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WEST CHESTER TWP.

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
MUSA Council
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    Posted: May 25 2014 at 11:51am

Updated: 4:10 p.m. Friday, May 23, 2014 | Posted: 11:00 a.m. Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trustee: Residents have more to fear from local zoning than Taliban

By Eric Schwartzberg

Staff Writer

    WEST CHESTER TWP. — The gloves seem to be coming off in the fight to revamp zoning laws in Ohio’s largest township.

    Trustee President George Lang this week said that residents have more to fear from West Chester Twp.’s zoning department than they do a certain Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan.

    Americans are slowly losing their opportunity to go where they want to go, do what they want to do, be what they want to be, live the way they want to live and pray the way they want to pray, Lang said during a West Chester Tea Party meeting.

    “They’re taking those rights away from us,” he said. “You’ll say ‘What does that have to do with West Chester?’ Well, it’s going on at the local government, as well. You have more to fear from your local zoning department, than you do from the Taliban.”

    Lang went on to clarify that, “Yeah, the Taliban is horrible. Yeah, what they can do to America is horrible,” but reiterated that the individual has more to fear from local zoning.

He said he believes fully in the principles of the Tea Party, including limited government.

“That’s the reason why West Chester as a township has flourished and prospered while the rest of the state has suffered, because we have limited government,” he said.    “Business can come here … and make more money than going to just about any other community that surrounds us. No one can compete with us, because our costs are lower and, in general, we have a kinder, friendlier zoning department, but we’ve been losing that.”

    Lang said that over the last six years, township zoning has become “more strict, more onerous,” and that he was happy to have Mark Welch elected to the board of trustees last November.

    “We are starting to undo what I feel are unjust zoning laws,” Lang said, eliciting applause.

    Laws that trustees recently voted to suspend until the township’s zoning code can be revised include prohibiting commercial vehicles from parking during certain hours in the right of way, prohibiting commercial vehicles from parking during certain hours on private property and forbidding a business from using a costumed mascot with a sign to advertise.

    Trustees also voted to disallow anonymous zoning complaints.

    “Think about that,” Lang said. “You could be someone’s competitor, you could be someone’s brother-in-law who’s upset, someone’s spouse, and you could call the township and make an anonymous complaint and the township was forced to act on that anonymous complaint. It may not even have anything to do with what the complaint is. It may be a personal vendetta.”

    Trustee Mark Welch said a free people only needs two laws: “do all that you agree to do,” which he said is the basis of all contract law, and “do not encroach upon other people or their property,” which he said is the basis of all criminal law.

“Zoning is one of the things that, I see it’s kind of encroaching on folks,” Welch said.

    For the past year, a committee has been examining the entirety of the township’s zoning code, Lang said. That committee likely will make recommendations to trustees sometime in the next six months.

    “It is my hope that the three of us can get together and significantly reduce or eliminate the zoning regulations and how they affect businesses and individuals in West Chester,” Lang said.

    Trustee Lee Wong told the Journal-News Thursday that both Lang and Welch are “trying to pull the enforcement teeth out of the code.”

    “The township only has two code enforcement officers,” Wong said. “They took away the anonymous caller away.”

    Wong also said people are now “uncomfortable to report violations” and that Lang employed a “fear tactic” when he made his zoning-versus-Taliban rhetoric.

 

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