April 17, 2014

Intermittent clouds

Hearing Tuesday morning on Westfield zoning challenge

MEDINA —A judge will hear arguments at 9 a.m. Tuesday from two newly elected Westfield Township trustees who seek to block an out-of-court settlement that would allow commercial development on a 105-acre lot on Greenwich Road.

The property now  is  zoned primarily for rural homes, but Timothy and Linda Kratzer filed a lawsuit in August to overturn a decision by the township Board of Zoning Appeals that barred the couple from building.

A possible settlement between the Kratzers and the current trustees is set for announcement Friday, but trustees-elect William Thombs and Michael Schmidt — who will take office Jan. 1 — filed a “motion to intervene” on Thursday requesting a judge delay the Friday meeting.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier said he plans to make a ruling in time for the meeting.

The settlement is supported by trustees Gary Harris and Ronald Oiler, who voted in favor of rezoning in 2012 and were defeated by Thombs and Schmidt in the November election. Thombs led a November 2011 referendum decision against the rezoning, and Schmidt served on the zoning appeals board that rejected the variance in July.

Thombs and Schmidt accuse Harris and Oiler of trying to get the case settled before they leave office.

Five township residents who own land near the lot, at 5669 Greenwich Road, have also filed motions to intervene, saying building commercially on the land would impede work on nearby farms, reduce property values, increase police and fire taxes and would make flooding more likely.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.


  • Karen Fisher

    According to the Medina County Auditoru2019s website, the five township residents listed as petitioners on the motion to intervene appear not to be contiguous landowners to the Kratzer property. The addresses of the five are a distance of the following: McDougal = about .7 miles; Perry = about 1.5 miles; Huttinger = about 2.6 u2013 1.3 miles; Hastings = about 2.1 miles; and Sulzener = about 1 mile. The two incoming trustees Thombs and Schmidt live about 4.4 miles and 4.2 miles respectively. Thombs and Schmidt couldnu2019t find contiguous land owners who would join them on this motion? Wouldn’t contiguous land owners have more to say about this appeal to rezone?

  • Joseph Doty

    The Judge granted their Motion so obviously he believes they will be affected by this last minute deal making among the good ‘ol boys!

  • Karen Fisher

    To be clear … the township meeting WILL take place on Friday, Dec. 27 at 7 PM as scheduled. The trustees WILL vote on the settlement. The results WILL be sent to the judge for review and on Feb. 13 he will allow the participants listed in the motion to intervene to speak before he makes his declaration. The motion submitted by the incoming trustees was to STOP the meeting on Friday. The judge DID NOT find any legal reason to stop the meeting. Anyone assuming that the judge’s actions this morning favor the petitioners of the motion to intervene is grasping at straws.

  • taxpayer_voter_resident

    grasping at straws??? its taking my voting right away from me as a voter… Perhaps the good people of the township should grasp a straw and find legal action against the trustees and their closed door politics

  • Karen Fisher

    To ‘taxpayer_voter_resident’ …. I truly am sorry the vote tonight didn’t go your way. We have ALL been ‘damaged’ by this years-long issue. I felt the same frustration when the ‘naming of the road’ issue came up in 2008 and 2 of the 3 trustees voted to ignore a petition signed by 113 residents. You may want to read the trustee meeting minutes on the township website to get the details.