Trustees vote against Ghent zoning change, preventing dental office construction

by Laura Bednar

Sept. 26 board of trustees meeting

Bath trustees voted against a zoning amendment to 1075 Ghent Rd., which would have allowed a change from an R-2 residential district – single-family homes – to B-4 restricted business to allow for the construction of a dental office by Dr. Tim Pristas.

Pristas originally applied for a zoning change in January 2021. The Summit County Planning Commission recommended that the township approve the request, while the Bath Zoning Commission recommended that trustees deny the request. The public was invited to public hearings before the zoning commission and board of trustees and were permitted to send letters regarding the zoning change.

Trustee Elaina Goodrich said the township received 66 letters against the change and eight letters in favor. Ultimately, the trustees unanimously voted to accept the zoning commission’s recommendation to deny the zoning request.

Each trustee gave his or her reasoning for the vote. Goodrich said she worked on the township’s comprehensive plan when she became a trustee in 1996, and it was approved in 1998. After a review in 2011, the property at 1075 Ghent Rd. remained residential, and Goodrich voted to follow that plan.

Trustee Sharon Troike said, “Pristas had full knowledge it was not zoned for commercial use [when he bought it.]”

There are 11 residential properties in the area, and Troike said the majority of owners were against the rezoning. Two owners expressed interest in it, she said, and two others had no comment.

She also said that the Ghent and Cleveland Massillon road intersection doesn’t have the same rural feel, and if the township had added a planned unit development district to the area, it would have given the township more control.

“There is no plan to update the ongoing issues we will continue to have,” she said, noting the traffic to accompany the new three-story business at the intersection.

Trustee Sean Gaffney said he wanted to maintain the rural character of Bath and saw nothing to substantiate a change from residential to commercial zoning.

“We have an ample supply of commercially available vacant areas,” he said.

Summit engineering

Representatives from the Summit County Engineer’s Officer gave a presentation outlining current and future road projects in the county. Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker said the county is expecting to receive $20 million in revenue from gas and license taxes. Expenditures are expected to be $13 million this year, and project bids have risen substantially, some as high as 30% more than projected, according to Brubaker. He added that the county had performed 188 service requests for Bath in 2022 thus far.

Deputy Engineer Joe Paradise outlined some of the upcoming projects, including the replacement of the Granger Road Bridge, which carries Granger Road over Yellow Creek, beginning in 2023.

In other news, the police department will replace its speed alert trailer for the second time for $18,330. A motorist struck the first trailer in 2019, and a driver on Cleveland Massillon Road hit the replacement trailer. ∞