Center zoning plan on display

LISBON – Center Township residents can get their first look at the proposed township zoning plan by either going online or to the Lepper Library.

Zoning Committee President Bob Berg announced this week the 110-page plan and accompanying maps have been posted online at or in the genealogy room at the library. When viewing the plan online, you must click on the zoning resolution at the very bottom of the page.

A public meeting on the plan was held in early March, but there was only one copy of the plan and maps available that night for the 21 attendees to inspect, and officials promised to make copies available as soon as possible.

Since then the plan has been submitted to the Columbiana County Planning Commission for consideration, which took no position. The next step in the process requires the township trustees to hold a public hearing to seek further public input, after which the plan is returned to the five-member zoning committee if there are any recommended changes. This would result in another required hearing.

If there are recommended changes and they are rejected by the zoning committee, the changes can be implemented by unanimous vote of the trustees. If there are no changes, the trustees can proceed immediately with placing the plan on the November general election for voters to decide.

The trustees formed the zoning committee in 2011 with the idea of creating a limited zoning code that protects residential property owners but is not so overly restrictive that it unreasonably interferes with private property rights or impedes economic development.

The proposed plan creates three zoning districts: residential and agricultural, commercial and industrial, and special districts. The plan, among other things, prohibits outside storage of junked and abandoned vehicles and boats in residential areas. It also bans storage of junk, junked vehicles, disabled and inoperative machinery and equipment in residential and agricultural districts.

A five-member zoning commission appointed by trustees would be created to oversee the plan, with a permit fee structure created to help pay for a zoning inspector and related costs.