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Published: Friday, 7/5/2002

Carrietown residents win on rezone, but fight not over


The shadow of Carrietowne resident Thomas Zarse, hands on hips, blocked the plans for an office building that had been projected on the wall for the Lucas County Plan Commission to see. If the residents have their way, the image will prove prophetic.

More than 50 impassioned residents of the 142-unit condominium subdivision showed up in Government Center last week to protest the proposed re-zoning that would allow the building on the parcel of land off McCord Road near Carrietowne. They booed or applauded loudly where they deemed it appropriate.

But while plan commissioners decided not to recommend the zoning change, the fight isn't over.

Jim Schwerkoske, managing partner in the development, still hopes to be able to build an office building on the site that abuts a shopping center to the north.

His next chance for approval is in front of the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission on July 17. He could appeal that decision to the Sylvania Township trustees on Aug. 15.

Irene Santelli, a 16-year Carrietowne resident, said that she opposes any building that would cause more traffic. Already, she says, she tries to get all her shopping done prior to 3 p.m., so that she can avoid the traffic, and a potential accident.

But the building would create much less traffic than a commercial building, or even a heavily trafficked office space, said George Oravecz, who spoke at the meeting for Mr. Schwerkoske.

Mr. Zarse, a former president of the Carrietowne Master Association, said that if one piece of residential property on the western side of McCord Road gets zoned for office space, it could create a domino effect, where other properties along McCord, currently zoned for single-family dwellings, would also become business land.

Brad Peebles, manager of the zoning and development department in the township, said that fear is justified, as zoning of any one parcel tends to influence the zoning of nearby property. Carrietowne residents worry that rezoning of the area would dramatically deflate the property value of the condominiums in their subdivision.

But having the property in limbo is also affecting property values, Mr. Schwerkoske said. He said having the property developed might actually increase the value of the condominiums nearby.

This is the fourth time Carrietowne residents have fought rezoning on that particular parcel, Mr. Zarse said, and the second time that Mr. Schwerkoske has appealed before the commission to rezone it.

County planning staff had suggested that the plan commission recommend the zoning change as a good way to gradually move from the commercial zone on the corner of McCord Road and Central Avenue to the residential area of Carrietowne.

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