Against public concern, Tipp Council approves lot rezoning in 4-3 vote

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

TIPP CITY — Despite public opposition aired at Tipp City Council Monday evening, an ordinance rezoning a parcel located on South County Road 25A from office service to multi-family residential was approved.

Rezoning the parcel at hand has been part of council discussion and voting since 2021, when an ordinance to change the comprehensive land use development plan, which would later allow for the rezoning of the land to mixed-use residential, was introduced at a November meeting. At the Nov. 15, 2021 meeting, the then-sitting council tabled the ordinance after a public hearing, determining that it should be the new council’s responsibility to vote on the changes to the comprehensive plan, as it would have more impact on the legislation they would see and vote on.

At the March 21, 2022 meeting, council approved the changes to the comprehensive plan in a 6-1 vote, with council President Kathryn Huffman voting against the ordinance. There was no public comment during the public hearing of the ordinance changing the comprehensive plan at that time.

At the May 10, 2022 Planning Board meeting, the board held a public hearing and approved the request to rezone properties that were designated office service and industrial to R-3 multi-family residential.

The ordinance to rezone from office service to multi-family residential was approved in a 4-3 vote, with Huffman and Council Members Ryan Liddy and Joanna Pittenger voting against the motion. Liddy had cited that while he was personally in favor of the rezoning, every citizen he had spoken to about the ordinance was against it.

“I’m not here for my personal decision, because if it was up to me, I’d vote yes. I’m here for you. I didn’t speak to a single individual who wanted this. For that reason, I plan to vote no, and I would ask the rest of council to take that into consideration,” Liddy said.

Several citizens attended the meeting to voice their concerns regarding rezoning the parcel over the course of an hour, which consisted of strains on the power grid, overcrowding in schools, strains placed on taxpayers, water runoff, and concerns that building more housing would take away the small-town feel that has attracted so many residents to Tipp City.

“I respect the builder, that you’re a good man and a good builder, but we’re not New York City and we’re not Charlotte, North Carolina. We’re Tipp City,” Donald Watson said. “Thank you for serving the city I’ve lived in my whole life. Don’t let this go through. Reject it.”

Doug Fortkamp, the current property owner of the parcel, said that he had received several development offers over the last 20 years the land has been for sale and that while the land is meant to be developed, he wanted to look toward a less dense development allowing more green space—something that the office service zoning would not provide.

“When this is built, if this is built, it has to follow every one of Tipp City’s regulations. It has to meet the zoning code, it has to meet the ground water code, it has to meet the environmental impact code, it has to meet traffic issues,” Fortkamp said.

Following the approval of the ordinance, an unidentified citizen attending the meeting called out “thanks for not listening to the people,” as they left council chambers.

Council also approved an ordinance rezoning a parcel of land located on South Kinna Drive from light industrial to multi-family residential in a 4-3 vote, with Huffman, Liddy and Pittenger voting against the motion.

Council unanimously approved a resolution completing the Miami County Tax Budget Process under the alternate tax budget process.

The next meeting of Tipp City Council will be held Monday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m.