AUSTINTOWN Trustee votes down zoning, allowing residents to petition

Ditzler said the landowners have no development plans.
AUSTINTOWN -- Township Trustee David Ditzler has voted against a recommendation to zone part of six lots along state Route 46 for administrative business.
As a result, residents can still prevent the change.
Trustees' approval of township zoning issues must be unanimous under state law. If not, residents can petition them to put the recommendation on a ballot for a special election.
On May 3, the zoning commission recommended changing the zoning for part of the lots from residential. The lots are on the east side of state Route 46, just south of London Drive. The change would only apply to the area within 500 feet of state Route 46.
No plans for land: Trustees Jeff Groat and Bo Pritchard accepted the zoning commission's recommendation Monday. Ditzler cast the lone vote against it because the property owners who requested the zoning change had no plan to develop their land.
He said a development plan would allow trustees to control access between businesses and state Route 46 in that area.
Groat said the property owners have demonstrated that they are willing to work together on a plan. That cooperative effort could result in construction of one business on all six lots and one access road.
"If they're able to come into agreement on rezoning, it's certainly obvious that there's a good opportunity that they'll be able to market the property cooperatively as well," Groat said.
The property owners originally asked trustees to change the zoning to allow retail business. Thomas Niemi, a broker at Landmark Commercial Real Estate Services who represents the property owners, said that while he is satisfied with the administrative business classification, "it's not a complete victory." Instead, he said it's "a step in the right direction."

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