Historically, zoning has been viewed as a means to preserve the safety and health of a community. Zoning is the way that governments control the physical development of land and the kinds of uses for which each individual property may be used. Zoning laws typically specify the areas in which residential, industrial, recreational or commercial activities may take place.
Besides restricting the uses that can be made of land and buildings, zoning laws also may regulate the dimensional requirements for lots and for buildings on property located within the township and the density of development. Some zoning ordinances also regulate the extraction of natural resources from land within the zoned area, others provide space for hospitals, parks, schools, and open space and still others protect places of historical significance within the community.
Currently Ross Township is under the jurisdiction of the Butler County Building and Zoning regulations. During the summer of 2020, the Ross Township Board of Trustees was presented a petition signed by 339 registered voters residing in the unincorporated area of Ross Township requesting the board to proceed with township zoning. To transfer authority of zoning to Ross Township, the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) requires the Township Trustees to appoint a township zoning commission to develop a township-level zoning resolution and zoning map. That resolution and map has to then go through a series of public hearings before being placed on a ballot for a local election where Ross Township residents will have to vote to take on township control over zoning. In an effort to start that process and comply with Ohio Revised Code Section 519 (Township Zoning), the Board of Trustees passed a resolution declaring its intention to proceed with township zoning and appointed a township zoning commission comprising of 5 members and 3 alternates. The members and alternates were selected by the Board of Trustees, after an application and interview process from a pool of applicants.
The current purpose of the monthly Zoning Commission meetings is for the Commission, with the assistance of a hired consultant, to undergo the process of updating the township’s Land Use Plan and developing the zoning resolution and zoning map, tailored to what Ross Township wants, that will be placed on a ballot in 2022 for the voters of Ross Township to ultimately determine if Ross Township will have township-controlled zoning. Until that vote occurs, and is certified, zoning in Ross Township will continue to be under the jurisdiction of Butler County.
The general public is welcome to come and observe the work of the Zoning Commission during the monthly meetings which occur on the 4th Thursday of each month. A draft resolution and zoning map will be presented to the public for review. An opportunity to voice questions and concerns will be provided, including required public hearings, which will occur once the zoning resolution has been drafted. In order to be as transparent as possible, the planning consultant has set up a dedicated website for this process that can be found at https://www.envisionross.com/.
A public informational meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 24, 2022 at 6:30 PM at the Ross Middle School Cafeteria, 3425 Hamilton Cleves Road. The purpose of the meeting is to outline the process to move forward with township zoning and to provide an overview of the draft plan and zoning resolution. For more information, including draft documents, please visit the project website at www.EnvisionRoss.com.