At the April 11, 2017 meeting of the Bethel Township Trustees, the trustees held a public hearing before their regular meeting to discuss the proposed rezoning of two parcels at 9140 SR 202 and 4423 E US 40 from business to I-1 Light Industrial. Several Phoneton residents who live close to the property spoke to the trustees in opposition to the proposed rezoning. Their concerns included concerns about increased traffic, toxic runoff, light pollution, and increased noise.

A representative from Takhar Oil, R & A Corporation, said that the company had been working with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to determine the impact on the intersection if a gas station at that location. According to him, a study done prior to the installation of the light, which according to some residents was over 45 years ago, indicated that a gas station at that location would not be a problem. He said, “The County Commissioner John O’Brien said we would probably get a beautification reward for improving the property.”

However, residents who live in Bethel Township currently strongly disagree. Trustee Jerry Hirt, who lives just north of the intersection, said “I am concerned about the gas station because of the proximity to the light. Although in theory a gas station does not add traffic, the ingress and egress to the station will be a problem.” When I 70 is backed up, the intersection is backlogged for miles.”

Trustee Beth van Haaren said, “I would have thought that before the company plunked down $250,000 for the property, they would have requested input from ODOT concerning the traffic flow.”

Because of the concerns expressed by the public, the trustees supported the Bethel Zoning Commission recommendation to deny the request to rezone and join the two properties. The company can resubmit their request in a year. They are also allowed to establish a business at the two properties that compile with the current zoning of B-1 General Business or B-3 Neighborhood business. To ascertain the allowed business, residents should check the zoning code on the Township’s Website.

In regular business, Township Administrator Andy Ehrhart reported that the Fire Department made 25 runs between March 25, 2017 and April 7, 2017. Most the calls, 20 involved emergency calls including one motor vehicle accident with no injuries. Ehrhart also reminded the community that the fire department sponsors a program that checks on elderly residents who live alone. The program calls elderly residents once a day to ensure they are safe. If the call does not generate a response, the department will dispatch a unit to check on the resident’s safety. To register for the program, interested residents need to contact the Fire Department at (937) 845-8742.

For Planning and Zoning, Planning and Zoning Director Marty Caskey reported that two zoning applications were received and issued. An application for a detached garage at 9675 S Bellefontaine Road, and a request for an inground pool at 6334 Dayton-Brandt Road were received and issued. However, the detached garage will need a variance to implement.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will hear a request for a lot size and frontage variance for 6476 US 40 and a variance for a height variance for an accessory building at 9675 Bellefontaine Road on April 27, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

The Zone Commission will hear a request to rezone a parcel at 6625 Cobaugh Road from I-1 Light Industrial to R-1AAA Residential at 7:30 p.m. on April 28,2017.

The next meeting of the Bethel Township Trustees is scheduled for April 24, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Township Meeting Room.