–by Mike Jones

Zoning change
Sylvania Township trustees, by a vote of 2-1, have approved zone changes that will pave the way for construction of a 54-unit, four-story senior living facility on the Holland-Sylvania campus of Oak Leaf Village. The plan also recently received the approval of a conditional use permit and some needed variances by the Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals.

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. The property had split zoning but now is a planned unit development.

Dr. Walter Stoll, a dentist with an office at 4206 Holland-Sylvania Ave., said he had no objections to the overall project but was concerned about parking issues at his office.

Dr. Stoll’s office abuts the Oak Leaf/Grove campus on the north, south and east. He said that not long after The Grove, a memory-care facility, opened to his south, he and members of his staff began to notice cars parked in his lot that did not belong to them or to patients. He and his staff have seen people get out of cars in his lot and go into the Grove. Some people heading to his office have had to park in a lot across Holland-Sylvania to get to his office.

He said he didn’t complain initially because he wanted to be a good neighbor and that there had not been any difficulties in the past. Nevertheless, he said he was concerned about controlling parking in relation to the residential units.

Trustee John Jennewine said he voted against the rezoning largely because he would have preferred that the parking issues at the dentist’s office would have been more specifically addressed.

New police uniforms
In the next few months, Sylvania Township residents will notice a change in its police officers. Instead of the township’s traditional tan uniforms, they will be clad in the more nationally traditional dark blue. The change is generated by a number of factors, but one of the main reasons is cost. Chief Paul Long pulled at his trouser leg and said they would cost about $90 to replace, while dark blue pants would be around $70. He noted that availability is another issue.

Officers are responsible for their uniforms and the risk of having to special order an item, which has become torn or stained can pose a problem. The chief said uniform supply companies keep a large number of blue uniform components on hand, but not as many in tan.

Police officers are given a $700 annual stipend for uniforms, but next year, he said, they will give that up in order to make the switch to blue. Long said he is trying to get a price where officers won’t have to give up all of the stipend. He also will use money from the department’s Furtherance of Justice Fund for the initial purchase. The reduction in the stipend will be limited to next year, he added. Chief Long said there is no deadline for introducing the new uniforms and that it is likely the shoulder patch will have a slight redesign as well.

Enterprise Zone
The Sylvania Township trustees have agreed to enter into an enterprise zone agreement with Lucas County and Kripke Enterprises, Inc., to allow for the renovation of a building at 8201 West Central Ave., the former home of Riechert Stamping, near Centennial Road.

John Zeitler. township administrator told trustees than Kripke Enterprises, a non-ferrous scrap brokerage firm, which specializes in aluminum, needs a larger facility for its expanding business. The company intends to invest up to $5.8 million to renovate the building and hire an additional 25 full-time employees next year. The firm has a current workforce of 22.

The enterprise zone was established by the county commissioners in 1995. By entering into the enterprise zone, the company will receive a 10-year tax abatement on the assessed value of the improvements made to the property. Mr. Zeitler said the company will pay real estate taxes on the property minus the improvements.

He also noted that to benefit the Sylvania City School District, Kripke negotiated a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement in which the company will pay the schools a minimum of $30,000 annually for the 10-year period. Through the agreement, Mr. Zeitler said, no entity loses tax revenue, the schools gain funding and the township no longer has a large, deteriorating building in its boundaries, but has an attractive, renovated building with an active and growing business.

Wellness Committee Get-Together
The last event of this year’s activities sponsored by the Sylvania Township wellness committee was a holiday get-together with a bit of a twist. All of the food items were made by township employees, but all were made with healthier ingredients than are usually part of the recipe.

Samantha Babkiewicz, of wellness committee, said about 40 employees signed in at the event at the Sylvania Avenue fire station, but it’s likely that a number of co-workers were there, but failed to sign the register.
She added that 25 submitted recipes and made and brought in the treats to be enjoyed by those who attended the lunch. Those who brought in something to share got 8 points added to their total for the year. Employees got 2 points just for sampling some of the delicious treats on hand and mingling with friends and colleagues.

Employees of the township can work toward a points goal through participating in committee-sponsored events throughout the year.
Some events are physical and some are talks by people who are experts in fields such as the importance of sleep or vitamins. Points can also be gained simply by having a regular physical exam.

Ms. Babkiewicz said that over the course of this year, 90 different employees were involved in at least one of the committee’s activities.
At the end of the year, those who have compiled 40 points receive $50. Those with 60 points can get either $150 or a day off work, and there is a $50 bonus for anyone reaching 85 points.

The program was initiated to stress healthy living and hopefully contain health-care costs. It also is meant to have a healthy and therefore a more efficient and upbeat workforce.