Ghent rezoning case triggers ‘Keep Bath Rural’ signs

by Laura Bednar

Bath Township will hold a public hearing before the board of trustees on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. regarding the rezoning of 1075 Ghent Rd.

Dr. Tim Pristas, Bath resident and dentist, wants to rezone the property from an R-2 residential – single-family homes – to B-4 restricted business to build a single-story dental office with a walkout basement, 5,000 square feet on each level.

According to a letter from Bath Township Zoning Commission Chair Richard Bradner, the zoning commission held public hearings for the case on June 9 and July 19. At the June 9 meeting, it was stated that the Summit County Planning Commission recommended approval of the zoning change.

The Bath Zoning Commission originally heard this case in October 2020, according to the letter. “This is a high-profile property in a residential area that is located in one of our gateway areas into the center of Bath Township,” it read.

As the rezoning case has continued, signs reading “Keep Bath Rural” have popped up throughout the township. One longtime Bath resident said the signs were in response to the dental office but also to preserve the township in general. She said the township must stop urban sprawl and maintain a rustic elegance.

Another resident, David Kelly, said, “I don’t want commercial zoning creeping into residential areas.” He added that people moved to Bath for a reason, and even though the dental office was a catalyst for the signs, the fundamental reason for them is to keep Bath rustic.

Shaun McClarnon and his wife own one of the neighboring properties to 1075 Ghent. He said they bought the property thinking it would be their forever home, and saw no signs of potential rezoning in the area.

“This serves as the tipping point,” he said. “If this gets rezoned the whole area will be changed. The signs are to make residents aware.”

Some signs are along W. Bath and Yellow Creek roads; another style of sign can be found on Ira Road. Planning Director/Zoning Inspector William Funk said the signs started with neighbors of the Ghent property and have spread throughout the township.

“If rezoning can happen there [1075 Ghent] it can happen anywhere,” Kelly said. “The hope is if the trustees see the signs, they’ll take notice as well.”

On July 19, the zoning commission voted 4-0 to recommend that trustees deny the proposed change. Following the public hearing on Sept. 7, trustees will have 20 days to make a decision. ∞