Editor’s note: Dan Suttles’ next neighborhood meeting will be 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (Aug. 18) at 5816 Amy Boyle Road, Brookfield.
Mike “Newt” Marek passed up the offer of a doughnut and coffee and got down to business.
“What’s up with the zoning?” he asked Brookfield Trustee Dan Suttles at Suttles’ July 21 neighborhood meeting at Route 7 and Warren Sharon Road.
Then, he proceeded to explain that he already knows what’s up with zoning.
“I’m against it,” Marek continued. “Zoning is very bad. It’s basically a way for government to make sure people do things they don’t want to do. I’m going to campaign against it.”
Marek said he knows of a guy in Howland who was stymied from building because of setback and fence requirements in the zoning ordinance there. Marek said he ran into the same situation when he bought property in Hartford some years ago and wanted to build a home. The zoning regulations would not allow him to angle the home, put up a fence where he wanted it or face the garage where he wanted to.
“I said, ‘That’s it,’” Marek said. “I sold the property.”
He moved to Brookfield, where there is no zoning, the regulation of land use.
Suttles said he understood Marek’s argument, but asked him if he minded a junkyard moving in next door. Marek said he has no problem with that. What about a neighboring property use that hurts the value of your property? Suttles asked.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Marek said, passing off the argument.
Suttles said he favors zoning and would not like a land use that hurts his property value going in next door.
“There is a protection factor,” he said.
Brookfield Township Zoning Commission member Chuck Fizet noted that Brookfield is one of only four townships in Trumbull County that does not have zoning.
“None of the townships with zoning have gotten rid of zoning,” Fizet told Marek. “Something’s going right for those 20 townships.”
He added that zoning can be voted out as easily as it can be voted in.
“Once the foot’s in the door, it’s not going back,” Marek responded.
“That’s not true,” Fizet said, pointing to the TJX zoning controversy in Lordstown, which has been used by Brookfield zoning supporters and opponents to illustrate their points.
Suttles said he does not agree with Marek’s position on zoning, but appreciated his willingness to talk about it and respects his opinion. He said he has only one vote on zoning and, at the end of the day, was elected to represent both those who agree with him and those who don’t.
“You’re not my enemy because you disagree with me,” he said.
Marek thanked Suttles for having the meeting and allowing him to have a forum to express his views on zoning.
“I like that you did this,” Marek said. “It’s very nice.”
Suttles also took complaints about the traffic light at Warren Sharon Road and Bedford roads; the difficulty in turning northbound onto Route 7 when eastbound on Warren Sharon Road; the condition of properties on Hazelton Street, Warner Road and Warren Sharon Road; and the lack of a sound system for township trustee meetings.