes a recommendation to the Trustees, not the final decision.

Kelly asked Brian Bell to give a brief overview of his application.  Brian stated that he was requesting to rezone 12375 Bulen Pierce Road, Lockbourne, Ohio 43137 from Farm Residential (FR) to Planned Business (PB) to accommodate his business, Gutters Unlimited of Central Ohio, Inc.  He stated that his company was a small business with a few trucks entering and exiting the property.  Approximate number of trucks would be between two (2) and five (5) in the morning and afternoon.  Four of his crew leaders are allowed to drive the trucks home and may also stop by in the mornings to pick up a work order.

At this time Kelly asked for any proponents to speak for the application.  No one responded.

At this time Kelly read the letter received from the Pickaway County Planning Commission regarding Brian Bell’s rezoning application.  The Commission met February 12 to review the application.  County Commissioner Jay Whippel called the meeting to order.  Those present were Commissioners:  Harold Henson, Jay Whippel, Brian Stewart; Planning Commission Members:  Franklin Christman, Jack Corder, Fred Kennedy, Jerry Hines, Stacey Sark and Randy Metzger.  Quorum was present.  The Planning Commission recommends to approve Brian Bell’s application with the following modifications:  Tract D12-0-002-00-192-14 be rezoned with the condition that if there is a change in ownership to the tract that the zoning revert back to the Farm Residential District (FR); lighting must be at the thirty (30) degree maximum above horizontal and maximum twenty (20) foot light spillage requirement.  All conditions of use proposed by Brian Bell will be a condition of approval with modifications also.  After discussion of the application, a motion was offered by Stacey Sark and seconded by Randy Metzger to recommend approval with modification of the rezoning application.  All members voted in support of the motion.

At this time Kelly asked for any opponents to speak. 

Shirley Tompkins asked what the letter from the Pickaway Planning Commission meant and what the purpose of tonight’s hearing was if the Planning Commission granted their approval of the rezoning application.  Kelly responded that the Pickaway Planning Commission makes a recommendation to the Township Trustees just as the Township Zoning Commission makes a recommendation to the Trustees.  The Harrison Township Zoning Commission may or may not abide by the Pickaway County Planning Commission’s decision, but the Zoning Commission does take the Planning Commission’s decision into consideration when they review the application.

Donna Collier asked why the adjacent landowners were not invited to the Pickaway Planning Commission’s meeting.  She inquired as to whether the adjacent landowners were allowed to address the Pickaway Planning Commission also.  Joe responded that per the Ohio Revised Code notifications of the meeting for the public are required to be sent out for the township hearing, but are not required for the planning commission’s meeting.  This is the Ohio Sunshine Law and the only notifications required under that law are for the township zoning commission meeting and the township trustee meeting.

Barry McConnell inquired as to whether the previous application submitted by Brian Bell was denied for commercial business.  Kelly responded that the previous application submitted by Brian Bell was recommended for denial by the Zoning Commission to the Trustees.  The previous application was withdrawn by Brian without being heard by the

Township Trustees.  Brian resubmitted the zoning application to Planned Business (PB) which required more detail to the property along with Brian’s intended use.  Barry McConnell stated that this property as he understood it would not be a commercial property and therefore would not be an opportunity as far as the Zoning Commission is concerned.  Kelly replied that that statement is correct with the current zoning application filed by Brian Bell.  Barry McConnell also stated that he felt the plan to revert back to Farm Residential (FR) upon the transfer of property to another owner, would be ridiculous after Brian invested a large sum of money in the property.  Kelly responded that basically what happens is that the stated plan is Brian Bell’s plan.  If he sells the property and moves his business, then there is no plan for that business at 12375 Bulen Pierce Road.  Barry McConnell inquired as to whether Brian is responsible to tear up any blacktop that is laid down.  Kelly responded no and if another business came in, it would have to go thru the process to rezone or put a new planned business in.  Barry McConnell inquired as to whether there were others that had come before the Zoning Commission to request the opportunity for commercial development in this general vicinity.  Kelly replied yes.  Barry McConnell asked if all those requests have been turned down.  Kelly replied no.  Barry McConnell asked if those requests were in the works or if they had already been established.  Kelly replied that they are already established.  Kelly sited Paul Pence as a Planned Business.  Barry McConnell stated that Planned Business was totally different than a commercial business, and his property values had dropped in the past when a commercial business was established nearby.  Kelly responded that the reason for the hearing was to discuss Planned Business not Commercial.  Barry McConnell asked how long Paul Pence’s business had been established and Joe responded since 2008.  Barry McConnell inquired as to whether that was the only business and Joe responded that Anthony Jones also had an established business.  Joe also responded that both of Pence’s and Jones’ businesses were General Business not Planned Business.  Joe stated that there are three Planned Businesses in the township which are on the corner of State Route 23 and Duvall Road.

Tara Rickards stated that she was opposed to the rezoning application.  She has young children that play in the woods throughout the day.  There are workers that are going in and out of the business during the day.  Her key concern is the safety of her children.  She stated that she had seen people entering and leaving the property between the hours of 6:30 A.M. and 8:00 P.M., and their comings and goings are less than fifty (50) feet from her property line.  She is concerned whether background checks have been done on those entering and exiting the property as well as sexual predators, the character of the surrounding area, natural resources and the economic viability of her lot as well as the surrounding area.  She stated that all the adjacent residences had restrictions on their lots that they were required to abide by.  Kelly interjected that previous lot restrictions are considered private covenants, and the Zoning Board is not allowed to consider them when making their decision.  Kelly stated that the adjacent landowners could get together as an association and take it to court if that was their desire.

Kelly asked Brian about his plans for the woods on the property.  Brian stated that he will not be in the woods.  There is currently a lane that goes through the woods to the barn and his plans are to take the lane straight back which would be outside the woods.  He stated that he didn’t do background checks on his employees and that the ten (10) employees that work for him have been with him for five (5) plus years.  He also stated that they are not all local people.

Heather Ward stated that she is against the rezoning as she feels it will affect her property values.  She feels that if she were to sell her home, she would have to reduce the price of her property because there is a business located behind it.

Valerie Green stated that her concern was there was no mention of a home being built at 12375 Bulen Pierce.  She said that her deed stated when she purchased the property that she was required to build a home within one year of purchase.  Again, Kelly reminded her this was a private covenant and was not pertinent to the hearing.  Valerie Green continued that she is concerned about the safety of her grandchildren especially with no background checks on people coming in.  She would like someone to be there with a family and a home, not a business.

Jud Hines stated that he was opposed to the rezoning since it was a business.  He realizes that deed restrictions cannot be part of the discussion, but everyone purchased their land with the same expectations of it being Farm Residential.  He feels that rezoning to a Planned Business would decrease the value of their homes.  He feels with the Intermodal being so close that the rezoning to a Planned Business would increase the opportunity for possibly more businesses coming to that area.  Jud Hines posed the question that if this rezoning should go through, what are the implications of possibly building a home on the Planned Business land.  What rules and restrictions would Brian be bound by if a house were built?  Kelly asked Joe to respond to this question.  Joe stated that Brian had broached the same question to him and Joe’s response was that he would have to consult with the Pickaway County Prosecutor in order to have the correct answer.  Joe said the township has never had a piece of property zoned Planned Business and later had a request to build a residential home on it.  Thus the requirement that Joe would need to consult with the Pickaway County Prosecutor.  Jud Hines also stated that without having this information regarding a future home being built, that the Zoning Commission would be making a decision without having all the information on the subject.  Joe replied that that has no impact on deciding whether to rezone the property to Planned Business as building a home on the property was not part of the rezoning application.

Jud Hines stated that he didn’t see anything in the plans as to whether the office building could be used as a temporary and/or permanent residence.  Jud Hines was also concerned about the possibility of future expansion with more buildings on the site.  Joe replied that when and if the Planned Business was approved at tonight’s hearing that Brian will be restricted to only what is stated in the plan.  If Brian wishes to go outside the plan, he must file another zoning application and come before the Zoning Commission once again.

Barry McConnell asked what the original zoning was of the land.  Joe replied that it was zoned Farm Residential (FR).  Barry McConnell then inquired as to how a four thousand (4,000) foot pole barn could have been built on the property.  Joe replied that the original owner stated that when he built the pole barn that it was a storage building, and the owner’s intention was to build a house on the property and use the pole barn as a garage.  Joe stated that you are allowed to put up the garage before building the house.

Shirley Tompkins stated that she is opposed to the rezoning as she doesn’t want either the traffic or the noise.  She feels that even though the trash dumpster would be on the north side of the building that she would still have to listen to the noise from the trash truck.  She is concerned about the safety of her grandchildren when they are at her home as she purchased her property to be in the country so that the grandchildren could enjoy themselves while playing on their four wheelers.  Another concern is the possible use of the lot by unauthorized people when the business is closed.

Deborah Crolla said that one of the uses of the lot and building would be maintenance work on the vehicles.  She is concerned about oil spills.  Kelly replied that Brian has disposal regulations that he must be abiding to at the current time and that should not change.  Deborah Crolla continued that she has a sixteen (16) year old and is concerned about her daughter being alone or coming home with a grown man who is unknown to her and might be a sexual predator right on the adjacent property.  The fact that Brian has not done background checks on his employees or people entering and exiting the property scares her.

Donna Collier said that at the previous hearing Brian stated that they would be working on vehicles on Saturdays on the property.  She said that she has a problem with that as she preferred to sleep late on Saturdays and doesn’t want the noise from the traffic in and out and vehicles being banged on and moved around on the property.  Donna Collier also feels that it will not only wake her up but also the rest of the neighbors as well as the dogs in the neighborhood.

Jud Hines realizes that the business is seasonal but feels that the uptick in business during the summer months would interfere with the neighbors’ enjoyment of their property and the use of their outside space during that period of time.

Kelly stated that she realized that several of the neighbors had concerns with the noise and screening, but that there were plans in the application to address that and the Zoning Commission could also add modifications to allay those concerns.

Donna Collier inquired as to whether there would be a sign to indicate where the business is located.  She feels a sign would have an impact on property values if erected.  Kelly indicated that there was no mention of a sign and would not be a part of the rezone if approved.  Brian’s business is not one that does sales out of the business.  It is strictly a place for his employees to pick up materials, and there are no salesmen coming in and out of his business.  The salesmen go directly to the property owners’ homes to make the sale.

Deborah Collier contacted Brian previously about the lights shining onto her property.  She inquired as to whether those lights would be put on a motion sensor.  She feels that if the rezone would be approved and the lights turned back on it would be a definite inconvenience for the adjacent property owners.  Kelly asked Brian what angle the lights were currently set at and Brian replied that he was unsure, but would recheck the angle if the rezone was approved.

Robert Thompson stated that he bought his property to look at the woods and not a business with a barn and lights on it.  He is concerned about property value and safety of his daughter.  Robert Thompson stated that his issue is with the rezone not with Brian Bell as he has heard many good things about Brian.

Steve Scott said that he has talked to Brian Bell and has no problem with Brian, but he has put a lot of work into his property and feels that having a business so close would bring down his property value.

Barry McConnell asked if the rezone is approved and the property value drops as a result, who is responsible for that or any accident that may happen as a result of the business location.  Kelly responded that the Zoning Commission could not speak to taxes or any decrease in value as that does not fall under the responsibility of the Zoning Commission.  Kelly went on to explain that if there were an accident on Brian’s property then he would hold the responsibility for that as the owner.  Joe also stated that the scenario that Barry McConnell was presenting was similar to the scenario of those property owners who held land along Duvall Road and had land taken by the State of Ohio to widen Duvall Road.  These landowners also lost part of their property value and no one was responsible for that loss.

The question was posed as to how Brian intended to dispose of any oil from his trucks.  Kelly responded that that would be part of Brian’s business plan.  Another question was who will monitor the number of vehicles into and out of the property.  Joe will review the vehicles only if a neighbor feels that there is a violation of the modifications listed in the Planned Business rezone.

At this point, Michelle Hines inquired as to what happens if a violation is noted with Brian’s business.  Joe stated that if he finds a violation he will send a notice to Brian who has thirty (30) days to comply.  If he is still in violation after thirty (30) days, a second notice is send with a copy going to the Pickaway County Prosecutor.  If there is still no compliance after sixty (60) days, the problem will be handled by the Pickaway County Prosecutor.  Another concern of Michelle Hines is the number of vehicles that would be parked outside the building as well as the fact that they would be visible to the other neighbors.

Shirley Tompkins stated that at the last hearing she thought that Brian stated that he had seven (7) or eight (8) trucks that went home with each employee.  The current application states that the trucks may be parked at the building.  Brian responded that he has nine (9) trucks.  One is driven by him and the other is driven by his employee, Chad Cunningham.  Of the remaining seven (7) trucks, four (4) are taken home by crew leaders.  Then Jud Hines asked based on the current application, what is the limit on parked trucks.  Kelly responded that that would be part of the modifications set forth in the rezone.  Ronde stated that the plan indicated all trucks parked at the building would be parked on the north side of the property but she could not find in the plan the maximum number of trucks that would be parked at the business.  Kelly asked if maintenance were done on the trucks, would they then be parked there for the weekend.  Brian responded that after maintenance the crew leaders would take the trucks back to their homes.  Dorothy asked if the trucks would be parked inside the building at night.  Brian replied that occasionally that would be the case, but could also be parked outside overnight.

Chad Cunningham, employee of Brian Bell, stated that the maximum number of vehicles parked outside at one time would be three (3) and questioned why that was any different than a residential home having that many vehicles parked outside overnight.

Shirley Tompkins stated that she felt with a business located at 12375 Bulen Pierce that it would bring in people that may be interested in stealing metal and scrap from the dumpster located on the property.  Kelly asked Brian where he has his storage facility currently located to which Brian replied it was at his home.  She then asked how many times Brian had been broken into and he replied never.

Chad Cunningham stated that as an employee of Brian’s he was concerned about safety and didn’t want to see anything happen to any of the neighbors or their family, but he felt that many of the things being brought up were out of their control.  In addition, he stated that there were definite property lines that the neighbors should be aware of in order to safeguard their children.

Shirley Tompkins asked how many times a week that the trash truck would be picking up refuse at the business and at what time and how loud would that be.  Chad Cunningham responded that everyone on the street had their trash removed by the refuse hauler and countered with how was that any different than the trash being removed at Brian’s business.

Ronde inquired of Brian as to whether it would be feasible to install a security system to discourage any chance of criminal activity.  Brian responded that he was planning on doing so.  She also asked if Brian had considered posting signs no trespassing signs in the woods on his property.  Brian replied that he has no problem with the neighbors coming across his property, but will not sign off on it for liability purposes.

Ronde asked if Brian had an employment opening if he would be looking at hiring locally and Brian responded he would absolutely consider a local resident.  Kelly asked how many employees that Brian currently had and he replied one.  She then inquired as to how many contractors that he may have visiting the site and Brian replied approximately eight (8) and will be there for a maximum of thirty (30) minutes.  Trevor asked who did the work orders and Brian replied that he would be doing them.  Kelly asked what the material was that he stored in the building and Brian replied that it was gutter coil and downspouts and possibly windows that must be removed.

Tara Rickards asked if the parking area is supposed to be not less than two hundred (200) feet from an adjacent property.  Joe replied that with a Planned Business the way that the parking plan is submitted to the Zoning Commission is the way that it will be done and approved.  He stated that a commercial property has certain requirements but for a Planned Business, the way the application is shown and accepted is the way the parking area will be.  There is no specific plan for parking for a Planned Business.

Shirley Tompkins asked if Brian sold his property if it would automatically revert back to Farm Residential (FR).  Joe responded that that statement was the current recommendation of the Pickaway County Planning Commission, and it is up to the Harrison Township Zoning Commission to accept or reject that recommendation.

Dorothy inquired as to what the people will be coming to pick up at the business.  Brian replied that they would not be picking up materials, but would be picking up a work order.  The facility is needed for storage of his trailers, trucks and as an office.  There would be no deliveries to the building.  He needs to move his business from his home to the 12375 Bulen Pierce location for the additional room.

Robert Thompson asked who will be located at the business.  Brian responded that either he or his employee, Chad Cunningham, would be located there approximately 85% of the time.

Michelle Hines asked about restrictions on the dumpster.  Chad Cunningham replied that it would be a standard eight (8) by eight (8) dumpster to hold debris from the trucks.  Trevor asked where the debris went currently.  Brian responded that he hauled everything to Rumpke.

Barry McConnell asked about the possibility of any lead painted debris.  Brian responded that he had taken a course on the proper disposal of that type of material and that it would be sealed off and disposed of properly. 

Steve Scott asked whether the size and spacing of the trees to be used for screening the property can be specified.  Kelly responded that those specifications can be listed in the modifications attached to the rezone application.

Donna Collier asked whether the Zoning Commission would consider how many people were present to speak against the proposal before sending a recommendation to the Trustees and will those attending tonight be allowed to attend the Trustee hearing.  Kelly responded that the recommendation would be sent to the Trustees who would have thirty (30) days to move on the recommendation.  All adjacent landowners who were notified of tonight’s hearing would also receive notification of the Trustees’ hearing so that they may attend.  There will also be a legal notice posted in the Circleville Herald.

Tara Rickards again brought up the amount of money that many of the homeowners have put into their property along with the building restrictions that were stated in their deed and that they all followed.  Kelly reiterated that by state law, the Zoning Commission cannot address private covenants.  The Zoning Commission is bound by the current deed that Brian Bell holds from his purchase of the property from Chris Pence. Kelly stated that in Brian Bell’s deed as purchased from Chris Pence, there are no restrictions and the Zoning Commission can no longer discuss that subject.

Jud Hines stated that he would like to see the number of trucks, box trucks and trailers identified for the zoning inspector.

Dorothy asked if Brian was planning on buying more trucks and he replied that he would have to see how business goes for the current year before making any further investments.  Brian stated that current plans do not include the purchase of any more trucks.

Shirley Tompkins asked if there were any forklifts currently in use at the business.  Brian responded that he uses none.

Donna Collier stated that she built her home as a retirement residence and does not feel that she can enjoy herself there with a business adjacent.

Cindy Bell asked if Brian were to build a house on the property, if he could then run his business from there.  Kelly responded that the Zoning Commission was not saying that he couldn’t run his business from there even if there were no house there.  She went on to state that even if the house were built first, that Brian would have had to come before the Zoning Commission in order to run a business from his property.  Brian inquired as to whether he could build a home and run his business from there and call it a home occupation business.  Kelly replied that it depended on the amount of the area used for the home occupation business and is defined as the business that is contained in the home place.  Brian stated that he understood that it included accessory buildings of no more than two (2) percent.  He inquired if he were to go that route if he still had to go through the Zoning Commission for that and Kelly replied that Brian would need to talk to the Zoning Inspector for that.

Ronde asked Brian to restate his business hours to define business activity.  Brian replied that Monday through Friday would be 7:00 A.M. and could run through 8:00 P.M.  Saturdays would be from 7:00 A.M. through noon.  There would be no business done on Sunday.  Ronde asked about the noise level.  Brian responded that it would be trucks going down the lane and also trucks hauling trailers.

Steve Allen asked Brian why he wished to move his business from his home.  Brian replied that he lived on a cul de sac which limits him as to only one way in and out.  He currently has a twenty-four (24) by thirteen (13) pole barn which is insufficient for storing his trucks and trailers.  His lot size is .6 of an acre which does not leave him room for expansion for storage purposes.

Kelly asked whether there were any opponents that spoke against the rezone that evening who would approve it if modifications were attached to the application. No one responded.

After a discussion among the Zoning Commission members, the following modifications were listed as items to be added to the application before taking a roll call vote on the application:

A limit of ten (10) trucks on site including box trucks

A limit of six (6) trailers on site

Motion sensors installed at a thirty (30) degree angle per the Pickaway County Planning Commission’s recommendations

Pine trees to be planted for screening with a minimum height of six (6) feet spaced twelve (12) feet apart to be planted starting one hundred (100) feet back from Bulen Pierce Road along the lane and west property line

If the property is sold by Brian Bell, it must revert back to the previous zoning of Farm Residential (FR)

There will be no living quarters in the building

The maximum office space is to be four hundred (400) square feet and will contain a half bath, kitchenette and office use space only

No more than three (3) vehicles parked outside of the building

At this time Ronde recommended that the Zoning Commission vote on the Planned Business application with the aforementioned restrictions/modifications.  Dorothy seconded the motion.  Kelly asked Carol for a roll call vote.

Ronde Cook-Brushart:   Yes—based on the recommendations made to encourage small businesses

Dorothy Green:             No—taking into account the wishes of the adjacent landowners

Kelly Spriggs:                Yes—with the modifications made to encourage small businesses in the township

Jim Wells:                     No—taking into account the wishes of the adjacent landowners

Trevor Younkin:             No—due to residential concerns with 90% of Bulen Pierce Road being residential

Kelly stated that with a vote of three (3) against and two (2) for, the recommendation to the Trustees would be to deny Brian Bell’s rezoning application to Planned Business.  She then adjourned the meeting.

Carol Balthaser