by Mike Jones

 Appeal denied
The Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals has denied an appeal of the order that a family removes its pig from a home at 9328 St. Angela’s Way. The ruling came after the board held a recess of more than a month since the initial hearing.

The issue began in April when the township zoning department received an anonymous complaint that a pig was being kept at that address. The township compliance officer was unable to verify that complaint, but photos of the pig outside of the home were sent to the department in June.

The township zoning office found that the family was in violation of a zoning resolution that prohibits maintaining a farm animal/livestock on a lot of one acre or less.

After a notice of violation was sent to the property owners, Todd and Melissa Crandell, an appeal was filed.

The basis of the appeal was that the Crandell’s considered the pig, named Milo, as a “comfort animal and domesticated pig,” and wanted to keep it at their home.

During the initial hearing, Stevan Groth, an attorney for the Crandells, argued to the board that Milo is neither livestock nor a farm animal. He said the pig spends most of his time indoors and has his own room in the basement of the family home. He added that the pig is beneficial for Crandell for generalized anxiety issues and he submitted a letter with a “legitimate diagnosis from a licensed professional” to that effect.

Crandell told the board that Milo was initially brought home as a pet when the family lived elsewhere, but that he has bonded with it. The family bought the home in the township’s Twelve Lakes subdivision in March. They rented the home prior to buying it. They also argued that the limit of one acre has no rational basis.

The board, in its decision, said that that is a constitutional matter and they have no jurisdiction to determine that issue. The board wrote that the zoning resolution does not state that the animal actually is used as a farm animal or livestock, “but only that it be within” that class of animals. They noted that pigs are specifically included in the resolution prohibiting such animals. The board also determined that Crandell “does not suffer from a disability as that term is defined by” the Fair Housing Amendment Act.

Groth said he intends to file a lawsuit challenging the decision.

Motorists are likely to see a fair mixture of superheroes and princesses on the neighborhood streets of Sylvania Township from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31. That is the time period for Halloween trick or treating recently approved by the township trustees. John Zeitler, Township Administrator, told trustees those hours coincide with the hours set by the city of Sylvania. Drivers at around that time are asked to be extra vigilant for youngsters getting treats. Police will be patrolling neighborhoods to keep our children safe.

Prepping for falling leaves
Although the leaves have not yet begun their annual cascade in Sylvania Township, the road department crews have tested and prepared the necessary equipment to begin the collecting process, which will begin Oct. 15. Leaf collection will continue until the township completes its last cycle, covering 132 miles of roadway, beginning Dec. 1.

Residents will be able to track progress by going to the township website and locating a map divided into grids. Locate the property and call the township leaf-collection hotline at 419-517-1620. A recording, updated daily, will inform you where collection has taken place and where crews are expected to be working next. Rob Nash, manager of the road department, said a strict schedule is difficult to maintain because when the most leaves will fall can’t be predicted with much accuracy. Rain and snow can delay efforts to pick up the leaves. “Collecting a pile of dry leaves is a lot easier than when that pile is soggy with rain and sometimes frozen in places,” he said.

Some property owners have begun to make the chore a little easier on the crews by using a mulching mower and mowing over the fallen leaves to provide nutrients for their lawns over the winter. Several studies have found it is a beneficial way of dealing with fallen leaves as well as lawn enrichment.

Leaves cleared from the yard should be placed alongside, but not in the roadway. Much of the collecting is done using large vacuums which can be fouled if sticks, garden waste or other matter is in the leaf pile. The road department asks that you not use plastic bags and be sure the leaf pile does not include anything but leaves.

Regional grant
There was no over-sized check or any other gimmick when U.S. Rep. Bob Latta recently visited the Sylvania Township Fire Department headquarters station at the invitation of Chief Michael Ramm. The chief said he asked the representative if he could stop by so he and representatives from other departments could thank him for his work in helping obtain a regional grant of more than $700,000 for new radio equipment.

The chief said the grant was of particular importance because the equipment currently in use is a type which Motorola has said they will discontinue. “We will need to replace all of them,” Chief Ramm said, but the grant will go a long way in reducing the hit to the department’s budget.

The grant from FEMA is for $712,820. It requires a 10 percent match from each local government. The money allows for the purchase of individual portable radios and for mobile radios installed in vehicles.

Chief Ramm pointed out that each individual portable costs about $8,000, although with several area departments making a large order together there should be a good discount.

Sylvania Township’s share of the grant, including the match, will allow for the expenditure of about $100,000 for radio equipment. The chief said he had some money in the budget for radio equipment and he hopes to use some of that for needed items at the reduced price.

Mr. Latta said he was glad to be of help, and noted that firefighters, “are the ones who make our neighborhoods safe.”

John Jennewine, a township trustee who was at the meeting at the Sylvania Avenue station, said the grant is particularly welcome because the money is to be used for equipment which is critical to the performance and safety of the firefighters.