Perrysburg Township trustees are considering the possibility of placing an issue on the ballot which, if approved, would establish zoning in the half of the township that has none.
No decisions have been made, board of trustees chairman Nathan Hagemeister said, but all three trustees feel there is a need to look into zoning and the development controls it could bring.
In the unzoned area, property owners can pretty much do whatever they want with their land. A farmer, without warning to his neighbors, can sell off a cornfield to someone who wants to put in a junk yard, for instance, officials said.
At this point, township officials are involved in a fact-finding mission, trying to figure out what steps need to be taken to get the issue on the ballot. They are checking filing deadline dates with the Wood County board of elections, and zoning board members are looking into various aspects of the zoning question.
About half of the township, or about 22 square miles, remains unzoned, said Grant Garn, zoning inspector for Perrysburg Township. The unzoned area is a “large L-shaped section,” he said, basically located south of Five Point Road and east of Lime City Road.
Efforts to zone the township started back in 1955, according to records in Mr. Garn's office. An issue on the ballot that year failed, but in 1957 voters approved zoning for a small portion of the township. Since then, “it has been piecemeal,” Mr. Garn said, and there have been several subsequent votes.
The last time the zoning issue was on the ballot in the township was in November, 1990, and it was soundly defeated.
Trustees are not trying to limit the rights of property owners, Mr. Hagemeister said. Rather, the trustees are interested in protecting those rights.
Mr. Hagemeister knows first hand what can happen in unzoned areas. He lives in a nice home in the unzoned portion of the township.
Because there are no regulations on what can and can't be built in that area, he now has a self-storage business as a neighbor.
When Mr. Hagemeister looks out his window, he sees boats and trailers.
“Rules and regulations in the zoning law provide protection” for property owners, he said.
Some township residents have purchased five-acre lots and built $200,000 homes under the false assumption that nearby farm fields would always sprout crops, not trucking firms or dog kennels, officials said.
Trustees will keep residents informed as the zoning issue is explored. Before residents would vote on the zoning issue, public meetings would be held to discuss the matter.
“We do not operate on the surprise approach,” Mr. Hagemeister said.