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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2007

Perrysburg Township sides with Wal-Mart in zoning-fee dispute

Perrysburg Township officials went on record last night as agreeing with Wal-Mart.

They don't think it's fair for companies building in the township but receiving Perrysburg water and sewer services to be forced to pay the city's zoning permit fees.

Wal-Mart, which plans to build a store on U.S. 20 at Simmons Road, already paid about $9,000 for a township zoning permit, but is being required to pay $21,400 to the city for similar permits.

Last month, a Perrysburg City Council subcommittee recommended council deny Wal-Mart's request to have the permit fee waived, against the advice of Mayor Nelson Evans and other administration members.

Township trustees voiced their concerns last night over Wal-Mart and other companies being subjected to two different zoning codes.

"We've seen a lot of changes [in Perrysburg's zoning code and zoning practices] over the past few years that are detrimental to residents, or businesses, or anybody trying to make things happen in Perrysburg Township," Trustee Bob Mack said.

"They basically have two masters to adhere to as far as zoning compliance, and we think that's unnecessary."

Perrysburg officials have said their new zoning code, which was signed into law last March, requires applicants building in other jurisdictions to acquire a Perrysburg zoning permit if they will receive an extension of the city's utilities.

Wal-Mart was the first applicant to be subject to Perrysburg's new code.

An informal committee of Perrysburg and township representatives to discuss such issues was formed last year, but township officials said the committee hasn't made any strides to resolve the matter with Wal-Mart.

Township Trustee Gary Britten said it appears Perrysburg "is not willing, so far, with what they've shown, to grant us time to work through this."

Trustees' Chairman Craig LaHote said the trustees would welcome a meeting with Mayor Evans and other Perrysburg officials to resolve the issues amicably, but the township is apparently weighing all options.

Administrator John Hrosko said the township will check with its legal advisers on how to proceed in situations in which Perrysburg feels it can apply its zoning code to applicants wishing to build in the township.

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