Voters in Miami County township overturn zoning decisions in referendums

Marshall Gorby/Staff Photos

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Marshall Gorby/Staff Photos

Referendums challenging two Bethel Twp., Miami County, zoning decisions were supported overwhelmingly by voters in Tuesday’s general election.

The township trustees' January votes to rezone land for residential use were overturned by residents, according to unofficial totals from the county board of elections.

The rezoning requests approved by trustees and being challenged in the referendums were:

- Resolution 20-05: A petition by Trevor Bean of Tipp City to rezone 66.55 acres from A-2 general agriculture to R-1AAA single family residence and five acres from general agriculture to B-2 office/residential. The land is at the southeast corner of U.S. Route 40 and Palmer Road.

- Resolution 20-04: A petition by Michael Gutmann, trustee of Piqua, to rezone 14.182 acres from 93.438 acres from A-2 domestic agriculture on the northeast and northwest corners of Agenbroad and Dayton-Brandt roads to R-1AAA single family residence to allow for up to six residential lots to be split from the property.

Unofficial totals showed on the Bean rezoning 23 percent voting to uphold the trustees vote and 77 percent voting to overturn it.

On the Gutmann rezoning, 27 percent voted to support the trustees decision and 73 percent votedto overturn it.

“The referendums on Bethel Township’s ballot were examples of democracy in action,” said township resident Beth Houston. “As concerned residents we are grateful for a democratic process that enabled us to challenge the decisions of our elected officials and give a voice to those of us who live here.”

Township Trustee Beth van Haaren said, “While the trustees recognize the will of the voters, both proposed plans are well within the guidelines of Bethel Township’s zoning code and land use plans. It is gratifying to see our residents involved in the ongoing conversation around managing change of our township.”

The township trustees said requested changes in zoning in both cases were consistent with the zoning township code of the township and were similar to surrounding parcels. Both cases were passed by the Zoning Commission and the Board of Trustees.

The opponents' challenges to the U.S. 40/Palmer Road rezoning included traffic along with the already overcrowded conditions at the Bethel Local Schools, said township resident Barb Pierson.

The concerns with the Agenbroad Road/Dayton Brandt Road rezoning included flooding, particularly in the Bethelville Road area, and concerns that if the rezoning of 14 acres was approved, more development on the 93-plus acres would then be sought, opponents said.

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