BOWLING GREEN — A renewed proposal to rezone 20 acres along Five Point Road in Middleton Township where an old Catholic cemetery is located is scheduled to come before the Wood County Planning Commission at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Planning Director Dave Steiner said he and his staff are recommending the commission deny the request by the Diocese of Toledo to rezone the land from agricultural to R-3 residential.
The diocese is asking that the entire parcel be rezoned R-3 with the stipulation that 3.7 acres where the cemetery is believed to be located be designated a “cemetery easement.”
In Mr. Steiner’s mind, that would not ensure the cemetery land remain undisturbed and undeveloped.
“An easement is a good idea but there’s no way through zoning to make sure it stays there,” he said.
In his recommendation to the planning commission, Mr. Steiner wrote, “It is pertinent to note that this cemetery conservation easement would not be set by zoning, but rather would occur only if the property were to be developed as the applicants envision. In reality, the entire parcel could be rezoned to R-3 Residential, and this development plan be abandoned, and the easement area could be built on.”
According to the diocese’s application, it intends to sell the land to a developer for construction of a residential subdivision.
The planning commission denied the rezoning request last year when it learned about the existence of the former St. Mary Mother of Sorrows cemetery on Five Point Road just west of Fort Meigs Road. The diocese later withdrew its request.
No headstones are visible on the land, which has been farmed for decades. Records indicate up to 75 graves are in the northern corner of the property.
The planning commission, which only can make a recommendation to Middleton Township, meets on the fifth floor of the county office building in the courthouse complex.
— Jennifer Feehan
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