Potential changes to Liberty Township’s zoning map concerning agriculturally zoned property will be discussed a work session set for Tuesday.
The discussion is an extension of trustees’ action last month that rezoned about 295 parcels of less than five acres each from agriculture to residential in and near the Hawthorne Hills subdivision.
Most of the parcels that were rezoned were located in subdivisions.
Township officials are now looking at all 1,619 agriculturally zoned parcels in the township. It is part of an effort to identify parcels in residential subdivisions that are zoned agriculture rather than residential.
“We’re trying to right a wrong. Over the years, in trying to give more flexibility…we didn’t make them (developers) rezone because residential (subdivisions) were allowed in agriculture districts,’’ said Trustee Tom Farrell, a former member of the Liberty Township Zoning Commission.
“It was unnecessary paperwork to rezone the land, we never did it. We thought we were doing the right thing.”
That decision is being rethought.
“What we’re trying to do is get appropriate zoning based on how the property has developed,’’ said Jonathan West, director of planning and zoning.
Of the 1,619 parcels zoned agriculture in Liberty Township, most – 1,027 – are less than an acre in size. Another 150 are 1 to 1.99 acre; and 194 are 2 to 4.99 acre. There are 248 parcels that are five acres or larger.
“We want to have a public discussion on all issues related to the A-1 zone,’’ West said.
Maps will be prepared to show exactly how many parcels there are in each size category and where they are located.
This spring when the rezoning came up in response to a potential cell phone tower being built in the area, some residents were concerned they would no longer be able to farm or raise animals if their property was rezoned.
That’s not the case, West said.
Agricultural use – including raising crops and keeping farm animals is based on the size of the parcel, not how it’s zoned, West said. Agriculture use is permitted in all zoning districts, he added.
One of the ideas that will be discussed is establishment of a new residential district that would allow the same uses as those in the agricultural district – with one exception. Construction of cell phone towers would be a conditional – not allowed – use.
“It doesn’t hurt anybody with (property) being zoned incorrectly,’’ Farrell said. “(But) we want it zoned for the use it is. We want to make sure we do this while not taking away the rights of the land owners.”
Trustees will begin the discussion with the community at 4:30 p.m., at the administration building, 6400 Princeton Road. The regular trustees’ meeting follows at 6 p.m.