Lake Twp.: Zoning dispute heading to federal court

Larry Limpf

News Editor

The attorney representing the Lake Township trustees in a zoning dispute has filed to have the case against the township heard in federal court rather than Wood County Common Pleas Court.
Teresa Grigsby filed a notice Sept.1 to have the case heard in U.S. Court for the Northern District of Ohio, arguing that allegations raised in the complaint include claims the board of trustees violated the U.S. Constitution when it denied a request to change the zoning classification of a parcel along Woodville Road.
The plaintiff, Hillabrand Holdings, filed the complaint last month in common pleas court. It contends the trustees violated the company’s property rights by rejecting its application to have a 33-acre parcel rezoned from R-2 residential district to a B-3 highway business district classification.
The company owns the parcel and planned to relocate its headquarters on the property and construct warehouse space for an affiliated company, Hillabrand & Sons Construction.
During a July 18 hearing, the trustees voted 2-1 to deny the application.
The complaint filed in the common pleas court argues the denial and enforcement of the township zoning resolution as applied to the property was “…unreasonable, contrary to law, and without substantial relation to the public health, safety, or general welfare of the community.”
“The enforcement …denies Hillabrand the economically viable use of the land without substantially advancing a legitimate government interest,” the complaint says. “It contravenes the right to property guaranteed to Hillabrand by the constitutions of the United States and the State of Ohio.”
The company is asking for judgment ordering the board of trustees to grant the application as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
At the zoning hearing, trustees Lorie Davis and Richard Welling voted against the change in zoning and trustee Ken Gilsdorf voted in favor.
Welling said at the time his vote was based on the parcel in question being flanked by residences. Currently, the property is an empty field.
“It’s pretty much zoned R-2 all the way around there. The parcel has been zoned R-2 for 20 years or so. Property to the south has been zoned R-2, it’s Lakewood subdivision,” he said. “People have moved into the area based on that area being R-2. Changing 33 acres to highway business would be a pretty drastic change. Our truckstops are all zoned B-3.”
Gilsdorf said he supported the Hillabrand request because the township needs a good mix of business and residential development for its tax base
He noted the property has been vacant for years and no developer has purchased it to construct another residential subdivision
The Wood County Planning Commission had earlier voted unanimously to recommend denial of the zoning request. The recommendation wasn’t binding on the trustees.
The Hillabrand complaint says the township zoning map shows that adjacent parcels to the northwest of the property are zoned B-1 neighborhood business and B-2 general business.
“The proposed zoning amendment of the property would be within the purpose and spirit of the zoning resolution and would be consistent with adjacent land uses,” it says.


The Press

The Press
1550 Woodville Road
Millbury, OH 43447

(419) 836-2221

Email Us

Facebook Twitter

Ohio News Media Association