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Board approves dealership rezoning

Springfield Twp. business has been closed temporarily during dispute.

A local auto and recreational vehicle dealership temporarily closed because of its zoning classification was recommended for a rezoning by the CEDA zoning board last week.

Tom’s Toys, Boats, RVs and Trucks, 925 Upper Valley Pike, located at the former Forest Hills Par 3 golf course, cannot sell vehicles on the property unless it is rezoned from a residential district to a business district, according to Springfield Twp. officials.

The CEDA zoning board, a cooperative economic development agreement board consisting of members from the township, county and city, unanimously approved rezoning 7.13 acres of the 14.39-acre property from residential to business district, according to Allan Neimayer, senior planner for the Clark County community development department.

The recommendation is the first step in the business being able to reopen, Neimayer said. The Springfield Twp. Zoning Commission will hear the request on Feb. 25 at 6 p.m., while the Springfield Twp. Board of Trustees will also hear the case on April 8 at 5:45 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the township office, 2777 Springfield-Xenia Road.

Officials say the rezoning case was previously turned down because the business is located in the floodplain.

The business tried twice to have all 14 acres rezoned, but opted to use half of the property, keeping the portion in the floodplain as a residential district.

“When we first heard this, that’s what our comments were from the staff level along with the CEDA board,” Neimayer said.

Jim Peifer, the attorney for business owner Tom Owens, said they decided to reduce the dealership’s footprint because the CEDA and Springfield Twp. indicated they’d be more inclined to make a positive recommendation for the rezoning.

“That was the reason for it,” Peifer said.

The parcel was originally zoned residential when the township began its own zoning in 1974. However, the golf course was already located on the parcel and was grandfathered in as part of the township’s zoning regulations. It reverted back to residential after sitting vacant for a period of more than two years, according to Springfield Twp. administrator Jeff Briner.

Pat Dinh, a Springfield resident, bought the property last February for $90,000, according to county auditor’s records. He was unaware the property was zoned residential at the time, and Owens started his business there in the spring. Owens was later forced to close after township officials told him the property was zoned incorrectly.

The business recently posted a sign that said: “Going out of Business Sale, Due to the Springfield Twp. Residential Zoning on this property we will be closing, Get your best deal now.”

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