MAHONING COUNTY Beaver Twp. proposals concern panel

The county prosecutor's office will review the changes for the commission.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Beaver Township officials say parts of the township's zoning code are outdated, unenforceable and need to be replaced.
But the Mahoning County Planning Commission has concerns about some of the proposed changes. It will ask the county prosecutor's office to look them over before the commission votes.
"It just seems highly restrictive," said Robert J. Lidle, commission chairman. "I have a lot of questions as to the legality of some of the changes and the rights of the people in the township."
The township zoning commission has been working on the changes since January, said Michele Swope, Beaver's zoning commissioner.
Swope said many of the zoning regulations have been in place since zoning went into effect in 1958. The township was primarily rural then, but it has seen considerable development in recent years.
"It was just time to do this," Swope said. "Things have changed so much that some of our zoning laws aren't enforceable any more."
Township's goal
Swope said the township wants to make the upgraded zoning code more "user friendly," but Lidle said after the meeting that he and other commissioners are concerned that the changes are too restrictive and will hinder development. He said the commission has had less than a week to review the changes.
Swope said the changes include doubling the required frontage for building a home in an agricultural district from 150 feet to 300 feet, with the minimum lot size also doubling from 1.5 acres to 3 acres.
George Smerigan, a professional planning and zoning consultant hired by the township, said the township will cooperate with the prosecutor's review so the process can be expedited and the overhaul can move forward.
"It's important to have your endorsement on this," Swope told the commission.

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