In 2006, the Grays received written permission to build a home and storage business on their Ohio property, but things quickly went sideways.
Their storage facility was constructed in Miami Township (Montgomery County), which is zoned “light industrial,” and their home was built in adjacent Clearcreek Township (Warren County), zoned “residential.” Because the Grays’ access road runs through Warren County, Clearcreek Township banned the family from accessing their business.
The business shut down, and a long legal fight ensued–until the Grays finally caught a break on June 11.
After four hours of deliberation, the Clearcreek Township Board of Zoning Appeals granted Linda and Howard Gray a zoning variance, allowing them to use their driveway for non-residential purposes. However, this ruling comes with some stipulations.
1. Speed: The Grays must pave their driveway and add speedbumps to ensure nobody travels over 15 miles per hour.
2. Access: A controlled access gate must be installed at the Montgomery County-Warren County border, and self-storage customers can access their units only from 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
3. Signage: The Grays have to remove the existing PennyRoyal Self Storage sign and replace it with one that complies with zoning regulations.
According to zoning chief Jeff Palmer, Clearcreek Township has granted a variance like this only twice in the past 13 years. To win the variance, the Grays had to convince the zoning board that enforcing the existing law would result in “unnecessary hardship.”
During her testimony, Linda Gray explained: “You add up our attorney fees, you add up our default to the bank, you add up our county taxes, and we are under the gun for about $100,000.”
The board also heard arguments from angry neighbors who complained of dust and speeding. Neighbor Jon Flynn said the Grays’ “employees often sped down the driveway, fishtailing around a blind turn at the edge of our property. These activities all had (an) effect on the well-being and quality of life at our residence.”
Despite opposition from Flynn and others, the board ruled in favor of the Grays.
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