XENIA TWP. OHIO – Central State University’s request to rezone two parcels across the street from the university was denied last night during the Xenia Township trustee’s meeting. The university sought to rezone property in order to build an administration building. Neighboring residents and Chief Fox spoke opposing the request during last months’ public hearing. Trustees tabled their decision until their denial last night.
With a unanimous vote opposing the rezoning, Trustee Scott Miller said, “I’d reiterate that the project is not a negative for the community or for Central State. It all hinged on the location requested for this facility.”
Central State University requested that two parcels located at 1481 U.S. 42 East that are currently zoned as R1 (single residential) be rezoned to IG (Institutional government). This rezoning would permit the university to construct a larger administration building across the street from the main campus.
“Central State has a nice campus and there’s a good amount of land out there that is part of that campus and anything we can do to help support that campus and the community, I’m in favor of doing. But, to expand the tax exempt portion of the land outside of the existing campus – I’m not in favor of that,” Trustee Miller said. “There’s a good amount of state owned land that’s been set aside for Central State. Most of that I would classify as agricultural. To put this type of building on some of that land makes more sense to me. To put an administrative building across 42 doesn’t mix well with a residential area. It’s a matter of location and that’s the largest part of the concern.”
Trustee L. Stephen Combs agreed. “I believe there are better options and should be considered. If there were no other optioned for this project, I might be for it. But, that’s not the case.”
Although safety and location issues also concerned Trustee Susan Spradlin, she also found contradictions in the comments made by several representatives of Central State and E&C Services where they referred to plans of the construction of multiple facilities on the same parcels, instead of the proposed structure. In reviewing the public hearing minutes, she also noted several comments regarding heavy traffic flow. Trustee Spradlin reviewed a previous traffic study and conducted several onsite personal inspections of the area.
“I’ve read every letter. I’ve listened and spoken with people. I’ve gone to the site and read the notes from the hearings. I heard everything,” Trustee Spradlin said. “When you purchase a property that is zoned residential, agricultural, commercial or whatever, there is no guarantee that you will ever be able to get the zoning changed. You purchase it knowing that it’s zoned what it’s zoned.”
“We have to make the best decision based on information that we’ve received, we’ve heard or that we’ve read and the input that’s we’ve received. Our zoning department has recommended us to approve this. The residents who live in this area have asked us not to approve it. The Greene County Regional Planning Commission has suggested that we do an overlay. So we have three different opinions about what Central State is asking to be rezoned.”
Although some left the meeting feeling defeated and disheartened, some left feeling the system prevailed and that every option and suggestion was considered.
“I was very proud of our trustees for how well they handled the situation [rezoning request of Central State property]. Yes, they voted the way I wanted them to, but because of the amount of research and the amount of thought they put into it whatever decision they would’ve made would have been respected,” Xenia Township resident Janis James said.