The petitions list 241 signatures.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Petitions to include a proposed zoning change on the November ballot in this township have been submitted to the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
The proposal calls for township officials to change the zoning for the Naffah family property from residential to business, and to extend the rear limit of that zoning from 500 to 1,000 feet. The family plans to work with developers to construct an inn/conference center, a retail shopping center, a bank, a restaurant and two medical buildings on the property.
The property is east of the Sheetz gas station under construction at South Raccoon Road and U.S. Route 224.
Township trustees received petitions Monday containing the signatures of 241 people who want the proposed change to appear on the ballot. The township clerk submitted the petitions to the board of elections Tuesday morning.
Board of elections employees must certify that at least 188 of the signatures are from township residents before placing the zoning change on the ballot. That is equal to 8 percent of the number of township residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
Reaction to petitions
Michal Naffah said he was "shocked" that the petitions were filed. He stressed that he feels the development would help local residents by decreasing their property tax burden and providing them with needed services.
The resident who submitted the petitions Monday could not be reached to comment.
In recent years, two similar referendums that would have extended business zoning beyond 500 feet were defeated by voters. One of the referendums was for a request from the Naffah family.
The Naffah family's plans for the property have been approved by the Mahoning County Planning Commission and the Canfield township zoning board. The trustees voted 2-1 to reject the proposal.
A unanimous vote would have been needed to overturn the decisions of the planning commission and the zoning board. Trustee Bill Reese voted for the project, while trustees Paul Moracco and Judy Bayus were opposed.
Bayus said she voted against the change because she feels local residents are worried about "overdevelopment." She added that she feels developers need to abide by the township's 500-foot zoning depth.
Reese, however, said he feels that change will allow the township control the type of development on the Naffah family property.