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The wonderful world of zoning descends upon Canfield

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There is a plot of land located on 224, approximately 5 minutes west of Canfield High School. This plot of land has been an abandoned farm for years, and is located in the Canfield Township, not the city. A portion of it, Redgate Farms, has been annexed by the city of Canfield. The city has plans for Redgate’s development, but there is a much larger project afoot. The land surrounding Redgate Farm has been purchased and the purchasers are seeking to develop the wide stretch of land, including areas for small businesses, single family housing, multi family housing, and much more. In order for this development to happen, the developer himself is seeking a joint zoning agreement between the township and the city called a JEDD.

A JEDD is an agreement, specifically in Ohio, between a city and a township to work together to provide mutual benefits for certain areas. The taxes are split between both parties, and both parties benefit from the agreement. However, this agreement is still in the works. Nothing has been voted for yet.

Canfield Town Hall

The Zoning Commission board of Canfield Township met a few weeks ago in a town hall meeting to discuss and make recommendations to the Trustees over the specific zoning of the area. Many citizens attended this meeting, including the developer himself. At the end of the meeting, the board voted to not recommend the current zoning plan, citing certain facets that they found less beneficial to the Township constituents.

On May 1st, the Township Trustees held a town hall to hear citizen input and analyze the recommendation given to them by the Zoning Commission. 

The town hall began, just with most other government meetings, with the pledge of allegiance. From there, Township Trustee Marie Cartwright gave a recap of the previous meetings. After that, the Trustee board opened up the floor to citizens for their concerns.

A tentative map of the development plans.

Most citizens were upset with the proposal. One individual exclaimed, “It’s a dictatorship! It’s a done deal.”

Not everyone was as critical, however. Some hopeful comments included, “This will be first-class,” and “We need a little bit of forward thinking.”

The Trustee Board clearly had the residents’ best interests in mind, but they really have limited options. As Cartwright put it, “None of us can stop development.”

On May 21st, the Trustee Board will vote on the zoning, and further down the line will vote on the JEDD agreement. If the Township refuses to work with the developer, the city is allowed to outright annex the territory, negating any positive effects from the JEDD. The citizens are against this idea.

“You can’t just annex me!” one individual said.

Brian Governor, another Trustee, tried to alleviate fears, saying, “We would fight annexation.” He further admitted that fighting annexation is usually unsuccessful, but they would do it regardless if it meant helping their residents.

After considerable back and forth, the developer himself finally spoke up, “If this fails here, we will annex to the city.” He then began explaining his plans and put rumors to rest. He said many things such as, “We’re not here to try and rip off the community.”

He did his very best to allay fears of the citizens, but was insistent on pressing forward, saying, “The time is up. It needs to happen.”

The developer himself is a resident of the Township, and has promised to retire in the very development he is planning to build. By the end of his speech, the citizens had appeared to be considerably less agitated.

The Trustee Board itself is trying to do what is best for their residents, but there isn’t much they can really do to halt development. They will be voting on the zoning changes on May 21st, 2018. Until then, citizens wait with baited breath.

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The wonderful world of zoning descends upon Canfield