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Published: Thursday, 1/29/2004

Oregon: Agriculture zoning request turned down


A request by an Oregon couple to rezone their 29-acre property to allow them to keep horses sparked a land-use debate at this week s City Council meeting.

Gary and Linda Zunk asked the council to change the zoning of their property at 6141 Corduroy Rd. from residential to agricultural. The Zunks noted that their neighbors immediately to the west received an identical zoning change last year, and that much of the other property around them is either zoned agricultural or is used as farmland.

“When we bought the property, we assumed we were buying a farm ... We would like to have a couple of horses,” Mrs. Zunk told the council. “Behind us, all of Cedar Point [Road] is agricultural.”

The council rejected the zoning change 4-2. Opponents of the request argued that it represented improper “spot zoning” that could someday lead to an owner beginning a dairy or chicken farm near residential areas. Neighbors of some dairy and egg farms in rural areas of northwest Ohio have complained about foul odors and fly infestations.

“I m concerned about somebody landing something very unpalatable there, like a chicken farm,” council president Michael Sheehy said.

Mr. Sheehy and councilmen Sharon Graffeo-Rudess, Matthew Szollosi, and Jeffery Keller voted against the change. Councilmen Jerry Peach and Michael Seferian voted yes.

Mr. Peach said he believed the Zunks request was in keeping with the general character of the land around them, which includes residential-zoned land with crops grown on it. “In this case, we re looking at a property that s been used for agricultural purposes,” he said. “When you look at that expanse, what you see, for the most part, is farmland, with some houses on the perimeter.”

Mr. Peach also noted that Oregon s master plan, last updated in 1995, calls for promoting agricultural uses in the city. “I think this is an acceptable, appropriate rezoning.”

Mr. Keller said that if properties like the Zunks are to be rezoned, it should be done en masse in conjunction with the revision of the master plan that was begun last year. He suggested that the Zunks apply for a special-use permit.

“I m not saying that [area] shouldn t be all A-1,” he said. “Maybe it should be. I m just saying we should go about it the right way.”

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