This is a David vs. Goliath situation with the Lost Creek residents protecting their neighborhood from the Bath Township Trustees, their Columbus attorneys, and a Columbus developer that could care less about our well established family-oriented neighborhood.
The Bath Township Trustees have had this overlay plan in the works since 2018 when they hired and expended over $10,000 of township funds to the Columbus firm of Brosius, Johnson & Griggs LLC to develop amendments to the Bath Township Zoning Text and Maps, specifically affecting the Lost Creek Subdivision.
The Columbus law firm found a loophole to circumvent established township zoning procedures. What they are doing may be legal, but it is not an ethical or a moral thing to do. Bath Trustees Mr. Sielschott and Mr. Baxter said from the very beginning that their plan was going to pass, would be implemented, and there could not be a referendum.
But they were wrong.
Dedicated residents of Lost Creek didn’t give up and collected almost 400 signatures in just four days that were certified by the Board of Elections allowing for a referendum to be placed on the ballot.
So, that is where we are today….on the ballot and the entire township will decide the fate of Lost Creek, not just three township trustees.
What you are not told is that the plan/map was not seen or made available to anyone until January 2020 when a public hearing was set before the Bath Township Zoning Commission.
It was then we learned that the overlay plan was a lot to absorb and a drastic change with the current zoning procedure and zoning process being circumvented just in our area and Lost Creek’s future put entirely in the hands of the trustees.
We agree that we are experiencing more rentals and a couple houses on Harding Highway are in poor condition; that is a property maintenance issue which should be addressed by the trustees.
We agree there are empty lots along state Route 309, but these lots were created years ago by a speculator buying good quality homes and tearing them down with the intent of making money with no regards to the families living in Lost Creek.
We take exception that our home values are declining. Homes sell in the range of $90,000 to $150,000 and are usually on the market just a few days. Presently there are NO homes for sale in Lost Creek. Residents are investing in substantial improvements and maintenance of their homes. Lost Creek is, and always has been, a great place to live.
We disagree that existing business buildings in Lost Creek are in a declining condition.
We do agree with Trustee Baxter that this is going to negatively impact people in the Lost Creek area.
Trustees Baxter and Sielschott have stated that everyone in the targeted area have been or they themselves contacted the township and approved their inclusion. This is absolutely not true and is now being explained by Trustee Sielschott as a “mis-communication.”
Lost Creek disagrees with changing zoning that proposes a haphazard zigzag border intruding anywhere from 100-400’ back into the subdivision with the potential loss of 47 homes.
Lost Creek disagrees with the permitted uses that include food services and drinking places, food & beverage stores, expanded gas station, automotive parts & tire stores, furniture/electronics & appliance, sporting goods, ambulatory health care services, bowling centers, hotels, fitness centers, food services, laundry services, and more.
When Bath Township has P&G, Ford, US Plastics, Nickles, Dana, PPG, Nelsons, Nash Finch, and Lima Pallet Company, one must ask, “Why is Lost Creek being sacrificed for fast-food restaurants and possibly an expanded Speedway station?” Also ask yourself, “If this was your neighborhood, how would you vote?”
Lost Creek disagrees with the promise of additional revenue being generated for the Township since almost everything is always given a tax abatement.
Lost Creek is not against growth and development, but we are against inappropriate commercial development that juts 400 feet back into our subdivision. There are so many questions never answered like why are LED flashing signs allowed in this area when not allowed in township zoning? With the flooding that occurs in Lost Creek now, what is going to happen when additional asphalt parking lots are added on the frontage?
Zoning rules are enforced in the township by the zoning Inspector, except in this overlay plan. In this proposed area the rules are made and approved by a vote of the Trustees. The Bath Township trustees cannot devote the time nor do they have the knowledge to oversee commercial development in this overlay plan.
We have faith that the Bath Township Community will rally around Lost Creek and will vote NO on the Proposed Zoning Amendment and will save and protect the lost creek residential neighborhood.
Ruth Hollenbacher is president of Lost Creek Neighborhood Association