Residents can still petition to have the matter placed on the November ballot as a referendum.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- It was a case of where no meant yes, and it only took one vote to make a difference.
Chairman William Reese cast the lone nay vote at Wednesday's township zoning board meeting, allowing local landowners to take the next step in developing their property -- even if that next step is playing a waiting game.
Attorney Robert S. Bouffard, representing Michal Naffah and his family, presented board members with a request to change the family property, along U.S. Route 224/Boardman-Canfield Road from residential zoning to business zoning, and to extend the rear limit of that zoning from 500 to 1,000 feet.
The Naffah family plans to work with developers to construct an inn/conference center, a retail shopping center, a bank, a restaurant and two medical buildings. The plans also call for an access road that would run from the rear of the development to Raccoon Road.
OK'd by panel, board
The plans are already approved by the Mahoning County Planning Commission and the Canfield city zoning board.To defeat the proposal, township zoning board members needed to unanimously reject the request, but Reese's vote allows the Naffahs and developers to move ahead.
Board member Judy Bayus moved to reject the request as presented, and she and member Paul Moracco voted yes.
Residents of the township can still collect signatures on petitions to make the matter a referendum on the November ballot. Naffah and his developers will most likely wait to see if that is the case before proceeding.
In recent years, two similar referendums concerning extending business zoning beyond the maximum 500 feet were defeated by voters. One of the referendums involved a previous request for an extension by Naffah.
About 30 people attended the meeting, split almost down the middle in support and opposition.
Greg Rood of Summit Drive said he, like other residents in the area, is concerned not only about increased crime and traffic if the development happens, but that the project does not follow the township's concept for growth.
"The people have already said in referendum after referendum that we do not want large commercial development in Canfield Township," he said.
Before voting, Reese told the crowd that he saw it as a matter of controlling growth that is inevitable.
"I think we should try to have some control over some of this growth that we are going to have," he said. "If they go to court and win, then we have no say; they can develop that property any way they want."
During the presentation, Naffah said the property has been in his family since the 1930s, and that since he and his family all plan to retire to their "old homestead," they have no plans to create anything that would be detrimental to the community.
"I want this project to be something my late father and the community can be proud of," he said.