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 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.
PoliceSylvania Township Police Chief Rob Boehme acknowledged that it was not the crime of the century, but said he was proud of the department response to a complaint from a businessman that someone sprayed paint onto a building he intends to open as a market.
It wasn't the first time someone used spray cans of paint to mar the building at 7856 West Central Ave. This time he called the Sylvania Township Police Department.
Chief Boehme said the first officer to respond to the scene called to see if Speedy, the department's police dog was available to respond to the building.
The business owner, Ali Zrien, said after the dog arrived it led police through a wooded area and to a spot where a group of juvenile and young-adult males were found with spray cans in the area.
"I was surprised. In less than half an hour the police were there and the dog found them. I was happy."
After discussing the issue with police, Mr. Zrien decided he did not want the youngsters to get a criminal record for something he considered "stupid."
The youngsters agreed to go to the market the next day and repair the damage they had done to the building.
Mr. Zrien said he sent them home after about 10 minutes.
"They showed up and I think they learned their lesson".
"I even gave them a little money for the work they did," he added.
He said he plans to have The Sylvania Market, a full-service grocery store, open in the first week of December.
"They are my neighbors. I hope they are my customers," Mr. Zrien added.
Rob Nash, currently a road foreman in the Sylvania Township Public Works Department, has been named the next superintendent of the department. The promotion will be effective Feb. 1, 2015.
His new duties will coincide with the the retirement of Gregory Huffman as public works manager.
Mr. Huffman's job title will be abolished and there is likely to be some re-organization within the department in the near future, according to John Zeitler, township administrator.
Mr. Huffman will remain, on a part-time basis, as a projects coordinator through 2015, Mr. Nash began with the township as a utility worker in 1999.
The department is responsible for maintaining roads, bridges and ditches in the township. They handle leaf and brush collection, plowing township roads, maintaining the township cemetery and are in charge of the annual household goods collection.
An office in the cardiology unit of Toledo Hospital regularly sends reports to the Sylvania Township Fire Department with follow-up on patients they have transported to the hospital.
Most of them are brief, factual, and sprinkled with medical jargon and acronyms.
It's not often that one ends with the word "Wow."
That, however, was the word chosen by Julie DiCecco, STEMI/chest pain coordinator, ProMedica Heart and Vascular Institutes, when she noted that only 44 minutes had elapsed from when the first township EMT began to work on a man who had called 911 from his home and when angioplasty was underway in the hospital's catheterization lab.
Ms. DiCecco, a nurse for about 30 years, said time is one of the most important considerations when an individual is experiencing a heart attack. She said it is vital to get oxygen-carrying blood flowing to the muscle to avoid death or serious damage.
"I give "wows" when they're deserved," she said.
"The Sylvania Township Fire Department has excellent personnel".
"They not only get the latest and greatest in training, but a lot of them teach advanced life support."
Ms. DiCecco also noted that the good outcome for the patient is also the result of a program which is relatively recent. It is known as STEMI, and allows township firefighters to essentially diagnose a cardiac patient and have a cardiology team waiting when the patient arrives at the hospital.
The program allows the patient to bypass the emergency room and they are taken to the chatheterization lab where a team is assembled and goes immediately to work to begin angioplasty.
In this case, the patient's wife had been notified and she rushed to Toledo Hospital.For a time the couldn't locate him because no paperwork had been begun on him.
Ms. DiCecco noted that in this program everything is focused on the well being of the patient. Paperwork can be dealt with later.
In a letter written to Fire Chief Jeff Kowalski, the patient said he had been told by members of the hospital cardiology team that without the quick work by members of the department he probably would have died or had severe heart damage.
Four stents were placed in cardiac arteries and he his going to cardiac rehab, but is in good health.
In her note to the fire department, Ms. DiCecco wrote that "his left ventrical function was preserved thanks to your coordinated efforts."
She also noted the man did the right thing in calling 911. She said it is very dangerous to try to drive yourself to the hospital. It is even dangerous to have someone else drive you.
"If you live in (the Sylvania Township Fire Department area) you have excellent medical care. They can begin what's needed wherever you are rather than wasting time trying to get to a hospital."
Permits They just came 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Levy 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.
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.
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 www.sylvaniatownship.com. 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.