VIENNA Property values are main issue
A proposed mobile home park expansion would violate the new regulations.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
VIENNA -- Residents speaking out on new regulations proposed by the Airport Zoning Commission expressed mostly concerns about the effects on their property values, not the benefits it would have for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.
At a Monday meeting of the Vienna Township Neighborhood Watch, Alan Knapp, the Trumbull County planning director, and Dave Dubiaga, county plats and zoning coordinator, answered questions and explained the proposed regulations, which would mostly affect residents living in Vienna Township closest to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport runways.
Knapp said the regulations would prohibit property owners within a primary zone near the runways from building more than one housing unit per 1.5 acres and restrict the height of new buildings.
The regulations also would block development of things such as ponds, landfills, baseball fields or religious facilities. Some of the prohibited items, such as ponds and landfills, would increase the number of birds -- something that could be hazardous to airplane traffic, Knapp said.
What military personnel think
In the recent campaign by Project SOAR to keep the air base open in the face of cuts by the Base Reduction and Closing Commission, the county was advised by a panel of retired admirals and generals who had been through the BRAC process elsewhere to provide better protection against encroachment around the air base, Knapp said. The airport zoning is the fulfillment of that goal, he said.
"The airport is not hemmed in, but what the generals told us was that there was nothing to prevent encroachment," Knapp said. The airport and air base are adjacent to each other.
Knapp said one proposal he is aware of -- the expansion of the Midway Mobile Homes Park and Sales on Youngstown-Kingsville Road -- would violate the new regulations. But any current buildings or businesses would not be affected, he said.
Larry Norton, one of the owners of Midway, questioned why the county commissioners get the final say on whether the regulations are put into effect instead of Vienna officials. The township has had its own zoning regulations for years, he said.
Knapp said commissioners make the final decision because Ohio law says they do in cases where the zoning has to cover an area wider than just one township. In this case, the area is Vienna, Fowler, Howland and Bazetta townships.
Should get advice
Norton said he believes Vienna trustees should seek legal counsel on the matter, indicating that challenges are going to arise over the regulations, "so it might as well be now."
Norton said three townships -- Vienna, Bazetta and Fowler -- have written letters to the commissioners asking them to table the regulations. The Mathews School District is just off one of the proposed restricted areas, and district officials also have written in opposition to the regulations, he said.
One resident wanted to know if the people who would be most affected by the new regulations could be sent letters identifying them as being in that area.
Knapp said he would like people who are not sure if they are in that area to look at a photo at the planning commission office on North Park Avenue in Warren.
Shirley Wittenauer, a member of the Neighborhood Watch, asked Knapp whether the regulations would lower property values. Knapp said he didn't believe they would.
The planning commission has had two public hearings and made a recommendation in favor of the regulations, Knapp said, but a third public hearing needs to be held before commissioners can approve the regulations.