By Sean Rice
The board overseeing zoning changes in eastern Jefferson Township holds a public hearing tonight to gather comments on a proposed addition to the zoning code that defines light-commercial businesses.
There is no such zoning definition in the code now. All commercial activities are lumped together under one category.
Mercer County Zoning Commission set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. in the township house on Havemann Road, Celina, to be immediately followed by a regular meeting of the commission.
Commission members may vote tonight on whether to forward the new zoning definition to Mercer County Commissioners for their consideration. The commissioners can then adopt or reject the addition after another public comment period.
The zoning commission took up the issue of a new commercial-light (CL) zone after the county commissioners rejected a request that would have rezoned 60 acres surrounding Wright State University-Lake Campus to commercial. Numerous adjacent property owners voiced their discontent with the plan at a county commissioners public hearing.
The new request does not seek to rezone any land, rather it provides for another commercial option in the zoning text. Anyone seeking to change a parcel using the new definition must first gain approval from the zoning commission and county commissioners.
Zoning commission members created the new zoning text with the help of Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Hinders.
Members examined the list of businesses in the regular commercial (C) district, and removed several to fit the intent of the new CL zone, which calls for businesses with reduced vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
The uses allowed in the proposed CL zone are separated into two classes: principal uses and conditional uses. As with all zoning codes, specific approval from the zoning commission is needed to open a business listed in the conditional uses. Property owners do not need any extra approval to act on the list of principal uses.
The list of principal uses in the new CL text definition being considered are: agriculture, business/professional offices, daycare facilities, funeral homes, libraries and financial institutions. Uses under CL that would require a conditional use permit are: pet shops, standard restaurants, retail business, personal services, assisted living facilities, bed and breakfast shops, museums, nursing homes, schools, recreation, churches.
The following definitions were completely removed from the CL list: gas stations, adult entertainment, bars, animal hospitals, auto body shops, social services, motels, kennels, hospitals, clubs, group homes, marinas, drive-up businesses, commercial entertainment, vehicle sales, wholesale, shopping centers and storage facilities.