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Published: Wednesday, 3/13/2002

Monclova rescinds moratorium on zoning changes

During an emotional, standing-room-only meeting, Monclova Township trustees voted 2-1 last night to rescind a temporary moratorium on zoning changes because of concerns over the legality of the issue.

Trustee Gary Kuns, who lashed out angrily at times during the special session called to clarify the moratorium trustees implemented last week, argued that they have no legal authority to impose the ban.

About 75 people attended the meeting.

His motion to rescind the moratorium was supported by Keith Trettin, chairman of the trustees, with Trustee Brian Scilzo dissenting.

Mr. Scilzo proposed the moratorium on housing projects in the township for three months to give trustees time to assess the capacity of the township's infrastructure to handle more development.

He said the study would include evaluations of police and fire protection, roads, schools, and water and sewer needs.

The proposed moratorium would be modified if the Lucas County prosecutor's office determined that it needed to be amended to comply with the law, Mr. Scilzo said.

Mr. Kuns and Mr. Trettin, who said he couldn't support a motion that could be in conflict with state law, voted against Mr. Scilzo's motion.

Last week, Mr. Trettin sided with Mr. Szilzo's proposal for a moratorium designed to postpone hearings on zoning-change requests submitted to the Toledo-Lucas County Plan Commission in order to give trustees time to review the township's land-use plan.

Stephen Herwat, director of the plan commission, was unable to attend the meeting last night, but in a letter yesterday to trustees, he strongly urged the township to seek legal advice on the moratorium.

His letter said the plan commission's staff has supported clarification of the township's land-use plan in specific areas, primarily the Route 20A/Albon Road area, and has worked with the consultant retained by the township to address the issue.

Mr. Herwat noted that the land-use plan overall represents a “good balance between development and conservation.”

Mr. Kuns, who pointed out that the plan was implemented after a lengthy process that included public hearings, said he will resist challenges to the land-use plan adopted two years ago. Mr. Trettin said a few areas of the plan should be reviewed and possibly updated.

When the moratorium was repealed, several people standing at the back of the room showed their support for the trustees' decision. They broke into smiles, patting each other on the back and exchanging handshakes.

Some residents in the crowd, however, said they were disappointed by the decision, which Mr. Scilzo said could prompt unlimited growth in the township, opening the door to whatever developers want to do.

Zella Fought, who lives on Albon Road, said she favors controlled growth so that the township retains its rural flavor.

Last June, a group of residents unsuccessfully sought a temporary halt on housing development in an effort to “stop the sprawl” in the rapidly growing township where the population jumped 48 per cent from 1990 to 2000.

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