Citizens question new township zoning ordinance

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, July 28, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- A few concerned citizens voiced their confusion with the new zoning ordinance at the Niles Township Planning Commission's meeting Tuesday night.
With about 15 community members in attendance, the only comments made regarding the zoning ordinance were concerning the citizen's uncertainty of how the changes will affect the township.
Angie Cramer, of Harrah Road, was not sure of what the new ordinance would mean for her neighborhood and came to the meeting to get some clarification.
Cramer explained that she and other residents who may be affected by the ordinance are unsure about the meaning of zoning designations like medium density residential development and rural preserve.
She was concerned that increased developments in the area would translate into more traffic around her neighborhood.
Gary DeGroot, chairman of the planning commission, explained to Cramer that the designation of the area as a rural preserve will help to keep the rural feel of the area.
The rural preserve designation will allow only one residence on every acre and a half of land.
Peg Hartman, who lives in the Echo Valley subdivision, attended last night's meeting to voice her concern with a newly proposed subdivision that plans to build next to her neighborhood at the end of Valley View Drive.
Preliminary plans for this subdivision, which is being called Winding River Estates, were approved by the commission with a 7-2 vote prior to opening up the meeting for public comment.
Though Hartman voiced her support of the new zoning ordinance, she thinks the new subdivision is a bad idea.
Mark Baruth, also a resident of the Echo Valley subdivision, was concerned that the new development, which may include individual wells and septic systems for each home, will negatively impact the water quality in his neighborhood.
The commission explained that the new subdivision was just approved as a preliminary plan and that final plans would still have to be approved before any construction could begin.
DeGroot said the concerns brought up at the meeting would be addressed before the final plans for the subdivision go through.