LEWIS CENTER — At the Orange Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, a continuation was granted on a zoning hearing for a proposed Sheetz station at the southwest corner of U.S. Route 23 and Orange Road.
Sheetz requested the continuation to the next trustees meeting since township staff was still requesting materials and clarifications on the project, Zoning Director Michele Boni told the trustees. The next meeting is scheduled to be held virtually at 6 p.m. May 3.
“We have received several concerns by residents, and I am keeping track of that and plan on sending the board a mass email of all the concerns,” Boni said. The Sheetz application would be part of the Route 23 Overlay.
On April 13, the Orange Township Zoning Commission recommended approval for North Farms Condominiums LLC by a 3-2 vote, Boni said. The trustees scheduled a virtual special meeting hearing date of 6 p.m. May 19.
Boni also gave a report to the trustees, saying there would be a second hearing on rezoning 5.5 acres on South Old State Road from Farm Residential to Planned Elderly Residential District for 22 independent living rentals. She said on May 11 at 7 p.m., the Zoning Commission will hear a rezoning request on more than 2 acres of Farm Residential to build three single-family homes on South Old State Road. And on May 20 at 7 p.m., three cases (variances for pools and garages) will be heard by the Orange Township Board of Zoning Appeals.
At the beginning of the meeting, Trustee Ryan Rivers said he believed there were several issues on the agenda that could run afoul of ethics concerns, including conflicts of interest.
“It is in the best interest of the township and everyone that a potential situation of grave liability and risk exposure not get any worse,” Rivers said.
Trustee Deborah Taranto said the matter could be discussed during executive session, and Trustee Chair Ben Grumbles asked what specifically was the concern.
Rivers said the board knew what it was and wouldn’t go into any more detail. “I’ve said my piece,” he said.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Taranto said, adding there were two matters she wished to discuss in executive session, which is not open to the public.
The executive session, which had been scheduled near the beginning of the meeting, was then moved to the end, which is common practice for most legislative bodies. However, when asked if she wanted to still have the executive session, Taranto declined at the end of the two-hour meeting.
In other business, trustees approved the separate purchases of a Freightliner dump truck and snow plow equipment, replacing a 2006 International. They also approved the purchase of a larger pickup truck for the Orange Township Fire Department, replacing a 2003 Dakota. Also, Supervisor Aaron James was allowed to hire a fourth maintenance worker. A resident was also allowed to transplant some perennials onto township property, and there was discussion regarding a voluntary spring trash pickup.
In addition, Fiscal Officer Lisa Kraft asked for direction on the content of the township’s website, which she said was outdated. Grumbles discussed the hiring of a permanent human resources director for the township. Taranto thought the township was large enough to warrant the position.
These votes were not unanimous, however.
“I choose to abstain as I believe this meeting is proceeding improperly,” Rivers repeatedly said during each trustee vote. When asked what was improper, he said, “I have nothing else to add.”
About an hour into the meeting, Taranto noted that after speaking to counsel, the meeting had proceeded properly. Rivers continued to abstain, however. Grumbles asked for a five-minute recess to find out what the abstention was about.
When they returned from recess, the three trustees unanimously gave consent on a liquor license for One Tired Momma LLC in the space formerly occupied by Caribbean Jerks.
In old business, trustees approved closing the Franklin Street railroad crossing, as recommended by the Ohio Rail Development Commission, CSX Transportation and Norfolk South Railway Company. Rivers again abstained.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.