The Canal Winchester Times

Residents say approval of golf course variance ignored city's zoning laws


Canal Winchester resident Corey Berta believes the planning commission ignored the city's zoning code when it approved a variance request that would allow construction of a shelter house at the Westchester Golf Course on Bent Grass Boulevard.

He has appealed the planning commission's ruling to Canal Winchester City Council, which has scheduled a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. Monday, April 15, at Town Hall, 10 N. High St.

At issue is a zoning requirement that says there must be a principle structure in place in order for an accessory structure to be approved.

City Development Director Lucas Haire said the golf course has had several accessory structures for years.

"They've been using a large, event-size tent for a couple years now, but it has been damaged by storms a few times and can be difficult to deal with, so they want to build a more permanent shelter house to take its place for things like golf outings and other special events," Haire said. "However, they had to request a variance because our code requires a principle structure and they don't have that, which is what Berta is appealing."

Several residents, including former mayor Jeff Miller, turned out in support of Berta's appeal at the April 1 council meeting.

Miller said residents believe the golf course should be held to a higher standard that is more in line with the neighborhood where they live.

He believes the city should require Westchester Golf Course to build a principle structure before any more accessory buildings are constructed.

"As a resident of this community for over 20 years, I'm here before council for the first time since being mayor to say you need to first serve our property owners who have made a commitment to living and taking care of our community," Miller said. "It was faith in the body politic and the developers -- perhaps misplaced -- that we wouldn't have another structure like this built, so that's why I'm here to take exception to this proposal and want to go on record of that."

Following public hearing, council will have the opportunity to vote April 15 on whether to grant the appeal or uphold the planning and zoning commission's original decision.