STAFF REPORT
            Brunswick Hills Township Zoning Text Amendment
            October 2002, App. #238-2002-TA

Applicant:                               Zoning Commission
Zoning Commission Meeting Date: September 11, 2002
Planning Commission Meeting Date: October 2, 2002
Section(s) of Amendment Request:         Sec. 303-7

PROPOSED CHANGES: (Additions are underlined, deletions are struck through).

The letter submitting this proposed amendment to the Department states:

        An amendment to the Township Zoning Resolution…

        Section 303-7 (Pg. 29) Site Plan Review and Conformance
        Removal of the Board of Zoning Appeals and replacement with the Zoning Commission
        on Preliminary Informal Site Plan Reviews, Reviews of Site Plans, and Final Site Plan
        Reviews with amendments to the entire Zoning Resolution as required and necessary.

Since the Department staff does not know what further amendments the Township Zoning
Commission may consider “required and necessary”, the staff has limited it’s review to the changes
as they apply to Section 303-7. Any additional related changes must be submitted as additional text

Subsequent text in Section 303-7 refers to the “Board”. Although not explicitly stated, the staff
understood the term “Board” as a reference to the Board of Zoning Appeals. In these instances the
staff has replaced “Board” with “Commission” in its review of the proposed text amendment. To
avoid confusion with the Board of Trustees, references to “Board” in this context should be replaced
by the term “BZA”.

Sec. 303-7     Site Plan Review and Conformance
 Three (3) kinds of site plan reviews may be scheduled by the Zoning Inspector and/or the Board
of Zoning Appeals Zoning Commission. These are the Preliminary Informal Site Plan Review,
the Review of Site Plan, and the Final Site Plan Review. The Preliminary Informal Site Plan
Review may be scheduled by the Zoning Inspector when he considers it advisable. The purpose
of this review is to save time and expenses in preparation of the formal site plan by soliciting
comments by various officials on the preliminary drawings of the proposed development.

The following officials and boards are invited to participate: Board of Trustees, Zoning
Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Zoning Inspector, Fire Prevention Officer, Fire Chief,
and a representative of the local post office. The other reviews are as required and described in
the following subsections.

         A.       Review of Site Plan - No multifamily, commercial, or industrial use specified
under Article IV shall be permitted until review and approval of the site plans by the Board of
Zoning Appeals Zoning Commission with finding by the Board Commission that the plan is
consistent with the purposes and requirements of this Resolution and that the specific standards
set forth in Article IV and the general requirements set forth below will be met. The Board
Commission may seek expert advice or require special studies to be made prior to acting on any
site plan. The cost of securing such advice or studies shall be borne by the applicant, but in no
event shall such cost exceed the sum of five-hundred ($500) dollars, which sum shall be on
deposit with the Township Trustees upon request of the Board Commission. The Board of
Zoning Appeals Zoning Commission shall act on any site plan submitted under this section
within forty-five (45) days of the time of official submission to the zoning inspector, or the clerk
of the Board of Appeals Zoning Commission. If it does not, then the zoning inspector shall issue
a Zoning Certificate for the purposed use unless there is a patent violation of the Zoning
Resolution evident from the site plan as submitted. Any person submitting a site plan may agree
to a longer period of review by the Board of Zoning Appeals Zoning Commission.

In order to promote the orderly development of the site plan to required specifications, the Board
Commission and the Zoning Inspector shall encourage informal discussions by and with the
applicant prior to formal application for a Zoning Certificate or Conditional Zoning Certificate.

                 1.       The site plan shall be drawn to a legible scale, shall show topographical
                          features of the lot, ….
                        The design and construction standards of all private streets, driveways,
                        and parking areas shall conform to the                provisions of this

B. Conformance with Site Plan

                 1.       All aspects of the development shall conform to the approved site
                 2.       It shall be a violation of this Resolution for any building or premises to
                          be occupied or used prior to:
                         (1) Conformance with all applicable requirements of this Resolution,
                         (2) Completion of required landscaping, drainage, parking, street and
                              driveway improvements according to plans approved by the Board
                              Commission or the posting of a financial guarantee with the
                              Township Trustees in an amount equal to said required
                              improvements, said financial guarantee shall be for a period not to
                              exceed two (2) years and shall provide for the complete construction
                              of the improvements within that period….

         C.      Form of Approval in Large Projects - Where the Board Commission considers it
necessary, in order to assure that a large project will be developed consistent with the purposes of
this Resolution, the Board Commission may require that plans for a large project be submitted
indicating development in phases if such project can logically be divided into phases. The Board
Commission shall review the entire project for conformance with all applicable regulations in this
Resolution and shall give preliminary approval to the entire project if it so conforms. However,
the Board Commission shall have the power to limit final approval and authorization for the
zoning inspector to issue Zoning Certificates to one section or phase of the total development at a
time. Approval of subsequent phases shall be given:
                          (1) upon substantial compliance with the plan given preliminary
                         (2) upon conformance with all applicable regulations of this Resolution,
                         (3) upon a finding by the Board Commission that all preceding phases
                             conform to all requirements of this Resolution and conform to
                             approved plans including complete installation of improvements
                             required in the approval of preceding phases or in lieu of complete
                             installation, the submission of a financial guarantee acceptable to
                             the Trustees assuring that the improvements will be installed within
                             one (1) year of the submission of said guarantee.

       D.       Final Site Plan - When approvals of other agencies are required (e.g., major
subdivisions) a copy of the site plan with all required approvals shall be submitted to the Zoning
Inspector by the Regional Planning Commission, its successor, or the developer prior to issuance
of a Zoning Certificate. A review meeting shall be held by the Board of Zoning Appeals Zoning
Commission if any non-cosmetic changes are made to the site plan after initial approval has been

The existing Section 303-7 (Site Plan Review and Conformance) basically establishes the
requirement that all site plans for multifamily, commercial, or industrial uses must be reviewed
and approved as complying with the Zoning Resolution.

As written, the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) is empowered to review and approve site plans
as conditional uses (Subsection A). The proposed amendment would transfer this authority to
the Township Zoning Commission. It is the staff’s opinion the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) does
not give a non-home rule township Zoning Commission the power to APPROVE development
(or site) plans or any other conditional use. The Zoning Commission may be delegated the
authority to approve development plans by the township’s trustees only as part of Planned Unit
Development approval (O.R.C Sec. 519.021). To substantiate this position, the staff cites the
following excerpts to the ORC regarding zoning certificates and plan approvals.

ORC Section 519.14 (Powers of township board of zoning appeals.) states:

                “The township board of zoning appeals may:

                (C) Grant conditional zoning certificates for the use of land,
                buildings, or other structures if such certificates for specific
                uses are provided for in the zoning resolution.”

The only section of the ORC that gives a township Zoning Commission the power to approve a
development is Section 519.021 (Planned Unit Developments). This section states:

                “A township zoning resolution or amendment adopted in
                accordance with this chapter may establish or modify
                planned-unit developments. Planned-unit development
                regulations shall apply to property only at the election
                of the property owner and shall include standards to be
                used by the board of township trustees or, if the board
                so chooses, by the township zoning commission,
                in determining whether to approve or disapprove any
                proposed development within a planned-unit

Upon a review of the Brunswick Hills Township Zoning Resolution, other related potential
problems became evident.

The terms “Site Plan” and “Multi Family” are not defined in the Resolution. This should be done
for clarification.

In Section 406 R-4 Multifamily and Office District, multifamily residential dwellings are listed
under Section 406-2 A as a permitted use. Later, however, Section 406-9 Site Plan Review and
Conformance states:

       “All multifamily uses shall be conditionally permitted only after
       the review and approval of the site plans by the Board of Zoning
       Appeals according to Section 303-7 and upon a finding by the Board
       that the requirements of that Section as well as all other applicable      regulations of
       this Resolution will be met.”

This inconsistency should be corrected. The staff further recommends that the remainder of the
Resolution be reviewed for consistency pursuant to the proposed text amendment.

Staff recommends to the Medina County Planning Commission that the above text amendment be

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