by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: Aug 14, 2018

A Pig in the House
The Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals has postponed a decision on a zoning waiver request from a resident seeking to keep a pig in the family’s home. The request was made by Todd and Melissa Crandall, of 9328 St. Angela’s Way, who contend that Milo, the mini potbellied pig, is not only a clean and inoffensive pet, but also qualifies as an emotional support animal for Mr. Crandall, a counselor and founder of Racing for Recovery.

The township zoning department has noted that the zoning code under livestock and farm animals specifically bans pigs, among other animals, from being kept on lots of one acre or less. The department issued the finding against the pig in reaction to an anonymous complaint.

Stevan Groth, an attorney for the Crandalls, argued to the board that Milo is neither livestock nor a farm animal. Groth contended that the pig is not being raised for breeding or for slaughter. He also noted that there has been no specific complaint about odor, waste, noise or anything else. The complaint, he said, was a vague, “Hey, there’s a pig in the neighborhood.”

Milo spends most of his time indoors and has his own room in the basement of the family home, he noted, adding that if the pig were to be overtly offensive, the township has nuisance regulations, which could be enforced. He added that the pig is beneficial for Mr. Crandall for generalized anxiety issues and he submitted a letter with a “legitimate diagnosis from a licensed professional” to that effect. Crandall said Milo was initially brought home as a pet when the family lived elsewhere, but that he has bonded with Milo. The family, with Milo, have lived in the township’s Twelve Lakes subdivision for about a year.

Christina Rodriguez, staff attorney for the Fair Housing Center, said she considers the situation to be a fair housing issue and noted that in similar cases Milo would be known as a “medical device.” She said landlords, who as a rule ban pets, often learn they can’t prohibit animals that serve a medically beneficial purpose.

John Billis, president of the Twelve Lakes Homeowners Association, said he sided with the township in objecting to a pig in one of the homes. He said the homeowners association also does not allow pigs and even considering the arguments made in favor of allowing Milo to stay in the Crandall household, “If it walks like a pig and it looks like a pig and it oinks like a pig, it’s a pig.”

After about 20 minutes of privately considering the issue, the board announced that more research was called for and that a decision will be announced at the meeting on Sept. 17 at 5 p.m.

Art Board Vacancy
Sylvania Township trustees have asked for applications from anyone interested in serving on the board of the Sylvania Community Arts Commission. Trustee John Crandall noted at a recent meeting that it is a community organization for which no one volunteered to serve when trustees appointed community members to several groups. Those interested may go to the township website, sylvaniatownship.com, and click on administration. There is a link there to an application form which may be filled out and then submitted to the township.

Applications must be received by Aug. 31, 2018.

Household pickup contract approved
Sylvania Township trustees have approved a contract with Stevens Disposal & Recycling Service for the annual Sylvania Township household pickup program. The bid for the job is $400 per ton of material collected, which is $50 per ton over their bid last year. They were also the only bidder that year.

Rob Nash, superintendent of the township road department, told trustees that he had made an effort this year to get more companies to bid on the job and he would increase his efforts for next year’s collection, but if there’s no increased response, the township may have to “look outside the box.” Such as, there might be a way to contract for several large dumpsters to be located around the township and allow residents, for a limited time, to bring the items they want to get rid of to the dumpsters.

In contacts with refuse companies, Nash said he has learned that most local businesses are not big enough to take on a household-item collection in a community as large as Sylvania Township. Most area companies have enough trucks and manpower for the contracts they serve, but not enough to reconfigure their business in order to bid on the township annual service.

Nash said his comments should not be taken as a criticism of the job Stevens’ does. He said he wasn’t being critical of the job Stevens has done. The company and its employees know the township and work hard and fast to get the job done, he added. The issue is the increasing cost to the township, he said.

Stevens’ winning bid of $350 per ton last year was also an increase of $50 per ton over their $300 per ton bid in 2016. They were the only bidder that year as well.

The annual pickup usually averages around 100 to 110 tons, Mr. Nash noted.

The service for Sylvania Township residents is scheduled this year to begin Sept. 10. It will be a one-time sweep through the township. In order to not be missed, it is recommended that all items should be placed at the curb or edge of the road the evening of Sept. 9.