Neighbors see business zoning as an encroachment.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- Township trustees have taken under advisement a rezoning request that could set the pattern for state Route 46, south of Mahoning Avenue.
After a long hearing Monday, they voted to postpone a decision whether to rezone six adjacent lots on the east side of state Route 46 just south of London Drive from single-family residential to professional office classification.
The rezoning would apply to the area within 500 feet of the road only.
Will visit area: Trustee Bo Pritchard said he wants time to visit the area before making a decision. Trustees are scheduled to vote on the matter at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
"This a very serious issue facing the board. The issue at hand certainly could determine the future of that corridor," said Trustee Jeff Groat, explaining the delay.
Thomas Niemi, a broker at Landmark Commercial Real Estate Services who represents the property owners and supports the change, told trustees that almost half the nearby properties along that heavily traveled road are zoned for business.
"The Route 46 corridor is very central to the population of Austintown," he said. "There's absolutely no infringement on any of the property owners in the rear."
The six parcels have depths of about 1,300 feet, according to zoning office descriptions.
"I cannot understand why we have to change it at all. We have beautiful homes there. I oppose the rezoning. I'd like to see it stay residential," said Rosemary Bruno, who lives along Route 46.
Other nearby residents expressed concerns about increased traffic.
Trustee David Ditzler said trustees have been asking the state for 10 years to widen 46 from I-80 to Kirk Road from two to five lanes.
Further down 46, meanwhile, trustees voted to rezone about three acres owned by Frank and Mary Panchik near Willowcrest Drive from residential to make it consistent with business zoning for parcels on either side of it and across the road from it.