Our letter to the Zoning Commission and Township Trustees explaining  many of our specific concerns of the Planned Overlay District 18-D


Many of our concerns about the proposed Planned Overlay District are as follows:


  • It does not follow the Comprehensive Plan which was developed by Liberty Township adopted by our Trustees on February 5, 2018.

    • As noted on page 67 of the Comprehensive Plan:  The Comprehensive Plan “are policies intended to guide the Trustees, Zoning Commission, and the Board of Zoning Appeals in the development of Liberty Township”.  Page 2 of the Comprehensive Plan states:  “The primary purpose of the Liberty Township Comprehensive Plan is to provide a framework for zoning and other land use decisions.”

    • The Vision Statement for Future Development of Liberty Township (page 66) states:  “Lands north of Hyatts Road and above the 900-foot elevation would generally be lower density. Some houses would be located on lots of at least 1 acre, and other new developments would be located in conservation subdivisions at a density of one unit per net developable acre, with permanent open space in prominent locations along township roads and between homes.  The intent would be to connect as much permanent open space from neighborhood to neighborhood with trails.  Sawmill Parkway is limited access, with access points being only at cross streets with Hyatts, Clark-Shaw, Bean Oller, Ford, and Bunty Station Roads.  No further commercial uses are anticipated north of Hyatts Road on Sawmill Parkway.”

    • For the area immediately east of the railroad tracks and south of Hyatts Road, the Comprehensive Plan recommends that “For lands served by centralized sanitary sewer, consider rezoning for Planned Residential Developments at a maximum density of 1.25 units per net developable acre, with a minimum of 20% preserved common open space.”  The Comprehensive Plan also encourages greenways as a part of new developments, and seek additional park lands.

    • The proposed Planned Overlay District permits Multi-Family Residential, Attached Residential, Single-Family Residential, Patio Home or Attached Homes and Commercial Uses.  This does not align with the vision statement or the text of our Township’s Comprehensive Plan.


  • The proposed Overlay Plan is vague in significant details and in our opinion very open-ended.

    • The rezoning of all 5 subareas in the proposed Planned Overlay District will allow commercial uses.  Other uses are also permitted as set forth in the below chart from Section 18D.09.  The planned overlay District defines attached homes as a “multiple unit dwelling of two (2) or greater units per building. Owned individually per owner through a Condominium or Homes Association”.  A Multi-family home is defined as “for the purposes of this POD only, multi-family dwelling is defined as a residential building arranged or designed for two (2) or more dwelling units as separate and complete housekeeping units, and is offered for rent or lease.”

    • From our review, a developer will have wide discretion in deciding how to develop the area, as the proposed Overlay Plan District is in need of substantial parameters and restrictions.  It should be noted that the Proposed Overlay Plan states that for Subarea B, C, and E “no single commercial user shall exceed 65,000 square feet within a single structure”. Subarea D does not have the statement “no single commercial user shall exceed 65,000 square feet within a single structure”.  For comparison sake— it is our understanding that a CVS store is approximately 15,000 square feet. The Kroger store in Powell is 77,000 square feet.

    • The proposed plan does limit the number the total dwelling units in the subareas A, C, and E, but recognizing that commercial is also permitted in those same subareas, the dwelling units could be grouped closely together.  Refer to page 24 of the plan for the minimum setbacks of the buildings which are totally inadequate. Subarea A allows for 208 dwelling units (plus commercial).  Subarea C allows for 75 dwelling units (plus commercial).  Subarea E allows 315 dwelling units (plus commercial). This is a total of 598 dwelling units permitted in the Planned Overlay District—plus commercial, in an area in which the comprehensive plan recommends maintaining a maximum density of one unit per net developable acre.

    • If our Township Trustees decide that the Subareas identified in the proposed Planned Overlay District are to be rezoned through the means of an overlay plan, and not through the means of planned district rezonings, then a new zoning district should be undertaken by an impartial qualified planner with citizen involvement, and not by the current promoters.


  • Setbacks are inadequate.

    • The proposed Planned Overlay District adversely impacts the adjacent single family homes and the 25 foot and 50 foot “enhanced landscape buffer” is totally inadequate to protect such pre-existing homes from light pollution, noise, and the sight of large buildings

    • The rear and side yard setbacks set forth in the proposed Planned Overlay District are totally inadequate.

  • Impervious Surfaces and Open Space

    • The proposed Planned Overlay District permits buildings, driveways, parking areas, and other impervious surfaces to occupy up to 80% of the total area.  The current FR-1 zoning for all of the Subareas currently do not permit impervious surfaces to exceed 65%.  Permitting impervious surfaces to constitute up to 80% of the total area is excessive, if we are attempting to “preserve the cherished rural character” in this section of the Township.

    • The proposed Planned Overlay District requires a minimum of 20% of the total Planned Overlay District to remain as Open Space.  However, except for Subareas B and D, a certain Subarea can have as little as 10% of the total Planned Overlay District’s Open Space, allowing a Subarea’s Open Space to decrease to 10% of the total Open Space requirement.  The Planned Overlay District constitutes various distinct and separate Subareas, and one Subarea should not have its 20% Open Space requirement be sacrificed to another Subarea.

  • The proposed Planned Overlay District contradicts itself

    • The 7th bullet point of Section 18DE.01 of the Planned Overlay District states as follows:  “encourages unified development projects that exhibit creative planning and design in ways that cannot be achieved through a standard zoning district, yet are imaginative in architectural design and are consistent with applicable public plans for the area and are compatible with surrounding land uses.”

    • We do not see how this Planned Overlay District in any way is consistent with applicable public plans for the area (Comprehensive Plan) and are compatible with surrounding land uses (single family homes on larger lots).  As already stated, the Comprehensive Plan only recommends 1 dwelling unit per net developable acre and we are not seeing any commercial or multi-family dwellings upon the surrounding land.

The proposed Planned Overlay District is drastically changing the vision and recommendations set forth in our Township’s Comprehensive Plan, which was just approved in 2018. Much time and professional planning went into preparing our Comprehensive Plan,  and our Comprehensive Plan’s vision and recommended uses should not be changed as is being proposed in Article 18D – Planned Overlay District.


We understand that development will take place in Liberty Township; however, the development should be done responsibly.