Genoa Township trustees opened a special zoning meeting recently, but the session failed to get beyond the introductory stages before discussion was suspended and the issue tabled.
The issue on the table July 27 was the Cardinal Self-Storage final development plan amendment for a facility at 6159 Maxtown Road. Specifically, Cardinal Self-Storage developers were requesting an additional 25,400 square feet approved for the project, almost 40 percent more than the 65,000 square feet in the original development plan.
The project is located on parcels totaling 6.2 acres which are zoned for planned industrial warehouse use and light industrial.
Speaking for Cardinal was Joe Miller, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and a member of the Vorys litigation group. Miller’s practice is focused on land use, real estate and eminent domain litigation.
Miller opened his remarks by asking Trustee Frank Dantonio to recuse himself from both discussion and a final vote in the variance request.
“As you are aware, you sit tonight as a quasi-judicial body in an administrative hearing that may be appealed to the court of common pleas, but tonight you sit as judges in this matter,” Miller told trustees. “Mr. Dantonio needs to recuse himself as he has shown himself to be prejudiced and biased in this matter.”
As exhibits supporting his request, Miller produced a July 27, 2015, article from the Delaware Gazette and a June 2016 email Dantonio sent to township zoning commission members Connie Goodman, William E. Jackson II, Mark Antonetz, Shawn Priebe, Sandra Faulkner, Jo McIntosh and Tara Paciorek, and township development and zoning director Joe Shafer.
Miller said the Gazette article indicates Dantonio’s predisposition to the denial of variance requests in general; and the email to each of the zoning commission members expresses adamant and detailed opposition to the Cardinal Self-Storage variance request.
“I would submit that under Ohio law he cannot serve as a judge in this quasi-judicial matter,” Miller said. “It demonstrates his prejudgment in this matter before evidence is heard, and in fact before the zoning commission even took the matter up.”
Saying that the request was irregular, trustee chair Rick Carfagna called a brief recess to consult with the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office for advice on how to proceed. Following a consultation with Andrew King at the prosecutor’s office, Carfagna recommended a continuance to allow time to obtain further legal guidance in the matter.
Dantonio was silent throughout most of the exchange.
“I am currently in discussion with the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office and have no comment at this time,” Dantonio said Aug. 1.
The tabled request will be continued, with legal counsel in chambers, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, at the township administration building conference room, with a backup date of Tuesday, Aug. 16.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.