Trustees Asked to Join Effort to Preserve Township Zoning Authority

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The Ohio Senate has introduced a bill, Senate Bill 245, “Declare intent to address local zoning that impedes housing,” which local and state officials fear will put an end to local Township zoning authority. The President of the Geauga County Township Association, Mr. Jonathan Tiber, has prepared a letter to send to the Ohio Legislature, expressing Geauga County Trustees’ support of keeping our Township zoning authority intact.

Help Fortify Geauga fight to save Township zoning authority in Ohio.
Please click here to find out
how you can help.

The letter, reproduced below, is being distributed to all Township Trustees in Geauga County. Mr. Tiber is asking all Trustees to sign the letter and return it to him so he can send them all to the Legislature. A modified version of the letter is being sent to our Geauga County Commissioners, and Mr. Tiber plans to share the letter with other Ohio counties, in the hopes they will initiate a similar effort.

Initial conversations between the GCTA and Geauga County Trustees indicate there is widespread (possibly unanimous) support for protecting our zoning authority, so Mr. Tiber anticipates an overwhelmingly positive response from our Trustees.

Fortify Geauga encourages all Geauga County citizens to get involved in this effort
You can help by contacting your Trustees and encouraging them to sign the letter and return it to Mr. Tiber before the end of June. You can find the contact information for all Geauga County Trustees on our Local Government page. Share this post with your Trustees via email, print this page and give it to them at a meeting, or call and leave a message referencing the GCTA letter. Please be friendly and respectful. Likewise, please let our Geauga County Commissioners know you would like them to sign this letter. You can find their contact information here.

Your efforts are also needed at the state level. Local Senator Sandra O’Brien attended a recent Geauga County Planning Commission meeting to address this threat to Township zoning authority, and she encouraged all citizens to contact their local Senators and Representatives on this issue. Please see a detailed description of her comments and suggestions in our post, Local Senator: Act NOW to Preserve Township Zoning Rights. Her suggestions included:

  • Contact your own Senator and Representative (even though Senator O’Brien already knows many Geaugans are against this zoning takeover, it’s still useful for her office to receive emails so they can be counted)
  • Contact Senate President, Matt Huffman
  • Contact Speaker of the House, Jason Stephens
  • Contact Governor DeWine
  • In all communications, be direct and respectful. Let your legislators know you are against any statewide changes to township zoning rights.
  • When pertinent legislation receives hearings, travel to Columbus to testify in opposition or submit written testimony to the Committee ahead of the hearing (Check back on for updates and instructions, and sign up for our weekly Newsletter.)

Finally, please join Fortify Geauga as we mobilize citizens to spread the word on this issue. It is vitally important for our legislators in Columbus to receive a groundswell of contacts from Township residents who don’t want our zoning authority challenged by the State. This can only happen if we spread the word to our community. We are planning several initiatives to inform the community and our success depends on your involvement! If you can help, please send us an email to or fill out this Call to Action form.

Save the date:  Monday, June 24th! At our June meeting, you can learn about our strategy and how you can help with:
Door-to-door activities
Phone calls
Letters to the editor
Social Media
and more

We will provide the materials and training you need to help us protect our Townships. If you would like to join us in this fight, please send us an email to or fill out this Call to Action form.  We will send you the time and location details. We will make alternate arrangements for anyone who would like to help but is unable to attend our training on the 24th.

Geauga County Township Association Letter to Ohio Legislature:

Protect Township Zoning Authority
In 1947, the Ohio General Assembly enacted local zoning through ORC 519. We know many of you recognize the importance of local township governance. We thank you for preserving and supporting township zoning authority. This plea addresses any effort by those who wish to dismiss that authority such as what the Central Building Industry proposed in their white paper in December, 2023.

The processes to amend local zoning codes include input from township citizens. These include no less than two (2) public hearings and/or voter referendum. Ohio is not a one-town-fits-all state because each township is unique. Who better than local residents to ensure proper development, community needs, sustainability and economic growth uniquely tailored to the characteristics, dynamics, values, aspirations and demands of their individual community? Because of this, local zoning authority is a prime example of the purest form of American democracy.

Townships exhibit great efficiency in zoning due to local knowledge and understanding of community needs especially when residents themselves serve on their own local zoning boards. Approximately 800 Ohio townships have zoning which means there are approximately 8,000 township citizens serving on Boards of Zoning Appeal and Zoning Commission Boards. Many of these residents simply volunteer their time as a way to give back to the community in which they live to ensure residents have a strong voice in the local zoning process. State-mandated zoning will rob opportunity from these citizens, disrupt this efficiency and will hinder timely local decision making.

Centralized zoning decisions at the state level is an overreach and infringement of the democratic process and an assault on the lowest magistrate. Anything other than local zoning authority will undermine the unique identity of each township, jeopardize property value and otherwise negatively impact the very spirit of individual communities.

Township zoning is created by and voted upon by township residents. Therefore, we, the undersigned, who as of May 22, 2024, are all elected officials, are unequivocally opposed to any and all legislation which, in any way or manner, strips any zoning authority from Ohio townships.

We are grateful for your time and consideration, now and in the future, regarding this matter.

1 Response

  1. 06/05/2024

    […] state’s maneuvers; however, we need all township Trustees to sign the GCTA’s letter.  Read the letter here and see instructions for how you can […]

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