November 23, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
51°F
test

Eaton Township site’s zoning disputed

By Anna Merriman and Chelsea Miller

The Chronicle-Telegram

EATON TWP. — Citizens and township officials found themselves in a deadlock over whether a purportedly noisy and dusty industrial project in the area is allowed to be there.

The discussion Tuesday night was in regard to 35710 Royalton Road in Eaton Township, owned by excavation company Sitetech Inc., which has been using the area for industrial work for the past few years.

According to residents in the area, the work is illegal and has caused dust, dirt and dangerously muddy roads near their homes.

“You can write your name in the dust in your furniture at home every day,” Royalton Road resident Terrance Tessaro said.

Zoning inspector George Anders disagrees with the argument over the legality of the site and the severity of the damage done to the area around it.

“There’s an awful lot of hype going on here and it’s premature,” Anders said.

The dispute prompted the trustees to say they’ll consul with the county prosecutor’s office to determine whether Site Tech legally is allowed to continue its business at the location.

That came after it was clear there would be no easy resolution involving the business and its neighbors.

At the trustees meeting Tuesday night, both Anders and residents who live around the site presented differing viewpoints.

Both discussed the former owner of the property at 35710 Royalton Road, who was granted a variance application to use his land as a “light industrial” property in 2001.

When that property was sold to Site Tech in 2009, that variance should have been voided, Tessaro said.

Anders, however, said Tessaro is mistaken. He cited the Board of Zoning Appeals article 16.21, which states that when a variance is granted to a property, it should not be withdrawn unless circumstances have changed.

“It’s very black and white,” Anders said, adding that circumstances haven’t changed since 2001. Even though the property was sold in 2009, it’s still considered “light industrial” property, he said.

That isn’t what Tessaro says he sees, though.

“There are 300 to 400 trucks per day,” Tessaro said, adding that he didn’t consider the industrial work at the site to be “light.”

Tessaro, who lives on the same side of the street from the site, walked through the wooded area separating his property from Sitetech’s last week. He said the trucks, which were continuously moving dirt on the site, caused heavy flooding and an unusual smell through the woods.

“I noticed there was activity over here for three years … I never ended up seeing anything built, so I started investigating, and it looked to me like a dump site,” he said.

Site Tech vice president Jason Friscone said Tessaro’s claim about the number of trucks in the area isn’t true and that the company is trying hard to cut back on dust and water in the surrounding area.

“We’re trying to be good neighbors,” Friscone said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerrimanContact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.