–by Mike Jones

Budget news

With a report on three-fourths of the year’s budget for Sylvania Township on the books, David Simko, the township’s chief financial officer, told trustees he was pleased with the financial situation. He noted that most departments have already received most of the funds they will get for the year and that all departments have spent less than the 75 percent of the budget they might have been expected to spend at that point. Simko added that the income portion of the budget is determined by the township’s share of taxes and other predictable sources, but it is up to the staff and managers of township departments to keep an eye on spending every year to keep the books in balance.
“The spending is staying under control and that’s a really good thing,” he told trustees.
In recent years, he said, budget negotiations always start out with a clean slate. The township administration does not penalize a department that has come in well under budget for the preceding year. Some places, he said, will take the attitude that if you didn’t need it last year, you won’t need it this year. Mr. Simko said that attitude leads departments to overspend some years so they aren’t penalized. The Sylvania Township budgeting process also is not puffed up so that coming in under budget is easy. He said he thinks the benefits of an honest, collaborative budgeting process are clear.
At the end of September, the general fund had spent $1.4 million or 68.2 percent of its annual budget. The road department had spent a little over $1.5 million, only 41.4 percent of its budget. That percentage is likely to rise when bills are paid for late road work and leaf collection. The fire department had spent $5.9 million, or 62 percent of its budget and police had expenditures of $5.5 million or 71 percent of its budget.

Zoning appeal granted

The Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals has granted a conditional use home occupation permit for brewing beer to a couple on Merriweather. Home occupation permits are issued with some regularity, but no one recalls one being issued before for a small brewery.
Megan Perry told board members that she and her husband, Michael, hope to sell their product to local bars and restaurants and also to market it as a retail product. Perry told the board that the brewing process they intend to use is all electrical and there will be no open flames used in brewing. They also assured the board that the process will not produce any noticeable noise, odors or vibrations.
In a letter to the planning office, she said, “We like our neighbors and our quiet neighborhood. We would not do anything to jeopardize that relationship or atmosphere.” There also will be no signage or any exterior changes to the home, she said.
The planning office recommended approval of the application as long as the couple obtain all the required licenses and approvals from other governmental agencies.
Zoning change
Two areas along West Sylvania, one at Silica and the other near Herr Road, have had zoning changed by the Sylvania Township board of trustees to facilitate development of those locations.
The property near Herr, 8819 West Sylvania Ave. and 8739 West Sylvania Ave., is for future development of a planned light manufacturing and warehouse facility, according to Karlene Henderson, township planning and zoning manager. In recommending approval, she noted that the light industrial classification is in line with the township’s recently approved land use plan.
She added that the light industrial use would be compatible with surrounding property uses.
John McHugh, an attorney representing the property owner, said that development of the land would be “market driven.” He added that to say a development would be within two years would be too optimistic, but to say five years would be too pessimistic.
The other rezoning is for property at 7901 West Sylvania along with a parcel at 3839 Silica. The area of about 17 acres is now zoned for either light industrial use or general commercial.
George Oravecz, a consulting engineer on the project, said about 1.5 acres of the property is intended for use as a veterinary clinic and animal hospital.

Senior living facility

A plan by the operators of Oakleaf Village and The Grove on Holland-Sylvania Road to construct a 54-unit, four-story senior living facility received the approval of a conditional use permit and some needed variances by the Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals.
For the proposal to go forward, the company has asked for re-zoning, which will later be considered by Sylvania Township. The potential structure would be on the north side of the current facility and meant for people who are, “relatively independent, but would benefit from supportive services,” according to the company.
Wallick Communities, the owner of the complex, said the new building would have 42 one-bedroom units and 12 two-bedroom units. They estimate about 68 residents would live in the building.
Generally, developments of this nature require that only 40 percent of the acreage be covered by a building, parking lots, drives, etc. In this instance, there would be 57 percent coverage specific to the development. The township planning staff noted the issue but pointed out that the overall Oakleaf/Grove development site “is developed and generously landscaped with mature trees, shrubs, etc.”
Other variances approved for the proposed development related primarily to distances from property boundaries.
The property currently has split zoning and the company has asked that the area zoned as general commercial be rezoned to a planned unit development and that zoning as a planned unit development also be established for the portion now zoned as residential.