Minutes of the Catawba Island Zoning Commission
November 5, 2014
Quintin & Donna Smith
Bob & Jeanie Hille
Paul Shaw, Chairman of the Catawba Island Township Zoning Commission, called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Shaw introduced the rest of the Board that included Ron Wiseman, Jordan Davenport, Stephen Lonneman and Curt Baxter. Alternates for the Zoning Commission, Tim McKenna and Greg Hart, were also in attendance. Mr. Shaw also introduced Walter Wehenkel, who serves as Zoning Inspector and Zoning Commission Secretary, Matt Montowski, who is a Township Trustee, and Bryan Baugh, who serves as Chairman of the Township Board of Zoning Appeals.
Mr. Shaw welcomed those in attendance. He stated the Zoning Commission appreciated their interest. Being the meeting is a public meeting, Mr. Shaw stated debates/talking with each other was not permitted. He asked that all those in attendance sign the register and that any person wishing to speak should be recognized by the chairperson and identify themselves by name and address for the record. He also requested that all cell phones be turned off. The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited.
Mr. Shaw suggested the following agenda for the meeting:
1) Consider application # 668101 from Quinstock Farms, LLC. to rezone a portion of the property at 3630 NE. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, OH parcel # 0131437119350000 from the A district to the C-1 district.
2) The reading and approval of our last meeting minutes from June 25, 2014.
3) Any old business
4) Any new business
He asked for any additions or changes to the proposed agenda? There were none. Jordan Davenport moved to consider application # 668101 from Quinstock Farms, LLC to rezone a portion of the property at 3630 NE. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, Ohio, parcel # 0131437119350000 from the A district to the C-1 district. Stephen Lonneman seconded the motion. The motion was passed unanimously. Mr. Shaw asked if any board member had a personal or professional conflict concerning the case. There were none.
Mr. Shaw read the recommendation letter from the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission.
The letter stated the basis of their recommendation was for approval of the rezoning request.
Chairman Shaw asked the Zoning Commission Secretary Walter Wehenkel if there was any
additional correspondence. Mr. Wehenkel presented a copy of a notarized letter from
Thomas Smith. Mr. Shaw requested the letter be read into the record by Mr. Wehenkel and it was
so read. Mr. Shaw asked Jordan Davenport to read the legal description for the property.
Chairman Shaw asked who was present to address the application. Quintin Smith introduced
himself and stated he had a short power point presentation for the Commission. He stated he and
his family now reside on Catawba Island. He is originally from the Youngstown, Ohio area where
he spent many years working on a farm that his father had as a hobby. He owns a business in Oak
Harbor and a few years ago he purchased a farm in Erie Township which he had farmed by
someone else, but retained one acre for his own personal farming hobby. He spent a lot of time
driving from home to Oak Harbor, back home, back to Erie Township, and then back to Catawba.
So when the Anslow farm, became available, he purchased it. The farm had apricot trees on it and
he knew little about apricots. He has since learned they are the first fruit each year and can be used
in many ways. After the death of Paul Rofkar, he purchased that farm as well. He planted
trees, opened a fruit stand, and realized that the cost of farming versus the financial return received
does not balance.
He stated that if he had three hundred acres with the present zoning, he could develop about three
hundred one acre house lots. There have been numerous fruit farms that are gone and are now
residential subdivision. He does not oppose residential development, but feels areas could be
preserved with the right mixture of agriculture and commercial uses. He would prefer to keep the
property in its natural state versus developing it. The Catawba Island Township Land Use Plan
recommends the interior be used for low density type uses. He presented letters of support from
five of the Land Use Plan committee members who served when the Plan was prepared in 2006 and
support Mr. Smith’s proposal.
The rezoning is being requested in order to have a building/facility on the property in which to
provide entertainment and a place to enjoy the fruits of the agricultural activities. The plan is to use
the “winery model”, but use it to produce a craft beer. In addition, “bar food” will be made
available along with an assortment of agricultural fruits and products. An “ousthouse” type
building capable of seating about 150 individuals on the various floors would be built. The overall
activity might be accomplished as an agricultural activity, but after looking at all of the
options and potential pitfalls, it was decided that the rezoning provided the most protection for
everyone, including the township. Mr. Smith concluded his comments with some artist’s rendering
of the proposed buildings.
Chairman Shaw thanked Mr. Smith for his presentation. He asked if anyone in attendance had a
presentation for the Commission. Tomi Johnson of 5078 E. Water Street stated she serves on the
Regional Planning Commission. She is familiar with the Land Use Plan and stated it is due to be
reevaluated in 2015. The low density/agricultural activities in the center of the island are not
practical financially. The proposal discussed by Mr. Smith makes sense to her. She concurs with
the recommendation of the Regional Planning Commission to rezone the property and stated the
“A” zoning is just not realistic.
Bryan Baugh of 1952 N. East Catawba Road stated he is the Chairman of the Board of Zoning
Appeals. Mr. Smith brought his tentative proposal to the Board at its October meeting. The Board
is looking forward to the submission for the conditional use if the rezoning is approved. Speaking
as a citizen of the township, he supports the request.
David Howell of 1002 N. East Catawba Road started he operates a 22 acre fruit farm near Muggy
Road. It is predominately a peach tree farm, but he raises other crops and has a fruit stand at which
80-90% of the produce sold are raised on Catawba Island. This past winter he lost 100 peach trees
because of the cold weather. Fruit farming is not an easy business and he does not see Quintin
Smith as a competitor. There are subdivisions all over the township that once were fruit tree farms.
There needs to be a place for farming on Catawba, but it needs to compliment other activities. The
plan presented this evening does just that. He allows for a continuation of farming while making it
financially stable. Fruit selling starts in July of each year. Quintin’s plan would extend that season.
Mr. Howell stated he is all for it and welcomes these new ideas.
Jordan Davenport asked if the pictures of the proposed structure would be located where the house
presently sits. Mr. Smith stated the new building would be on the top of the hill away from the road
near the caves that exist on the property or about 300 yards off the road. He purchased the house on
the property and it is rented to a band member and the band practices there frequently. Mr. Thomas
Smith complained about possible noise, but he has not heard the band practicing. Nothing will
change for him. There will be live music at times, but it will not be every weekend. The plan is to
produce a product and sell the produce they grow on Catawba along with products other people
grow on Catawba.
Bob Hille of 776 N. Hidden Harbor stated he applauds the efforts of Mr. Smith to bring agricultural
activities back on Catawba. There are presently about 1450 condominiums on Catawba. There
overall value is about $220,000,000 and they generate about $83,000,000 in property taxes which is
great for the local school system. If the local produce can be used by local restaurants, it would
assist the local farmers. He believes the proposal would be a great addition for the township.
Ron Wiseman clarified the proposed location of the building was not 300 yards from the road, but
rather, 300 feet. Mr. Smith agreed and showed him on the aerial the approximate location. Mr.
Wiseman asked if the road to the building would be on the south side of the Rofkar barn. Mr. Smith
stated that is the plan at this time, but there might be a loop as well. Mr. Wiseman asked about the
seating capacity of the building. Mr. Smith stated there would be 60 seats upstairs, 60 seats
downstairs, and about 30-50 seats outside.
Stephen Lonneman stated the “hobby” appears to be more than a hobby. He asked about the
potential number of jobs that were likely to occur. Mr. Smith stated he is always conservative when
it comes to job creation numbers. He would guess 12-14 jobs in the restaurant and brewery and
that it could get up to 20 on the high side.
Mr. Shaw asked for any additional statements or comments from those in attendance. There were
none. He closed the public hearing and asked for input from the Commission members.
Ron Wiseman stated he shared some of the concerns voiced in the letter from Thomas Smith at first.
However, after talking to law enforcement officers, the overall impact would be less than one load
of Miller Ferry passengers His concerns no longer exists related to traffic.
Jordan Davenport stated this is not another Mom-Ami or CIC with loud music creating problems for
the neighborhood. The intent of the Land Use Plan is to keep lower density uses on the interior of
the Island. Mr. Smith’s proposal could predominantly be done under the present zoning. He does
not see where the rezoning would create anything detrimental. He wondered why a conditional use
is needed. Mr. Wehenkel stated the conditional use is for the restaurant portion of the proposed use.
It just protects the applicant from the limitations established under the agricultural use. Mr.
Davenport stated his family has grown fruit trees for many years and he wished Mr. Smith good
luck on his endeavors.
Stephen Lonneman asked Mr. Wehenkel why the present “A” zoning district does not work. Mr.
Wehenkel stated it might work, but it leaves the owner open for accusations from others that the
activities going on exceed those permitted by the agricultural exception. After reviewing all of the
possibilities with Mr. Smith, and not knowing exactly what the final product might be as the
proposal is a work in progress, it seemed more appropriate to request the change of zoning and get
the necessary conditional use approved than run the risk of misinterpretation by the owner or
adjoining property owners of the activities that would be permitted thereby creating possible
litigation issues. Mr. Wehenkel asked Mr. Smith if he agreed with that summary and Mr. Smith
stated that he did. Mr. Lonneman stated microbreweries can be quite nice
Mr. Shaw recognized Tomi Johnson who stated peaches were a thriving market and economy in the
1800’s. As the market became less attractive, farmers sold off their waterfront property to subsidize
their farming operation during the depression years. As for the noise issues raised in the notarized
letter read earlier, Ms. Johnson stated she lives quite close to the Catawba Inn and they have outside
bands. The local police do a great job of monitoring noise and get the music turned down.
There being no other comments, Chairman Shaw asked for a motion on application # 668101 from
Quinstock Farms, LLC to rezone a portion of the property at 3630 NE. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton,
Ohio parcel # 0131437119350000 from the A district to the C-1 district. Jordan Davenport moved
to recommend approval of the application as read. His motion was seconded by Ron Wiseman.
Chairman Shaw stated a “yes” vote indicates you are in favor of recommending the proposed
application # 668101 from Quinstock Farms, LLC to rezone a portion of the property at 3630 NE.
Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, OH parcel # 0131437119350000 from the A district to the C-1 district
to the Catawba Island Township Trustees for their consideration and a “no” vote indicates you do
not favor the proposed change.
On roll call, all members voted yes. Mr. Shaw stated the proposed Application # 668101 from Quinstock Farms, LLC to rezone a portion of the property at 3630 NE. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, OH parcel # 0131437119350000 from the A district to the C-1 district will be recommended to the Catawba Island Trustees for their consideration. The date of this meeting is November 25, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Stephen Lonneman moved to approve the minutes of the June 25, 2014 meeting of the Commission. Jordan Davenport seconded the motion. The motion passed.
Chairman Shaw asked if there was any old business. There was none. Chairman Shaw asked for any new business. Mr. Wehenkel presented a listing of the meetings for 2015 to be reviewed. He also advised the Commission members that another application has been filed to rezone property on Sloan Street. Based upon the filing date and the law, a public hearing is required prior to the regularly scheduled meeting in December. Chairman Shaw has set the date for the hearing on December 3, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Materials will be mailed out in the next week or so.
There being no additional business, Mr. Shaw requested a motion to adjourn. Stephen Lonneman moved to adjourn the meeting. His motion was seconded by Jordan Davenport. The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.