Berlin trustees plan hearing about rezoning controversy

By D. Anthony Botkin -

Berlin Township Trustees have scheduled a public hearing to consider the rezoning of 24 acres of land from Farm Residential to Planned Industrial Development in order to facilitate construction of a concrete batching facility.

Savko Brothers Properties X, LLC approached the Berlin Township Zoning Commission requesting the rezoning measure for a development called Savko Commerce Park that includes a cement plant. The land is located along U.S. 36 and State Route 37 and has been the center of much controversy since proposed in March. The township’s Master Land Use plan calls for the area to be rezoned commercial with several hundred feet on both sides of highway zoned farm residential.

Since the proposal was made there have been reports that Berlin Township’s zoning commission meetings have had larger than normal attendance for discussions about the rezoning of the land.

In an email to The Gazette, Eric Cameron, a Berlin Township resident who lives on Plunkett Road, wrote, “An almost 4 hour zoning meeting was very heated in late April. Citizens have organized and are firmly united in opposition to this plan.”

The zoning commission’s sign-in sheet shows that 52 residents attended the April 25 meeting referenced by Cameron.

Trustee Adam Fleischer said he will be out of the country and unavailable for the hearing, which is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Trustee Steve Flaherty said the trustees needed a public meeting to accept the tabling of the proposal.

“We don’t have the right to accept (the proposal) but in a public meeting,” he said.

“We need to have everybody there,” said Trustee Ron Bullard. “We’ve got 30 days from tonight to set up the hearing.”

Bullard said if they want to have it, he thought the board should go ahead with the hearing, but if the board votes and there is a tie between the two trustees, “it becomes a dead issue.”

However, he said, “They can ask it to be tabled” before the vote so it doesn’t become a dead issue in the hearing.

“We let them know now that we’ve got two trustees available on Sept. 11 and we can hear it,” he said. “If they want three trustees, it is their option to table the proposal and Sept. 25 is the alternative for all three trustees to hear it.”

Bullard said that gives trustees the option to hold the hearing anytime they choose.

“I expect the meeting could last a long time,” Bullard said.

By D. Anthony Botkin

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.