–by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: 05.02.17
Sylvania Township, as measured by single-family housing permits, is continuing a pace of steady growth from the period when real estate starts nationally tanked with the general economy. Through the month of March this year, the township has issued 29 permits, an increase of slightly more than 25 percent, compared to the same time period last year when the township had issued 23. Five years ago, through March, the township had issued 16.
Daryl Graus, manager of the zoning and planning office, said there has been no single development with a large number of houses, simply a steady stream of builders seeking permits for construction in various areas of the community.
Although the number of permits has demonstrated a gradual increase, the estimated value of the dwellings this year took a decided leap. The estimated value of homes for which permits were granted last year at the end of March was $5.25 million. This year the value of the homes jumped to $10.57 million.
Last year the township issued an even 100 housing permits, the first time since 2006 it had reached triple digits. In that year the township got to a total of 134.
Noting the vagaries of the real estate and construction markets, Mr. Graus said he would shy away from making any predictions, but hopes to see the growth trajectory continue.
Conditional Use Permit
The Lucas County Plan Commission has recommended approval for a conditional use permit for a short-term, behavior-care hospital on King Road, just north of Sylvania Avenue. The commission also recommended approval of a zoning change from agricultural to residential for the 3.15-acre site. If the zoning change requests are approved in the future by the Sylvania Township trustees the property will be developed as a single-story building with 23 beds.
The hospital will specialize in providing individual, family, recreation and group therapies. Typically the programs last about two weeks while the patients are in the hospital.
Land has been cleared, although construction hasn’t yet begun on a senior-living apartment building on a tract abutting on the north of the area for the proposed hospital. It is proposed that the development will have to have drives along the 275-foot frontage of King Road.
The plan commission staff in their report encouraged both landscaping and a solid privacy fence along the eastern edge of the property to effectively shield the hospital use from the established residential neighborhood.
Sylvania Township trustees, with a 2-1 vote agreed to have discussions concerning the possibility of forming joint economic development zones with the city of Sylvania which, in the future could allow for sharing tax revenues. The agreement stipulates that township and city officials will meet a minimum of three times each year to discuss collaboration on economic development possibilities concerning the two entities.
David Simko, fiscal officer for the township, termed it an “agreement to agree,” and though it binds neither party to much of anything other than discussions, he added, “It’s a good way for us to keep in touch.” He noted that there have been strained relations between the city and township when the city has annexed township property and that these meetings may reduce clashes in the future.
Joint economic development districts can be formed by governments, which allow both to share in revenue created by commercial activity on a specific site.
Chairman John Jennewine, who voted against the agreement, questioned whether it might be better to wait until the township’s new land use plan, currently being developed, is finished before entering into the agreement. He also said he had been contacted recently by business owners who were concerned about what they feared was the possibility of an annexation move by the city. Trustees John Crandall and Neal Mahoney voted in favor of the measure.
The Sylvania Township Zoning Commission has recommended approval of three amendments to the township’s zoning resolution. If approved by the township trustees, the new regulation will reduce the requirement of five acres for property to have a pond to a three-acre parcel.
The staff of the township planning office noted that until 2002, the township regulations had ranged from three to five acres depending on the zoning district of the site. The staff could not find a record of why the resolution was changed to uniformly require five acres for a pond.
The staff also found that because of the earlier regulations, most existing residential ponds in the township are on parcels of less than five acres. The proposed amendment will require a rear setback of 50 feet from the rear property line to reduce nuisance and safety concerns with neighboring properties.
The township currently has a time limit of seven days during which political signs may be left standing after an election. Daryl Graus, manager of the township’s planning and zoning office, told members of the commission that he had been told by the Lucas County prosecutor’s office, that the limit would likely not survive a challenge in court. He said that regulations of that sort have been found to be an infringement on freedom of speech. Township regulations will continue to bar signs in the public right-of-way and to limit them to no more than a total of 16 square feet.
Current regulations ban the parking of recreational and utility vehicles in front of a line established by the front of the primary building on a property. The proposed amendment to the zoning resolution would exempt commercial dealers from that restriction.