UNION — City council held a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 12 on a change of zoning from Agricultural – Residential to Light-Industrial involving more than 158 acres of land recently annexed from Butler Twp.
The land is located on the south side of N. Montgomery County Line Road and west of Dog Leg Road. All adjoining land owners were made aware of the rezoning and the city placed legal notices in local newspapers of the impending zoning change. The file dealing with the annexation has also been on display in city hall for review and for people to ask questions.
No one spoke in opposition to the rezoning. However, one area resident addressed council over traffic issues occurring on N. Montgomery County Line Road.
“I am not against development because that is what I do for a living, but I worry about the traffic that you guys are pushing to County Line,” said Shelly Miller. “It is dangerous. We all need to look at it. There is no sign that is big enough to tell the trucks that they can’t come down my part of County Line because of the cemetery. They get down there and then have to back all the way back out. It is probably one or two a day right now… maybe three. It’s a mess because there is nowhere to go.”
Miller said she has had to sit at the end of her driveway for as long 20 minutes waiting for a semi to get out of the way. She said it is a nuisance and that somebody needs to do something to address the issue.
“When you re-route the traffic even though it’s not set up to, the traffic always goes down County Line,” Miller noted. “The road fell apart completely and had potholes everywhere. It kind of got fixed by patching it.”
Miller said that signs need to be erected stating trucks cannot access the road because they cannot get past the cemetery. She said Monroe Twp. needs to pay attention as well, but when contacted she said they stated that they could not do anything about it.
“It is their road. It is Miami County,” said City Manager John Applegate. “We are aware of the issues. We have tried our best to address it.”
Miller countered that there is a sign in place that says that the road is closed, but that nobody pays any attention to it.
“I can tell you, where we are doing our work extending the water and sewer… every day at least six to eight tractor trailers drive through the road closed sign from all directions and literally think they can drive through an open ditch,” Applegate said. “We have notified a couple of the trucking companies that we are going to start fining them and it is going to be expensive. By law, you cannot drive through a road closed sign and it is as simple as that, but nobody pays attention.”
Miller said the tiny sign in place on County Line states the road is not accessible to large trucks, but the sign is no bigger than approximately one foot high by two feet wide.
“Nobody can see that at night. It’s ridiculous,” Miller stated.
Applegate assured Miller that he would contact the Miami County engineer to see what can be done. He added that if the city puts up a sign, Monroe Twp. would take it down because it is their roadway.
Councilman John Bruns asked Applegate if the city could actually issue tickets on that road since it isn’t in Union’s jurisdiction. Applegate said the police department can issue tickets since part of the road is adjacent to the Union Corporation Limit.
After the public hearing was closed council Councilmember Robin Perkins questioned why the ordinance to change the zoning needed to be dealt with in one reading as an emergency.
Applegate said the reason was to make the rezoning official. Perkins responded that she did not think that was “a reason to do it.”
“We have 60 days to act on it, which is required by our code and we are no longer meeting twice a month,” Applegate said. “We’d like it to be passed for the owners of the property and because of what we do to promote our industrial park is in place. Now that it is in the city we want to make it known that the land is available.”
“I’m not sure I am convinced that-that is an emergency,” Perkins said. “We will have three meetings during that 60 day period. I want to support you, but I need a good reason for that.”
Applegate said the city wants the zoning changed so that any interested party could purchase the land.
“If we change the way we do things any time we have a whim then we need to change the law,” Perkins added.
Bruns and Mayor Michael O’Callaghan said they did not consider the reasoning a whim.
“I am just trying to understand the compelling reason,” Perkins stated. “I’m sure you have one, but I am not hearing it.”
Applegate said the need for an emergency follows what the city has established as a policy in that area for rezoning everything to light-industrial.
“Somebody can walk in tomorrow and know that land is in the city, but if I tell them it won’t be rezoned until January or February, developers that are interested in that ground are not going to wait,” Applegate stated. “We need to act. The owners of the land are here and we have told them we would take the necessary action to rezone it now so that the land is in the city to comply and to make it available for sale.”
Perkins thanked Applegate for the explanation and voted with other members of council to adopt the ordinance as an emergency.