Shipping container regulations progress, residents question future of Elmcroft

by Laura Bednar

July 24 zoning commission meeting

The Sagamore Hills zoning commission has finalized language prohibiting shipping containers from being used as accessory structures on property within the township. The proposed addition to the zoning code states, “No shipping containers, cargo containers, ISO containers, intermodal containers, box truck beds, semi-truck trailers or similar structures may be used as a primary or accessory structure.”

Commission members added “semi-truck trailers” to the description after resident Carol Lewis said those types of structures can also sit on properties for a long time. Zoning Inspector Ray Fantozzi said he saw semi-truck trailers on Carter Road.

Resident Denise Kelly asked what happens to people who already have shipping containers on their property. Commission Chair Dr. David Koncal said they can keep them, “but we will try to keep them from popping up in the future.”

The recommendation was sent to township trustees, who must hold a public hearing before voting on it.

Still under consideration are regulations about solar energy. Koncal outlined some potential rules for solar panels: only in residential or commercial districts, no ground installations, and permitted for accessory structures as well as residences. Solar panels on a roof must follow the roof pitch and can be no more than 12 inches above the pitch.

Fantozzi said panels should be prohibited from extending to the edge of the roof because firefighters need access to the edges in case the roof needs to be ventilated during a fire. The discussion was tabled until next month.

Elmcroft questions

Residents expressed concerns regarding the proposed mental health and detox center at 997 W. Aurora Rd., the former site of the Elmcroft assisted living facility. Resident Tom Kemery asked how the center would be manned, if there are state regulations that must be followed and how treatment centers affect crime.

“It seems like something I wouldn’t want,” he said.

Resident Caroline Wolske asked about security and if people will be able to come and go freely.

Commission member Peter Lachina said the representatives from New Aurora Health Center did not explain in-depth about security at the previous month’s meeting.

Koncal said the commission was not given enough information to work with and asked the representatives to present a business plan and the names of similar facilities commission members can visit.

Wolske said she saw activity at the site and wanted to know what was being done. Fantozzi said the owner of the property is permitted to perform interior and exterior work on the building.

Sagamore’s zoning code does not have provisions for detox centers. Commission members would have to add it to the township code as a conditional use and approve a zoning change for the site. Koncal said representatives from New Aurora Health may come to the next zoning meeting. ∞