ZONING Brookfield trustees mull ballot issue

This will be the fifth time the zoning issue will appear on the ballot.
BROOKFIELD -- Township trustees are expected to agree Friday to place the issue of zoning on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
Trustees will meet in special session at 6 p.m. at the administration building to decide if the issue will be placed before voters.
"We're all in favor of putting it on the ballot," Trustee Gary Lees said of his position and those of fellow Trustees Philip Schmidt and Janalyn Saloom.
"That's probably what will happen," Schmidt added.
Lees said a five-member zoning committee appointed by trustees will recommend placing the controversial issue before voters.
Lees said trustees generally agree that their opinion about zoning is not the real issue, but rather that the residents have a chance to vote on it.
Saloom declined Tuesday to give her opinion about zoning. Regardless, she noted, her vote Friday won't make any difference.
If trustees agree Friday, it won't be the first time the issue has been placed before voters.
Previous defeats
Since 1982, according to the Trumbull County Board of Elections, the issue has been defeated four times -- in 1982, 1985, 1992 and 2001.
In 2001, zoning was defeated by 169 votes.
Schmidt said that because the issue was defeated by such a narrow margin in 2001 with misinformation being circulated, he wants to see it before voters this year.
Trustees agreed in 2002 to again place zoning before voters, but the filing deadline with the elections board was missed.
Those opposed to zoning have maintained over the years that they don't want to be told what they can do with their properties.
Those in favor have called attention to the township's inability to plan for growth without zoning regulations.
Without zoning, Lees explained, the township will "just become another dumping ground."
Lees said that if zoning is approved, trustees will hire a zoning inspector to handle complaints surrounding nuisances.
Abandoned structures
Since the first of May, he explained, 23 structures have been identified as being abandoned, with weeds and debris around them.
During council meetings, photographs of the properties are mounted on a board for public viewing that has become know as the "Wall of Shame."
Using state law, Lees said, 15 of the properties have been cleaned up by their owners, and seven others need to be cleaned.
If voters reject zoning, the trustee said, the township "will try to do the best we can" without local regulations.

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