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Published: Thursday, 3/31/2005

Sylvania Township: McCord Road housing unit plan rejected by trustees; controversy reigns


The apparent approval of a site-plan for housing units proposed on McCord Road between Central and Sylvania avenues has been rejected, according to Dennis Boyle, chairman of the Sylvania Township trustees.

Trustees voted 2-1 at their most recent meeting to reject the plan, but that was considered insufficient to overturn the earlier approval of the plan by the township planning commission. It takes a unanimous vote by trustees to overturn a zoning decision by the commission.

But an opinion of the township's lawyer is that the site-plan review is an administrative issue to decide what can be developed on the property - not a zoning issue, said Mr. Boyle, who voted against the site plan. So, a unanimous decision by trustees is not needed to decide how many units goes on the land.

The developer got approval for a planned unit development earlier and that was the end of the issue as a zoning matter, he said.

Because the site plan review is an administrative action, Mr. Boyle said the township now considers the plan to put eight units on the 1.8-acre site to have been defeated.

Residents had argued to trustees that the developer, George Skaff, was crowding too many units onto the site.

Edward VanGunten, an attorney representing some area residents, challenged some of the procedures that led to the vote and in a letter after the meeting, challenged the effect of the vote.

He cited Ohio law in his contention that the vote was not on a zoning issue and because of the 2-1 vote, the site plan "has not been approved, cannot be approved, and was specifically disapproved.''

Also voting against the site plan was Carol Contrata. Jim Schwerkoske voted to approve it. Mr. Schwerkoske said that although he has done so in the past, he generally supports issues that have previously been approved by the Lucas County Planning Commission and the township's commission.

Mr. Boyle said the developer can submit a different site plan for review.

Fred Berning, a consulting engineer for Mr. Skaff, said he had not been aware of the change in status and could not comment until he is notified.

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