BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath Township trustees Tuesday night approved the state Route 309 Corridor Overlay District.
The plan would create an overlay on the north side of the highway between Saratoga Avenue and just west of Devonshire Drive and would determine what could go into that area if the property is sold to someone else. This would not affect current property owners.
A public hearing on the matter was held prior to the trustee’s regular meeting. Less than two dozen people attended the hearing.
The overlay will give Bath Township a new tool to control development in the overlay district, which includes several residential properties. The area currently is a mix of homes and commercial properties. Current owners can either keep the residential properties residential or they could develop it.
“There’s already commercial businesses in those areas,” said Brad Baxter, Bath Township trustees president.
People got a chance to speak about the pros and cons of the overlay.
“I think the plan is a good plan. You have done your due diligence,” said Jed Metzger, president and CEO of the Lima Allen County Chamber of Commerce.
“I do feel for the residents,” said Joe Patton, executive director of OhioMeansJobs Allen County. “We do have to move forward if we want progress in our community.”
The Rev. Ronald Fails, who owns a church near the overlay, indicated there has to be a solution everyone can live with.
“I think there’s a way to coexist and make this work,” said Fails.
Some residents were concerned that the makeup of the Lost Creek area will change.
“I’ve lived there for about 30 years and for 30 years we’ve tried to protect our residential and this doesn’t make sense to me,” Carol Parker said. “We need families not businesses on our side (of state Route 309). It’s just a nice residential area, and you’re ruining it.”
Ruth Hollenbacher, a nearby resident, has been a vocal critic of the plan and brought visual aids to prove her point.
“I do hope these picture boards will show you the magnitude and ramifications and possible consequences your plan has for Lost Creek from the possible loss of 40 plus homes, to a six-foot wall that will jig and jag along a varying boundary line,” Hollenbacher said.
Hollenbacher, once again, indicated her plans to referend the overlay.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.