Trustees vote to rezone Liberty parcel

Thirty acres will remain residential, while 60 acres are zoned commercial.
LIBERTY -- Township trustees voted to rezone a pie-shaped parcel of land from residential to commercial, leaving several residents upset with the decision.
In a special meeting Wednesday, trustees heard comments from two residents opposed to the zoning change before voting 3-0 to rezone. About 20 residents showed up for the meeting.
Builder Robert Walley of Liberty and his partners, Aaron and Andy Kish of Hubbard, requested the change. The parcel, which is near state Route 304, is roughly 90 acres.
The request called for 30 acres to stay residential and 60 acres to be rezoned commercial, with an additional 100-foot buffer in between. Originally the request called for the whole 90 acres to be rezoned industrial.
Walley has not announced his intention for the rezoned land, but said he is talking with interested parties.
Before the vote, Janet Weisberg of Burning Tree Lane expressed concern that a zoning change could possibly lead to a landfill's being built.
"This spring, township officials stated repeatedly that landfills are prohibited in Liberty Township. Your word on this matter is good only if zoning is not changed," Weisberg said.
Another objection
Sheldon Persky, of Crestwood Boulevard, said the rezoning of property without any type of plan in place is irresponsible. He also said that business moving in would likely seek a tax abatement, reducing funds for the city.
"I can't see a way where residents in any way, shape or form who have lived here for a number a years would benefit at all from a zoning change. I can't really see at this point ... where it benefits Liberty Township. I can see a benefit to the property owner. That's my point," Persky said.
In response to residents' objections, Trustee Jack Simon said that the township, by law, can't require specific plans to be drawn when deciding rezoning requests. He also said that in his seven years as a trustee, the township has yet to grant a single tax abatement.
Trustee W. Gary Litch complimented Walley on his willingness to change his request from industrial to commercial and asked residents to look to the future.
"I recognize and understand that you may think, potentially, that this could be bad for Liberty Township. But I need to see what the future's going to bring here," Litch said.
Denies wanting landfill
After the vote, Walley said he had no intention of building a landfill on the property.
"What would I want with a landfill? I live here. My kids were raised here. Our grandkids are here. We've owned that property for 50, 60 years -- the family. If we were gonna put a landfill, it would have been there a long time ago when it was easy to do it," Walley said.
Persky remained unsatisfied with the decision.
"To be honest with you, I'm very unhappy with it," Persky said.
Weisberg agreed.
"I'm not pleased," she said.

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