CANFIELD TWP. Rezoning plan targets Rt. 224
Some residents and township officials differ on whether the proposed zone change should appear on the ballot.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Township zoning officials are considering a proposal that would restrict future commercial development to an expanded business district along U.S. Route 224.
The proposal calls for the township to rezone the land to the north and south of U.S. Route 224, between South Raccoon Road and the Interstate 76 overpass, for business. The change would affect land within 1,000 feet of that section of road.
Land within 500 feet of that section of Route 224 has been zoned for business for about 30 years. The rest of the land to the north and south is zoned residential and agricultural.
Dave Morrison, township zoning inspector, said if the zone change is approved, the township most likely would require all future commercial development to be located in that section. Developers have proposed building commercial businesses along state Route 46.
The Mahoning County Planning Commission also would recommend the township keep commercial development along Route 224, said Michael O'Shaughnessy, planning commission director.
"It's not going to sprawl to the west side of the city of Canfield. It's not going to sprawl north to [state Route] 46," he said. "That's it. Don't let it go any farther."
The township zoning commission will have a public hearing on the proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Colonial Inn at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
O'Shaughnessy said the county planning commission recommended changing the zoning this summer after receiving several requests from developers to extend the business zoning to 1,000 feet.
In November, a Canfield resident and a local business each received approval to extend the business zoning limit to 1,000 feet on property along Route 224 between South Raccoon Road and I-76.
Voters approved a request from Michal Naffah, clearing the way for the construction of an inn/conference center, a retail shopping center, a bank, a restaurant and two medical buildings between South Raccoon Road and Summit Drive.
Township trustees approved a request from CTW Development Corp. of Boardman for the construction of office buildings, a hotel and a retail center between Summit Drive and I-76.
Several township residents opposed both requests.
Daniel Bienko, a Jamison Place resident, said he thinks the zoning commission's new proposal should be placed on the ballot. He stressed that he believes additional commercial development along Route 224 would cause traffic problems.
"We don't need that kind of a traffic jam in our neighborhood," he said.
Bienko added that many residents feel they don't need more commercial development in the township.
Morrison also said he'd like to see the proposed zoning change placed on the ballot. He stressed that the zoning commission faces a tough decision on the proposal.
"A lot of people have big homes in the area that they were hoping to retire in," Morrison said. "Something like this could be devastating to them."
Morrison added, however, that zoning commission members want to do what's best for the entire township. He said the zone change could help the township attract new businesses and control development.
Those new businesses would pay property taxes, reducing the amount of taxes that other township residents would have to pay, Morrison noted.
Trustee William Reese also said he feels that the additional property tax revenue could benefit the community and that it would be good to change the zoning for the stretch of land along Route 224.
Reese added, however, that he didn't think the zoning change should be placed on the ballot. He said if it appears on the ballot, many township residents may vote against it without understanding how it would benefit the community.