About our Zoning Department Staff
In Jefferson Township, all zoning activity is supervised by the Zoning Administrator/Inspector Charles McCroskey. The Zoning/Building Clerk Lorri Coupland provides administrative support for the Zoning Administrator/Inspector and serves as the zoning secretary for the Board of Zoning Appeals & Zoning Commission.
Charles joined Jefferson Township in 2000; prior to that, he was zoning inspector for the Franklin County Development Department. Lorri joined Jefferson Township in 1998 as the zoning secretary and started full-time in the zoning office in 2006; prior to that, she worked in the private sector.
Charles performs inspections, receive & review applications, follow up on zoning violations and answer questions having to do with land use from a variety of individuals and businesses. Lorri performs various administrative office duties for the Zoning Department.
In addition, Charles is Jefferson Township’s Zoning Inspector; charged with the responsibility to ensure that the Zoning Resolution is followed. McCroskey also represents Jefferson Township during the review process of a rezoning application with Franklin County and Jefferson Township officials; provides monthly reports on all activities of the zoning department; reviews each zoning-related application for compliance with the regulations; submits a staff report on each application to assist the Board of Zoning Appeals and Zoning Commission members; works with the Chairman and sets the agenda for each Board.
Overview of Zoning in Jefferson Township
Jefferson Township zoning is governed by the Ohio Revised Code; Section §519 which provides for the regulation of land uses through a five-member Zoning Commission. The commission must consider each request in a public hearing; make a recommendation to the Township Trustees. Any zoning change requires a three-step process — first, a recommendation from the Franklin County Planning Commission must be received; second, the Zoning Commission must conduct a public hearing to submit a recommendation for the Township Trustees to review and third, the Township Trustees must conduct a public hearing before any action can be taken on the recommendation. The zoning change process could be completed within ninety – one hundred twenty days and any zoning change becomes effective thirty-days from the date the Township Trustees take action.
A separate body, also required by law, hears variances from certain zoning standards, appeals from a code enforcement action and cases where the zoning code allows certain uses with conditions. These latter are commonly referred to as "conditional uses." This Board of Zoning Appeals also has five members.
The Board of Zoning Appeals is judicial in nature and therefore its decision is final and may be appealed only to common pleas court.
In Jefferson Township, members of both bodies work very hard, studying the data about the cases scheduled to come before them, traveling to the site so they have a clear idea of its physical characteristics and those of the neighboring parcels, and listening patiently to all who want to speak during the public hearings. Both bodies meet each month and check the COMMUNITY CALENDAR for the next scheduled meeting.
Since the Zoning Commission is tasked with recommending an actual change in land use; board members encourage any applicant to first meet informally at a public meeting, while there is time to discuss the idea and outline the Jefferson Township vision clearly to the applicant. The informal "workshop" session occur at the Zoning Commission regular meeting and are open to all.
Jefferson Township was the first Franklin County Township to adopt their own zoning regulations and map specifying the location of certain zoning categories (in 1974). This act brought this important—and sometimes emotional—function under the control of Jefferson Township residents who best know the area and share a common vision for it. Prior to 1974, all land use decisions for Jefferson Township were made by Franklin County officials. Of the seventeen Townships in Franklin County, five have followed Jefferson Township and created zoning regulations.
About the Land Use Plan
The Ohio Revised Code provides that the Township Trustees may adopt a plan for future land use and this document is most frequently called a Comprehensive Land Use Plan which includes a map. The text of Jefferson Township’s comprehensive plan is simple and straightforward. It is the map that our officials look to most frequently when they deliberate rezoning requests.
Jefferson Township’s current comprehensive plan was adopted in 1996 and the land use map has been updated from time to time since then.
The plan and map are used to implement the Jefferson Township’s Community Core Values which call for Jefferson Township to be a "Green Community," with managed growth and large amounts of open space.
The comprehensive plan promotes "conservation development" which allows housing to be grouped in portions of the site away from natural resources and environmentally sensitive areas. These undeveloped areas are then set aside as permanent open space, thus retaining Jefferson Township’s rural character.
Most communities call their land use plan a "development plan." Jefferson Township’s land use plan is truly a "preservation plan."
Using Jefferson Township’s conservation zoning category and the comprehensive plan most of the township is being developed with a very "light touch," to preserve the rural character and natural beauty currently enjoyed by our residents. Open space is required in nearly all of Jefferson Township’s residential developments. In nearly every case, a minimum of 35% of each tract zoned in Jefferson Township since 1990 has been set aside as open space.
The plan is a guide by which the Zoning Commission and Jefferson Township Trustees can determine if a request for zoning change to a specific land use fits with the overall vision for Jefferson Township as outlined by the comprehensive plan and map.
If the plan is followed, the Township Trustees will have one-third less population when it is completely built out (in 30 years or so) than it would if each tract were allowed to develop as it is currently zoned.
About Jefferson Townships Zoning Map
The original zoning map was adopted in 1974 and much of the zoning remains unchanged from that time.
About 5,100-acres (most of the land north of Havens Corners Road and west of Waggoner Road) is zoned to RESTRICTED SUBURBAN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (RSR) and allows homes on 1-acre lots. However, the land use plan calls for no more than one home for every three to five acres when this area is completely built out -- probably twenty -thirty years from now.
When a residential zoning change occurs, the primary zoning category used is PLANNED SUBURBAN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (PSRD). This use allows homes to be clustered to save open space and natural features. Greater (or fewer) homes per one-acre can be approved, but no more than 2.5 dwelling units per acre is permitted and no less than 35% of the entire site must be retained as open space. Most parcels zoned to this category have no more than 1 dwelling unit per acre and many sites have much more than 35% of the site set aside as permanent open space. Subdivisions zoned PSRD include Kitsmillers Crossing (1du/acre), Jefferson Estates (1du/acre) Blacklick Ridge (2.2 du/acre) Morrison Farms (2.5 du/acre) and The Woods at Swisher Creek (0.7 du/acre).
SUBURBAN PERIPHERY RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT (SPRD) is confined to approximately 445-acres in Jefferson Township which all of it is located along the Waggoner Road corridor area next to the City of Columbus containing very high density. This zoning category gives Jefferson Township a competitive edge to retain development in Jefferson Township and stop the loss of Township ground to the City of Columbus through annexation. This zoning category cannot be used elsewhere in the Township.
The zoning map has other zoning categories as listed. It’s rare that categories other than the “planned district” categories are used thus giving Jefferson Township officials much greater control over density, design and open space preservation with better ability to manage growth.