A push by a Violet Township landowner for an auto repair and sales shop at the northeast corner of Refugee and Milnor roads could change zoning township-wide.

A push by a Violet Township landowner for an auto repair and sales shop at the northeast corner of Refugee and Milnor roads could change zoning township-wide.

Rocco Sabatino's proposed automotive business again will be discussed by the Violet Township Zoning Commission at 7:30 p.m. July 21 at the township offices, 12970 Rustic Drive NW. The meeting is open to the public.

On June 16, about 40 residents attended the township zoning meeting for the first discussion of the issue. Commissioners Robert Bussom and Steve Palsgrove were absent from the meeting because of vacation and surgery, respectively.

"We're getting a significant amount of community interest" about Sabatino's proposal, commission president John Biancamano said at that time. "I'm not prepared to vote at this meeting."

The commission could vote on the proposal at its July 21 meeting. Violet Township trustees have final say on the matter.

The township only allows retail automotive sales and service businesses on land zoned C-3. Sabatino wants the township to change the zoning code and allow such businesses on land in the township zoned C-2, such as his 1.195-acre property at Refugee and Milnor.

Sabatino said the change makes sense and is overdue. But residents worry that changing the zoning code will allow retail auto sales and service businesses to crop up all over the township.

"If left as it currently stands, which means not reclassifying retail automotive service and sales from C-3 to C-2, Violet Township will never have these types of low intensity businesses in the Refugee Road corridor," Sabatino told commissioners and residents June 16.

Sabatino said these businesses are "neat, tidy and quiet," close around 7 p.m., have few if any cars overnight, provide jobs and pay taxes that support schools. He said that in addition to auto sales, his business would perform light, non-collision repair work.

But Sabatino's plans are not really the point, resident Jonathan Freed told commissioners.

"I'm not here in opposition to Mr. Sabatino, but in opposition to township-wide zoning changes," Freed said. "It's a township-wide issue."

"I'm concerned with changing C-2 across the board," resident Cathie Kowalczuk said.

Mark Rosenson told commission members that if more residents knew that the zoning code might be changed, "there'd be a line out the door" of people waiting to address the commission.

Still, not everyone at the meeting opposed the zoning change.

Speaking in favor was resident Rose Oberst, who has raised six children in the area.

"I'm for the change," she said, citing the need for income, jobs and a tax base. "I don't see how this could have a negative impact."

Peggy Portier is the treasurer of the Mingo Estate Civic Association, a residential development that sits next to a local Goodyear Automotive shop.

"We've never had any complaints with Goodyear," Portier told the commission. "I don't think residents would have a problem with a Mr. Tire or a Goodyear compared to a 24-hour music and motorcycles" establishment.

Sabatino acknowledged that the C-2 zoning currently allows him to open numerous types of businesses at the northeast corner of Refugee and Milnor roads -- businesses potentially less savory to residents than auto repair and sales.

"There are a lot of things I can do under C-2, a 24-hour a day business, 365 days a year," he said.

Before the township's C-2 zoning can be reclassified, approval is needed from the zoning commission. The issue then would be sent to the Fairfield County Regional Planning Commission, which would review the proposed changes and offer recommendations back to the zoning commission.

If that occurs, the township zoning commission would review the regional planning commission's recommendation and make a final determination on Sabatino's request. The matter then would be referred to Violet Township trustees, who would decide if the change or changes should be implemented.