BATH TOWNSHIP — The Bath Township Zoning Commission agreed by a 4-1 vote to recommend to Bath Township trustees that they adopt amendments to zoning regulations, despite concerns raised from about 50 residents attending a hearing Thursday night.
Decreased property values and changing the current makeup of Bath Township neighborhoods were among the concerns township residents voiced about the proposal to establish a state Route 309 corridor overlay district.
The dissenting vote was cast by zoning commission member Chris Fultz.
The amendments to the zoning regulations will allow for the overlay district to be created, if approved by township trustees. The trustees will need to hold another public hearing before the overlay district would be approved.
There has been a heavy demand for development along the Harding Highway corridor. The commission felt the overlay district would be the best way to accommodate the business development in a controlled fashion.
Cheryl Roeder, 2226 Makin Drive, said she had concerns with property values decreasing with placing businesses next to homes.
“If someone buys a lot, a house could be taken down and Speedway could be to the back of my home,” Roeder said.
Ruth Hollenbacher, a St. Andrews Boulevard resident, also expressed concerns. “I’m tired and worried that our neighborhood of 47 years will change, and not for the better,” she said.
Tim Kiracofe, a Lost Creek subdivision resident, said he was concerned with the impact of the overlay district.
“This overlay is an embarrassment from the trustees that tears apart the neighborhood and families. We need to take a stand, and I’d vote no,” Kiracofe said.
If final approval is given, the zoning changes won’t affect the owners of properties already there.
The overlay takes in properties bordered on the south at state Route 309 from Saratoga Avenue at the west, to a point at the east located two parcels west of Devonshire Drive and extending to the north between one and six parcels.
“These amendments have been in the works for a few years, and the trustees have discussed this. The overlay district is a planned unit development,” said Ian Kohli, Bath Township Zoning Commission chairman.
Kohli said the overlay district will allow individuals who have a specific projects in mind to know what the parameters are in advance.
According to Kohli, residents will know what it is they’re allowed to do, and what they’re not allowed to do so that they have complete understanding of that requirements are going to be and what is the nature of the plan that they have to fit their development plan in.
When someone submits an application for a planned unit development, the trustees will review the application, and it must be approved by them, said Scott Campbell, zoning commission clerk.
The zoning commission will make a recommendation to the township trustees that will be reviewed at a later date. The trustees will have another public hearing at a later date when the recommendation will be considered.
Development plans will be required to be submitted by the applicant to the Bath Township trustees. Details must include storm drainage, lighting and parking lot plans and the trustees will have that information before they make that decision.
The Harding Highway corridor has seen fundamental changes in Lost Creek. On the edge of the south side of Lost Creek’s subdivision, there have been nine vacant lots.
The unit development plan overlay plan would affect property owners on parts of Bath Township inside a thin strip of land between Harding Highway and a line extended east from Makin Drive.
“The first person who does this will set a precedent and we can’t intrude on their neighbor’s property,” said Clarence Roller, the zoning commission’s vice chair.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.