The Jerome Township Trustees have rescheduled a pair of public hearings and the public is concerned.
“I am just really disappointed,” Dublin resident Alycia Cassini said.
Jerome Township had scheduled a pair of public hearings — one for Jerome Grand at Jacquemin Farms and the other for The Villas at St. Therese —for Tuesday night. At the meeting Tuesday, Trustee Ron Rhodes announced the hearings would be continued to today.
“It also gives the appearance that you are trying to avoid public participation,” Cassini said, who was in attendance to observe the process and share her thoughts on the development.
The board was to hear presentations by the developers and Zoning Inspector Mark Spagnuolo on the plans. Additionally, the public would have the opportunity to comment on the projects.
Rhodes said late last week the applicants asked for the continuance.
“Both applicants have requested a continuance and they would like a time when the entire board is able to help,” Rhodes said.
Trustee C.J. Lovejoy was not in attendance. Lovejoy, who is a new hire with the Columbus Police Department, has been forced to miss several meetings because of his work schedule.
Attorney Aaron Underhill, representing the Schottenstein Real Estate Group which is developing the property, asked to have the hearing continued to, “the earliest possible time when the full board can hear the request.”
Rhodes said this type of request is, “not unusual.” He said a hearing in front of a partial board would be like a trial in front of half a jury.
Don Brosius, representing the township, explained the township could recess the hearing and set the hearing for today at 9 a.m., in the township building. He said that by scheduling the hearing for a specific time and place, the township would not need to advertise the meeting. He said the hearing would be quasi-judicial and not legislative, though he would not elaborate on the difference for the public.
After the meeting, Rhodes said he had worked for quite awhile to find a time that worked for the developers, the attorneys and the entire board. He said today was the best option.
“Do you think this is fair to the residents?” Cassini asked the trustees
She said setting the hearing during the morning makes it difficult for people who work to come to the hearings. She added that by scheduling it 15 hours later, there would not be time for residents to make plans to attend.
Brosius told Cassini she would have the opportunity to participate at today’s public hearing, though he added it was yet to be determined if Cassini would have standing to be heard.
Brosius told the trustees they did not have to listen to Cassini at Tuesday night’s meeting and said the hearing should be closed.
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