Shalersville zoning request withdrawn after controversy

By Jim Sewell Record-Courier staff writer Published:

SHALERSVILLE The owners of a parcel of land near the Portage County Airport have dropped a controversial request to have the entire 187 acres designated industrial.

About two-thirds of the land, which is located on S.R. 44 across from the airport, is zoned agricultural-residential. The third of the acreage that fronts S.R. 44 is currently designated industrial.

According to realtor Jack Kohl, who represents the owners, the request was withdrawn "until such time as the township has reviewed its zoning policies." The land is owned by the estate of the late Ray Black.

At a Jan. 15 meeting attended by a number of residents in opposition to the proposed rezoning, the township zoning commission voted to recommend that the board of trustees OK the request.

A special trustees' meeting to discuss the issue had been scheduled for Monday, but the owners' unexpected withdrawal of their request late last week resulted in the hearing being canceled.

Kohl said that the owners made the request to have the property rezoned so that it would be more attractive to potential buyers.

"There aren't exactly any buyers beating down the door right now, so the owners decided to withdraw the request until the township decides how it is going to restructure it's zoning designations," said Kohl.

"In the future the owners might put in another request for rezoning, but for now they're just going to wait and see what happens," Kohl said.

The trustees have recently discussed the possibility of including a light industrial classification in the township zoning books. Currently, land in the township can only be designated residential, agricultural-residential or industrial.

Trustee Frank Ruehr said that even though the zoning commission voted favorably on the request, the owners "took a lot of flak" at the meeting and withdrew their request until public furor over the proposed rezoning diminishes.

"Most people out here are opposed to industrial zoning," Ruehr said. "They move out here to get away from the city. They want to keep Shalersville the way it is _ they like the small town atmosphere."

According to Ruehr, any changes that the township makes in its zoning classifications will take at least six months to go through the various steps necessary for approval.

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