BATH TOWNSHIP — Township Cemetery Supervisor Teresa Phillips reported to township trustees during the Sept. 20 meeting that a new concrete sidewalk, leading up to the office at Byron Cemetery, had been poured.
A new concrete slab was also poured around the existing columbarium, which is located north of the mausoleums, and a new concrete slab was constructed where the new columbarium will be erected, just south of the mausoleums. Several new benches were placed on the slabs for patrons to use when they pay their respects to love ones. The cemetery crew is preparing to pour a number of concrete footers for tombstones, which will wrap up the concrete work for the season.
Phillips also asked Township Road Superintendent Vern Heizer to complete some asphalt work on several roads in the cemetery that had deteriorated.
In a 3-0 vote, the township trustees approved fall lawn care service at the cemetery.
Township Zoning Inspector Jim Miller reported to trustees that he was dealing with a zoning issue on the 8300 block of Adams Road in the township. Miller explained that the owners of the property were operating an auto repair shop in a barn that was recently constructed in the residential area.
He stated that he sent an official letter to the owners about the zoning violation and a possible “cease and desist” order. Miller noted that the owners did contact him and told him that they did not intend to deceive him, although he believed they did.
Township Trustee Steve Ross asked Miller if he saw any resolution to the zoning matter. Miller stated that the owners could apply for a use variance that would require the approval of all the neighbors in the immediate area. However, Miller said the court is very strict about use variances, especially if the owners have been served with a “cease and desist” order.
He said the owners could also apply for another type of variance or spot zoning which may be ruled invalid.
Stephanie Fasnacht, who is the listed property owner, told trustees that she had purchased the residential property in November 2016 and applied for a building permit around April. Fasnacht noted that Miller had visited the construction site and talked with the general contractor, and she had also talked with Miller in May regarding the building permit.
“My husband does not advertise. It is a small business that operates by word of mouth,” Fasnacht said. “It allows my husband to have a hobby and to stay at home with our kids.”
However, Township Trustee John Martin stressed that the burden was on the landowner to respect the zoning classification for the property.
“You have to get the permit to do the business. The zoning is no secret. Zoning has been around since 1954 in one form or another, and we are a zone township,” Martin said. “There may be some solution but in my mind, I don’t see it. Zoning is the law. You have to respect it.”
Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Hayden, who attended the township meeting, referred to an older zoning case in the county and noted that the violation could become an issue for the township in the future.
Township Trustee Tom Pitstick suggested working with the property owners and examining what course of action would best resolve the issue. Miller said he would be willing to sit down with Fasnacht and her husband and discuss what options were available to them.
The Bath Township Board of Trustees will meet again in regular session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Bath Township Building, 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road in Fairborn. The public is welcome.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.