Liberty Township trustees plan to meet with both the township zoning commission and board of zoning appeals to discuss a more consumer-friendly approach toward businesses.

Liberty Township trustees plan to meet with both the township zoning commission and board of zoning appeals to discuss a more consumer-friendly approach toward businesses.

At a special meeting March 29, trustees tentatively scheduled 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, for the group meeting.

"There's a need to get everybody on the same page, especially on sign regulations and the need to be more commercial and consumer friendly," said trustee Curt Sybert, who added the zoning commission has a very tough and time-consuming job.

Last summer, trustees asked the zoning commission to meet with area businesses and update the sign code to make it more business-friendly.

That request came after a number of business owners told trustees the zoning codes, in particular sign regulations, are too restrictive.

In the past year, several properties, including the Market at Liberty Crossing and CVS, have sought annexation into Powell. In part, the property owners said they were seeking less restrictive sign regulations.

On March 29, trustees expressed frustration that the sign code update has not been completed.

"I don't understand why the sign code is not done. I know there's a process, but that was started last year," said trustee Mary Carducci.

Sybert, who has served on the township zoning commission for several years, said the process is more difficult than people think.

He also said he didn't think signs were the "major deal" with property annexing into Powell.

"It's given to the press as the excuse," Sybert said. "It's really not the excuse that our sign regulations in Liberty Township are too difficult. ... It's bull and it's being used against us."

Carducci said, "I want to make sure that we're on track and these things are getting done; I want to be confident the signage issue is not the problem."

In other business, trustees hired Christine Maish as part-time zoning secretary.

With this hire, trustees changed what has been a standard benefit for part-time and full-time employees at hiring.

For previous part-time and full-time employee hires, the trustees agreed to pay 100 percent of the employee contribution to Public Employees Retirement System, called a "pick up."

Starting with this part-time hire, trustees directed staff to reduce that benefit for all employees.

"It's a board directive," township administrator Dave Anderson said. The trustees are also hoping to gradually remove that benefit.

Anderson said the additional position is needed because current staffers have been working overtime to attend zoning commission meetings and scan documents to get them online.

Trustees said they were reluctant to hire more employees when they were having difficulty paying for the ones they have.