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Boardman Zoning Survey results are in

April 17, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The results of the Boardman Township Zoning Survey are in, revealing the direction residents and business owners would like to see things go. The survey had over 1,000 responses.

Of the total, there were 74 from business owners and only seven from people who served on a Boardman Township board. That means most respondents, 958, were township residents.

"We are really happy with the number of responses we received," said Boardman Director of Zoning and Development Krista Beniston. "Having over 1,000 is a significant response to a zoning survey for a community of Boardman Township's size."

The survey covered a wide range of issues and was meant to seek opinions on whether the zoning code should be changed or left as is. Question number two, for example, involved whether a township resident should be allowed to have up to five chickens, rabbits of other small farm animals on a residential lot. At present, Boardman allows chickens as long as they are located 100 feet from a neighbor's house.

"Survey responses were fairly split at 51 percent in favor and 48 percent opposed," Beniston said. "We will probably stick with the regulations we have right now."

On the question regarding design standards for new buildings, Beniston said people leaned towards keeping the standards now in place and perhaps even adding a little more.

A high priority was placed on filling vacant buildings in the township. That could mean making regulations to encourage filling those buildings.

Of the two big goals that came out of the first series of questions in the survey, one was a desire to insure commercial is successful in the township. The idea is to continue to be an attractive commercial location that wants to maintain businesses.

The second goal was to enhance and protect the neighborhoods. One question dealing with that involved storage of recreational vehicles such as campers, motor homes, and boats.

"People today have more and more stuff," Beniston said. "The current cod allows a person to park a camper or boat in the drive if it is less than 20 feet long."

She said most campers today exceed that limit and are 30 feet long or longer. Even boats are getting larger.

Another interesting issue involved signage. Most felt if the commercial sign was designed well, it wouldn't matter. On digital signage, the majority favored a regulation that would control brightness and prohibit movie-type displays.

In the end, the overall survey seemed to say the township residents and business owners want a balance of regulations that help residents and businesses flourish without over-regulating.

As for where the survey data goes from here. Beniston said there will be one more public meeting this summer where proposed changes will be revealed based on the survey data.

"We will put it all on the line for final comments," she said.

After that meeting, any proposed changes would have to go through the zoning commission and then to the trustees. That would add two more public meetings before anything could be finalized and adopted.

"We want to get it right, so if it takes a few more months, so be it," Beniston said. "Any changes would be done by the end of the year."

The results of the survey should be listed at Beniston said the survey results should be available later this summer, but residents can check out the survey.

In the end, the goal is to find out what direction residents and business owners want to see the township head in. It may mean easing or stiffening regulations, or simply leaving them as is.



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