LACON — A Chillicothe man who moved his longtime septic and excavating business to an old sawmill site just north of Lacon got a thumbs-up from the Marshall County Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday night for his request to build a house on the property.
The panel voted unanimously to recommend rezoning from light industrial to agricultural the approximately eight-acre parcel at 904 State Route 26. The panel also granted Cliff Perry a special use permit to operate River City Septic Service and Excavating from that location.
“The one thing I’m asking for is to be able to build a house there,” Perry said at the public hearing. “I’ve already moved the business there (from Rome). I’d like to be able to get up in the morning and walk across the parking lot to go to work.”
It turned out during the hearing that the zoning change would not have been necessary to accommodate that, officials said. Zoning Administrator Patrick Sloan said it had initially been scheduled because the county ordinance appeared to prohibit homes in an I-1 district while allowing that type of business.
However, ZBA member Tim Gensler pointed out that the ordinance contains an exception for property owners: “No building shall be used for residential purposes, except that the owner, operator or watchman and their family may reside on the premises,” he read aloud from the text.
“You read it closer than I did,” Sloan replied.
But Perry decided to move ahead with the change anyway after officials suggested that it could provide more flexibility for the property in the future.
“I just want to do what’s best for the area and whatever everybody thinks I need to do,” he said. “That’s what I’m here for.”
In response to questions, Perry assured neighboring property owners that he would not be dumping sewage on the property or causing a lot of noise like a sawmill. The property and buildings will be used mainly to house and repair equipment at night and on weekends when it’s not at a work site, he added.
Perry said his father started the family-owned business 46 years ago, and Perry hopes it will eventually be taken over by his own 26-year-old son. The company provides various excavation services as well as installing and servicing septic systems, according to its website.
“I like to hear there’s going to be a home there,” said neighbor Bob Klinker. “Your business will be fine, and I think it will be healthy for our neighborhood.”
The changes also will have to be approved by the County Board next month, but that panel has a history of accepting ZBA recommendations.
Gary L. Smith can be reached at (800) 516-0389 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Northern Circuit blog at pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @Glsmithx.