GREENVILLE — At the Greenville Township Board of Zoning Appeals’ public hearing on Tuesday night, approximately 35 people attended the meeting regarding confusion over zoning around the Rolin Acres subdivision in Greenville off U.S. Route 127.
Residents living in the Rolin Acres subdivision voiced their disapproval of not being informed of the first public hearing for an application for conditional use in their area. The public hearing was for an application submitted by Doug Fellers of Greenville for the purpose of operating an automobile service garage located on U.S. Route 127 near Tamarack Trail.
According to the rules in the Greenville Township Zoning Resolution, everyone within 500 feet of the boundary lines proposed should be notified before a public hearing. According to residents, not all of them were notified.
“I am within the 500 feet. We were notified this time; we were not notified the other time,” said Rolin Acres resident Jean Branson at Tuesday’s meeting. “Is our input not important enough to you to contact all of us?”
While a legal notice announcing the hearing on zoning appeals was published in The Daily Advocate’s legal notice directory on June 23 for the first public meeting held on July 5, nine notices were sent out from the township notifying nearby residents about the meeting.
For Tuesday’s meeting, 23 notices were sent, according to chairman Mark Spille. The trustees said the residents not receiving the notice for the first meeting was a mistake.
“Roughly 12 residents were not notified [about the first public hearing], including myself. That’s a pretty large number,” said Rolin Acres resident Shana Howard. “They should have had the right to sit in and ask the questions that we did at the first meeting.”
“We assumed everyone who was entitled to the notification received one, and we knew it was in the paper,” said trustee Ken Wombold. “We assumed that everyone was notified. When we don’t see many people here then we also assume as we do in other meetings that they weren’t interested.”
People attending the meeting were confused as to whether or not the land Fellers purchased was actually land zoned rural residential or zoned for business.
After the meeting, Curtis Yount, zoning inspector for Darke County Planning and Zoning, explained some of the confusion. He showed an official map of Greenville Township zoning; an identical copy is in the township trustees’ office.
Yount said when he was initially approached by Fellers, he believed by looking at the map the land Fellers was considering purchasing at the time was in the rural residential zoning area. But in fact the land was in a business zoned area. The first public notice published listed the land as zoned rural residential in error.
Upon further investigation and to clarify questions from Rolin Acres subdivision residents who attended the first public meeting, Yount and Eric Brand, legal attorney for the Greenville Township trustees, learned the property was zoned for business. The area in question was listed as zoned for business because an auto body shop had been operated near there years ago.
A second notice regarding Tuesday night’s meeting was also published in The Daily Advocate’s legal notice directory on Sept. 3.
“I’m not going to sit here and deny there were not mistakes made in the process, but we’ve tried to correct them,” said Yount of the zoning confusion. “I’m not perfect.”
“We both came to the conclusion that this building is actually in a business zone, which would make the conditional use that they [township trustees] granted legal because it [auto service station] is actually listed in the book as one of the uses under conditional use for business-owned property,” said Yount of his and Brand’s findings.
Some residents in the Rolin Acres subdivision voiced concerns about the automobile service garage affecting their quality of air, wells or sewer system.
“According to EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] rules, to be compliant in the state of Ohio, you cannot spray more than 10 pounds of material a day,” said Fellers. “Ten pounds of material a day is two gallons of sprayable material. I don’t come close to that—a one-man shop can’t do that. I’ve averaged six ounces a day.”
Fellers explained a worker from the EPA is already planning to return in a few months to see Fellers’ log, review how much Fellers has been spraying and to check air quality. He said he was given a clean bill of health for water, air and fire inspection as well.
At the end of the meeting, the board voted 4-0 to accept the correction to the legal notice and previous meeting minutes that reflected a change in the zoning of the property, and they accepted the conditional use application for Fellers without specific requirements.