Possible Changes to Zoning
A discussion on possible changes to zoning regulations which allow for assisted living centers to be placed on property zoned for agricultural use ended with the possibility of a wholesale review of land use in Sylvania Township.

Township trustees were prompted to consider the assisted living topic by early inquiries from a Chicago-area firm considering the construction of a home for older people on Mitchaw Road north of Brint Road.

John Jennewine, chairman of the trustees, said he is concerned about the ability of developers of these facilities to apply for a special use permit which is decided by the board of zoning appeals, rather than go through the rezoning process.

He said he would prefer that developments of that nature would seek rezoning in which plans must be reviewed by the Lucas County Plan Commission, the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission and receive final approval from the township trustees.

A few days after the meeting, the potential development which created the discussion submitted plans to the township zoning department indicating that they intend to seek rezoning rather than ask for a conditional use permit for the facility.

Plans call for a 96-bed assisted living facility with 15 duplex senior independent living villas. All of the buildings will be one floor on the 15-acre parcel. Although the construction will largely be on Mitchaw, the address of the land is 9330 Brint Rd.

The developers will seek rezoning from agricultural to a residential planned unit development.

Daryl Graus, manager of the Township Zoning Department, told trustees at their meeting that under the broad definition, group homes may have 10 or fewer residents or range up to large facilities where many citizens may be housed.

John Zeitler, township administrator, said he had been told by the township's legal council that the trustees could make categories for conditional use permits within specific zoning classifications.

Trustee John Crandall said he would be opposed to changing zoning procedures just to block one project, but added that he would be on board with a thorough review of the township land use plan and zoning regulations.
Trustee Neal Mahoney said he has confidence in the five-member board of zoning appeals. He noted that they are appointed by the trustees and said they have education and experience in dealing with issues brought in front of them, he said they have made tough decisions in the past.

Mr. Jennewine said his concern with the facilities is the strain they place of the fire department with the number of health-related runs they are called on to make.

Mr. Graus said the development firm, Greenberg Farrow opting to have a hearing at the meeting of the Lucas County Plan Commission scheduled for November 11. He added that it may be the issue can't be heard by the commission prior to their December 17 meeting.

He added that the developer is hoping to meet informally with neighbors of the project before the commission meeting.

Posted: 10/28/2014
They just came in in on the last couple of days of October, but the permits for the construction of single family homes caused the number of permits to surpass the the total for all of 2013.
Daryl Graus, manager of the township's office of planning and zoning department, said permits issued for single-family housing construction totaled 84 through October.
He noted that the total for all 2013 was 81, The year prior saw a total of only 50 single-family housing permits.
Mr. Graus acknowledged that the last two months of the year are slow when it comes to permits for construction of houses but that there are likely to be a few.
No matter what the final total will be, Mr. Graus said the continuing increase is an indication of the slow, but steady improvement in the local economy.
Posted: 11/20/2014


The Lucas County Planning Commission has recommended approval of zoning changes which will allow one site to expand and another to be established in the northwest portion of Sylvania Township.

Sunset Retirement Communities is seeking a zoning change from agricultural to a residential planned unit development for expansion of its development at 9640 Sylvania-Metamora Rd.

Sunset currently operates a 110-unit residential care facility on the site.

They are seeking the zoning change in order to construct a rehabilitation center, a clubhouse and 16 duplexes.  The rehabilitation center will be built near the existing facility and the clubhouse will be built nearer the planned duplexes in southeast portion of Sunset's grounds.

In recommending approval, the county zoning staff noted that the plan is in compliance with requirements for density and open space and is consistent with the Sylvania Township Land Use Plan.
Jack Smith, a former principal in the Sylvania Schools system, spoke of the high degree of care shown to his parents by the staff at Sunset.  No one spoke in opposition to the rezoning request  and commissioners voted unanimously to recommend the zoning change.

The issue is scheduled to be heard by the township zoning commission Dec. 10.
The final decision rests with the Sylvania Township trustees who will hear it after the township commission makes its recommendation.

Also unanimously recommended for approval is a request of a change from agricultural zoning to a residential planned unit development with an address of 9330 Brint Rd.

Although that is the address of the property, the 15.34-acre site in question fronts Mitchaw Road north of Brint.
The change is being requested for the construction of a senior housing project which is planned to include an 85-bed residential care facility, a clubhouse and 15 duplexes.

The care facility will be a single-story building of about 60,000 sq. ft. and the duplex units will each be 1,536 sq. ft.
The commission staff noted that a landscaping plan has not been provided, but that they recommend landscaping and screening along the perimeter of the project, particularly to the north where zoning requires single-family homes.
One area resident, David Richardson, told the commission he had no specific complaint about the project, but said the current 55 mph speed limit on Mitchaw should be lowered.
He noted that Pacesetter Park at Sylvania-Metamora Road is often busy with soccer and other sports and that at and near Brint there are now two schools.
The senior living facility will just add to the amount of cars on the two-lane road.
Keith Early, Lucas County Engineer who is on the zoning commission, acknowledged there might not have been a traffic study since the elementary school was built, said he would look into the issue.

The zoning staff commented that the proposed development is in line with density and open space requirements and that it complies with the Sylvania Township Land Use Plan.
The township zoning commission will hear the issue Dec. 10, and the township trustees will have the final decision after the commission makes its recommendation.
Posted: 11/20/2014
Sylvania Township trustees recently accepted the retirement of two department managers, and John Zeitler, township administrator, said the retirements will result in some changes to the organizational structure of those departments.
Gregory Huffman will retire as public works manager and Jim Beck is retiring from his position as director of accounting and budgeting.
The public works manager post will be eliminated, but Mr. Huffman will continue to be employed by the township until Dec. 31, 2015  as a project coordinator.
Mr. Zeitler said the organization of the department is under study. The public works department is responsible for the roads and bridges of the township, for leaf and brush removal, snow clearing, the township cemetery and upkeep of the fleet of township vehicles.
The new temporary position for Mr. Huffman will be limited to 28 hours per week at a rate of $35 per hour.
The township intends to create a new position in that department, according to Mr. Zeitler.
He said that by the time the project coordinator job ends next year, there should be a total savings of about $52,000 annually.
Mr. Beck will be replaced by Scott Smith, a retired director of finance for the city of Sylvania, although the job will now be for 24 hours a week at a pay scale of $34 pr hour.
Mr. Becks position had been full time until last year, when it was reduced to four days per week.
Including that reduction, the overall savings for that department should be about $58,000 per year.
As part of that calculation, Mr. Zeitler said, is the fact that medical benefits won't be included for the now part-time positions.
Posted: 11/7/2014 
Voters in Sylvania Township and the city of Sylvania have approved a 1.5 mil levy for the Sylvania Township Fire Department which serves both communities.

 The levy passed by a vote of 8,713 in favor of the levy, with 6,691 voting against it. In terms of percentage it was 56.56 in favor with 43.44 against.

 The new levy is projected to collect about $1.8 million annually and officials project that it should be sufficient to operate the fire department for seven years before additional revenue will be needed.

 The levy request was prompted by a deficit of $1.3 million which would have occurred in the department's budget in 2016 at current revenue and expense levels.

 Sylvania Township Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski said his first reaction was one of, "thanks to the citizens for their decision in supporting us."

 He said the campaign for the levy has been based on transparency and honesty. Just a matter of showing the numbers and explaining what the department had been doing and what they hoped to do in the future. And the cost of the service.

 Chief Kowalski said that the 13 percent margin showed that voters understood the issue and that they had confidence in the fire department.

 He noted that the department as a whole was enthusiastic because of the outcome.

 "We look forward to continuing the high level of service the citizens have come to expect," the chief said.

 John Jennewine, president of the Sylvania Township trustees, told the chief at a Trustee meeting the next day, that the outcome, "shows how much your department means to everybody.

 He said he looks forward to the good work the department will be doing.

 John Crandall, a trustee who worked actively for the levy, said passage will allow the department to keep up with the demands of a growing community.

 Those supporting the levy, stressed the fact that the community has grown about 10 percent in the last 10 years, with calls for service to the fire department showing a jump of 48 percent. The department personnel in that time frame was decreased by 8 percent.

 Passage will allow for the hiring of up to three additional firefighters, continuing increase in part-time firefighters, and the replacement of two fire engines and other vehicles which have reached the end of their usefulness.

 The department will be able to extend its equipment replacement program. The goal is to schedule replacements with an aim to eventually reduce the total number of department vehicles from 21 to 17.

 The department also intends to reinstate the practice of transporting patients to the hospital if a private ambulance will not be available within 20 minutes.
Posted: 11/6/2014 
King Road 
Sylvania Township trustees have approved rezoning a site in the 2700 block of King Road for the construction of a 23-house development.
The site, south of Central Avenue, is about 7 acres which currently has one unoccupied residence.
Plans for the development call for construction of a street off of King Road to the west for the houses.
George Oravecz, consulting engineer for the project, told trustees that plans call for single-story, owner-occupied houses of about 2,000 Sq. Ft. He said they would be similar in style to the houses across King Road to the east.
In an earlier hearing by the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission, Mr. Oravecz said the developers will be responsible for cleaning Smith Ditch along the property and placing material along its banks to retard erosion.
Both the commission and the Lucas County Plan Commission had recommended approval for the rezoning.
Posted: 11/6/2014
The first sweep of Sylvania Township streets went well this year in large measure due to a fair amount of dry weather, according to Gregory Huffman, township services manager.

Mr. Huffman told trustees at their most recent meeting that crews should be into the second sweep and the hope is for good weather.

Township crews primarily use a vacuum devised trailed behind trucks to pick up the piled leaves. Soggy leaves have a tendency to clog the machinery and slow the process.

 For the same reason, the department asks that property owners be careful to not allow anything but leaves into the piles for collection.

Residents are asked to pile the leaves near the street, but not in the street and also to not use plastic bags.

A last circuit of township roads will begin on the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend.
Posted: 11/6/2014
A total of five positions on three different board have terms expiring at the beginning of the year and the Sylvania Township administration is welcoming applications from residents interested in serving on those bodies.
A three-year term for one position on the board of the Sylvania Joint Area Recreation District will be open for an appointment.
One five-year term on the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission will also be open as well as a one-year appointment as the alternate member of that board.
A five-year term on the Sylvania Township Board of Zoning Appeals is going to be open as well as a one-year appointment as an alternate member.
An application form is available at  under Administration, then click on the heading General.
Applications are due by Nov. 30.
Fire Safety
They stood side by side, constructions which resembled small family rooms, with one wall missing. The missing wall allowed the crowd to see the drapery, couch, overstuffed chair and a television on a stand.

They were the sets behind the Sylvania Township Fire Department No. 4 station on Sylvania Avenue which hosted the third annual Fire Safety Fair recently.

A firefighter used a flare to start a flame at the rear of one of the structures, which quickly caught the drapery. For a time, the wind caused flames to disperse and it seemed like they might die, but one tongue of flame began to lick at the chair.

Once the chair became involved, the entire room was quickly engulfed in flame and rolling dark smoke. A firefighter stationed in front of the set, sent a powerful stream of water into the room and the blaze was extinguished.

A crowd of many of the 900 people who attended this event oohed and aahed at the exhibition, which Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski said was meant to demonstrate how quickly a fire, even one which looks small, can erupt into and uncontrollable blaze.

The other structure was also set on fire, but it had a sprinkler system which quickly doused the flames before they could cause much damage.

The demonstration was the centerpiece of an event which brought a record number of people to the Sylvania Township fire station for a hands-on opportunity to learn about the department and for safety lessons.

Youngsters, with the help of firefighters, were allowed to hold fire hoses and aim the stream to push down flame cutouts. They were also allowed to scramble through fire engines--sitting in the driver’s seat or just wondering about the myriad pieces of technical equipment in each cab.

Mats were placed on the floor of the station where youngsters were encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of stop, drop and roll.  

The fair was the final day of events the department was involved in during Fire Prevention Week. Other events included: Crews visiting schools and presenting fire prevention tips to 1,228 children and 146 adults. About 660 school children also turned in diagrams of the rooms in their homes with the best possible escape routes diagrammed in case of a fire.

During the Fire Safety Fair, the Sylvania Township Fire Department handed out 105 smoke detectors and 75 children were fingerprinted.

Chief Kowalski said he was gratified that so many citizens came to the fair and that attendance has increased each of the three years the event has been held at the fire station.
Posted: 10/20/2014 
Rezoning has been recommended for a development of 23 houses on King Road south of Central Avenue after a hearing before the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission.

The site, at 2707 King Rd., currently has an unoccupied home sitting on seven acres.

George Oravecz, consulting engineer on the proposed development, told members of the commission preliminary plans call for single-story houses of about 2,000 sq.ft.

He said the developers will be responsible for cleaning Smith Ditch along the property, and placing material along the banks of the ditch to retard erosion.

A resident from across the street from the project said additional traffic on King Road will cause difficulties. He said traffic sometimes causes him to make a right turn out of his driveway, when he would prefer to turn left.

Mr. Oravecz said developers intend to conduct a traffic study of the area and if it shows a need, a left turn stacking lane into the development could be included in the plan to ease traffic flow.

The commission voted to recommend approval of the re-zoning request by a vote of 4-1. Tom Creque voted against approval. During the discussion he said that he would prefer that the site be developed at a lower density.

The Lucas County Plan Commission had voted unanimously to recommend approval of the rezoning.
Posted: 10/20/2014 
Two King Road properties formerly zoned residential have been approved for commercial zoning and a third has been recommended for commercial by the Sylvania Township Zoning Commission.
All three are just north of the site of the former Central Elementary School now being redeveloped for the construction of a Mercy Hospital emergency room and diagnostic center.
Sylvania Township trustees approved the two-parcel rezoning in the final step of that process and the commission recently recommended approval for the third.
That site will next go to the trustees for a decision on the rezoning request.
They are three residential properties of five which are directly north of the future emergency and diagnostic site at King and Central Avenue.
Sam Zyndorf, who has been representing the hospital in real estate issues involved in the development, said there are no specific plans for developing the residential sites.
The hospital would like for the area to have consistent zoning, but Mr. Zyndorf said the hospital has all the property and zoning it needs to develop the health care facility.
Posted: 10/20/2014 
Salt Management, will be the recurrent theme this year whenever the Sylvania Township road department heads out this winter to treat the streets due to a big jump in the price of road salt.
John Zeitler,township administrator, told trustees that the department would of course use the amount necessary to keep the roads safe, but would also be cautious when spreading the now-pricey commodity.
Trustees were told at the meeting by Gregory Huffman, public works manager, that the price of salt as negotiated by the state would be $105.25 per ton this year, compared to slightly more than $30 per ton for the salt which was purchased last year.
Although Sylvania Township had sufficient salt for our last brutal winter a number of communities either ran out of salt or were close to that point.
Mr. Huffman said the bill for township salt purchased this year will likely be about $158,000 and be included in the 2015 budget.
Posted: 10/20/2014
Arrest Within Hours 
Sylvania Township police are kept busy with many types of crime, but it's not often that crimes are committed in the township which merit headlines.
But when the result of felonies is brought to the attention of the local department, they are more than up to the job.
Deputy Police Chief Ray Carroll, a long-time investigator with the Township Police Division, said he was "so proud of our men and women. Everybody did an excellent job, including our civilian employees."
Chief Carroll was one of those early on the scene when a motorist called at about 7:30 a.m. recently to tell police a woman in distress was at Corey and Penridge roads.
He said the motorist, a nurse, was able to give the woman a blanket and keep the scene untouched until police arrived. The victim was taken to a hospital where she was interviewed by a female detective.
The victim had apparently agreed to accept a ride home with a female co-worker from their place of employment in Michigan. It is alleged that she took a drink of water from the other woman and became ill.
She was taken to a South Toledo location after a man had been picked up. It is alleged that she was attacked there and robbed.
She was later dumped at the Corey Road location.
The chief said that some evidence in the case has to remain confidential, but that officers were able to use their knowledge of the area, technology, and old-fashioned diligence to be in place to make the arrest.
In addition to solid police work, Chief Carroll said civilian employees came in to handle the paperwork required to make sure search warrants were properly obtained and that evidence gathered in the case was correctly documented.
Officers were waiting at a motel when the two suspects returned that evening.
Township officers arrested Kalyn Brinkey, 20 of White Lake, Mich., and James Bryant, 34, of 240 East Weber St.
They have both been indicted by the Lucas County grand jury on charges of attempted murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping. 
"Everybody worked hard and kept at it. I've seen police work hard before, and sometimes it just doesn't come together. But in this case, it was just nice to see that they were able to put things together and they made the arrests about 14 hours after the first call," Chief Carroll said.
Posted: 9/26/2014 
Health Screening
A total of 75 Sylvania Township employees in September took advantage of a program which provided a number of medical screening tests for free. While the three-day screenings were available, employees were also able to receive a free flu shot.
Employees who took advantage of the screening received $50 for taking part in the program and are eligible for an additional $50 if they take the screening results to their doctor, according to Susan Wood, assistant administrator and human resources director for the township.
The screenings are another of several activities offered to employees by the township's wellness committee each year. Some involve friendly competitions which encourage physical activity and others are instructional talks on a variety of health issues.
The screenings this year were September 16, 17 and 18 at the township hall. They include blood pressure readings and reading for such things as glucose, lipids and cholesterol.
Township administrators stress that the results of individual tests are confidential and not shared with the administration.
They are meant for employees to "know your numbers," and to take the results to their own doctors for any medical follow-up which may be called for.
Mrs. Wood said this year's turnout was well above the slightly less than 50 employees who took part last year.
The township embarked some years ago on efforts to improve the overall health of the workforce to combat rising health-care costs, because a health workforce is a better workforce and to simply encourage good health habits for each employees' own benefit.  
Posted: 9/26/2014 
Leaves are just in Act One their annual show, but after the last curtain the clean-up will have to get underway.
Sylvania Township trustees have approved a contract with BatanianTree Service to work alongside township crews for the annual collection of leaves.
In a community so abundant in large trees, the task is daunting especially when you consider that crews have a total 173 miles of roadway to cover.
As usual, the road department asks that leaves be piled near the roadway, but not in it. The piles should not include grass clippings or any brush.
The township uses primarily large vacuums which trail behind trucks where the leaves are collected and any foreign matter can create problems in the process.
The department also asks that property owners not pile leave near objects such as mailboxes, fire hydrants or similar obstructions.
A potential problem which no one can control is the weather. Rain or early snow turns leaf piles into soggy clumps which make collection difficult.
A practice some homeowners have begun to employ certainly reduces the workload of the crews. Some landscape professionals suggest that mowing over a covering of leaves allows the clippings to decompose over the winter and add nutrients to the soil.
A garden columnist in a newspaper once wrote about collecting leaves from the front of neighboring homes to add to those from his own yard to add to the amount of clippings he had each autumn.  
As in each recent year, the collection will begin on the third Monday in October and will continue with the last cycle beginning on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Crews will begin in the northwest corner of the township, work their way south and then west and then resume in the northeast. Each cycle takes an average of 17 days to complete.
Batanian, which will work in tandem with township crews, will be paid a total of $413.50 per hour.
Greg Huffman, public works manager, said the bid from Batanian was about $200 per hour less than other companies which had bid on the job.
Posted: 9/22/2014 
A group of Sylvania Township and Sylvania City residents have formed Sylvania Citizens for Fire Services and have kicked off their campaign in support of a levy for the township department on the ballot in November.
The 1.5 mill-levy is needed for operations for the department which faces a deficit of about $1.3 million in the projected 2016 budget.
At a rally in front of the new No. 1 fire station in downtown Sylvania, David Simko, Township fiscal officer, noted that the last department levy was passed in 2008, with a promise then that it would be sufficient for five years.
He said resources have been carefully used and that the funds from that levy have lasted for seven years.
He added that the cautions use of the funds was all the more impressive because the economic downturn resulted in less money being collected on real estate taxes than had been anticipated.
Revenue from that levy was used, among other things, to construct three new fire stations and to do a major renovation of a fourth.
John Crandall, a township trustee, told those attending the event that in the last 10 years the fire district's population has increased 9.6 percent and calls for service to the fire department have increased nearly 50 percent.
During that time, Mr. Crandall said, personnel at the fire department have been reduced by 8 percent.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski said he was at the meeting to "urge the community to get behind us."
He said the bottom line is that the population is growing and the calls for service are increasing, and that additional funds are needed to maintain the high quality of service the department provides to the community.
Funds from the levy, if passed, will make sustainable the increase from 3 to 10 part-time firefighters, restore up to 3 full-time firefighters (which would still be below the top number once employed), replace two aging engines and a medic truck, replace four support vehicles, and a set aside funding for the eventual replacement of a 1997 aerial platform truck.
The results of a six-month study of the department's current and projected operations are available on the "Hot Topics" page of the Sylvania Township website.
Retired local television personality Chrys Peterson also appeared at the rally, urging support for the levy.
Some years ago, she noted, she had needed medical help and members of the fire department had quickly provided what was needed for her then and that she is proud to support them now.
Posted: 9/15/2014
The Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals has approved variances to the township's zoning code to allow for an expansion of Yark BMW, 6055 West Central Ave.
The dealership needed primarily a variance from the required setback of 35 ft. along Fairbanks, which runs along the western boarder of the property.
Although Fairbanks is considered frontage for zoning purposes, it is more a side street, according to Jerry Parker, an attorney representing the dealership.
Mr. Parker noted that Fairbanks is used primarily as a roadway to either the Yark dealership or the White Toyota dealership on the other side of Fairbanks. The Toyota dealership, he noted, had once gotten a variance for its building along Fairbanks.
The remodeling and expansion of the building is based on directives from BMW, Mr. Parker told the board.
No one spoke in opposition to the request and the board's approval was unanimous.
The dealership intends to begin construction in the Spring of 2015 and likely by finished by early 2016.
The dealership needed primarily a variance from the required setback of 35 ft. along Fairbanks, which runs along the western boarder of the property.
Although Fairbanks is considered frontage for zoning purposes, it is more a side street, according to Jerry Parker, an attorney representing the dealership.
Mr. Parker noted that Fairbanks is used primarily as a roadway to either the Yark dealership or the White Toyota dealership on the other side of Fairbanks. The Toyota dealership, he noted, had once gotten a variance for its building along Fairbanks.
The remodeling and expansion of the building is based on directives from BMW, Mr. Parker told the board.
No one spoke in opposition to the request and the board's approval was unanimous.
The dealership intends to begin construction in the Spring of 2015 and likely by finished by early 2016.
Posted: 9/10/2014  
Sylvania Township has launched an alert system which will allow for a message to be sent to a resident's phone and/or email address when Lucas County or the township issue notice of an emergency, such as a tornado warning.
Those who choose to can add features such as reminders of township public meetings, planned road closures and other things of significance to local residents.
Sylvania Township is offering the service for free, although some message fees may apply.
To obtain the service, a resident should go to On the home page there is a link which will take you to the form to sign up for the service. Then just fill out the application and click "sign up now" at the bottom of the page.
When police and fire departments are faced with emergency situations one of their problems is dealing with members of the public who have unexpectedly arrived at the scene. Just trying to manage traffic and control crowds becomes a job in itself.  With the alert system, people on their way to a destination can be warned that there is a problem at a given site and will be able to drive around the area. They won't have as much inconvenience and safety forces will be able to concentrate on the issue to which they responded.
Of a more benign nature, a resident may be following an issue in the township and can receive a reminder of the next public meeting dealing with the issue.
By signing up for Sylvania Alerts you will automatically get emergency alerts issued by the Lucas County and can choose from a number of options for alerts offered by the township.
The service was earlier approved by Sylvania Township  trustees and has been purchased by the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency. To participate, the township has agreed to pay no more than $2,500 annually.  That cost could be reduced if enough other jurisdictions join the service.
Township officials said none of those who sign up will receive unsolicited calls nor will contact numbers be sold to other parties.
Township residents who sign up for the program may also choose to be notified of such things as the annual leaf and brush pick up and other events of general interest.
Posted: 9/8/2014 


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