WATCH: Will the Ohio Senate Move to Usurp Township Zoning Authority? (Interview with Chris Alusheff)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We’ll have the latest updates from Chris Alusheff on this issue and any pending legislation at our next get-together on Monday, May 20th at 6:30pm (details here).

Fortify Geauga President Tiffanie Broadbent interviewed local Zoning Inspector Chris Alusheff about recent developments in the Ohio Senate that may lead to the state usurping local zoning authority. What is behind this move, how will this affect Geauga County, and what can citizens do about it? Watch our interview below for details. Many thanks to Mr. Alusheff for sharing his knowledge and experience with us on this crucial topic. (See the bottom of this post for a list of questions & topics covered with timestamps.)

Click below to view the video:

Interview with Zoning Inspector Chris Alusheff: Will the Ohio Senate Usurp Township Zoning Authority?

Chris Alusheff is the Zoning Inspector for Claridon and Chester Townships, the President of the Aquila Village Town Council, and the President of the Health District Advisory Council.  Mr. Alusheff spoke with Fortify Geauga to explain developments in the Ohio Senate that are poised to threaten the zoning authority of Ohio’s townships.

Townships in Ohio are governed by section 519 of the Ohio Revised Code.  While cities in Ohio are described by charters and have broad powers to govern themselves, townships are limited in their powers by the state legislature.   Around 1947, the state legislature granted townships the option to set their own zoning policies.  The shape of those policies has a large impact on the character of each area, affecting the residential, commercial, and industrial development in each township.

As Mr. Alusheff informed us, the Ohio Senate formed a Select Committee on Housing to investigate Ohio’s housing needs and determine whether and how the state can meet current and future housing demand.  The committee held hearings throughout the state, collected testimony from residents, industry members, and developers, and has now issued a final report, “Housing Reimagined:  Building a Solid Foundation for Ohio’s Future.” (You can download the report here.)

That report will be used as the basis for legislation which Mr. Alusheff anticipates will be introduced soon in the Senate, and will aim to abolish the barriers to housing development in Ohio.  Among those barriers, according to the committee, are township zoning rights that limit high-density housing. 

A building industry group and a lobbying firm (testified to) the Senate Select Committee on barriers to affordable housing.  They…basically threw townships under the bus and told the … committee that township zoning is a major barrier and impediment to housing development in the state of Ohio.

Chris Alusheff

Mr. Alusheff warns the legislation may eliminate or drastically curtail sections of the Ohio Revised Code that grant townships autonomy in their zoning regulations.  This would eliminate the feature of township government that allows the wishes of constituents to shape our communities.

Mr. Alusheff describes several downsides to replacing township zoning authority with a one-size-fits all plan mandated by the state. Most notably, it will be difficult or impossible to retain the individual character of townships if residents cannot shape their own zoning policies and development, as one plan applied to all townships cannot address the individual needs in each area. Another consideration is that state control of these issues will invite intrusive federal influence as well:

If you tie zoning administration into the states, then the federal government has … their carrot and stick at the state level … billons of dollars passed through from the federal government to the state government to the point where they could really hurt you if they say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to withhold this $10 billion in transportation or infrastructure funding unless you enact these zoning rules.’

Chris Alusheff

Mr. Alusheff suggests all residents contact their Township Trustees, attend Trustee meetings and zoning meetings, and most importantly, residents should become involved by volunteering to serve on zoning boards and zoning appeals boards in their townships. 

  • Contact your Trustees by phone or email and speak with them at your next meeting.  Please visit our Local Government page and find links to your township’s website, contact information and meetings/calendar pages. 
  • Share this post and video with your fellow residents and your Trustees.  
  • Check back with for updates on the pending legislation or sign up for our weekly Newsletter where we will alert our readers to new developments and instructions on who to contact once legislation is introduced. 
  • Join us at our next get-together on Monday, May 20th for updates from Chris Alusheff.

0:32      Background: structure of townships, differences between townships & cities
2:25      Differences between zoned & unzoned townships, affect of zoning on daily life, property values
4:28      Residential, commercial and industrial zoning
5:21      Minimum lot sizes
5:58      Zoning referenda and appeals
7:35      Discussion of proposed (unsuccessful) zoning amendment in Chesterland in 2022
9:27      Current moves by the Senate Select Committee on Housing to override township zoning
10:08    Building industry groups & lobbyist pitting describing township zoning authority as a detriment to fair housing
11:32    Senate Select Committee proposing statewide action based on the needs of a few Columbus-area counties
12:18    (The Senate Select committee on Housing) has identified …township zoning laws as the enemy to their large housing development plans.  So what are they proposing to do?
13:40    Elimination of community input with zoning boards gone, difficulty of one-size-fits-all, state-directed zoning policies
17:32    What can people in Geauga County do who are worried about this?
20:06    Regular citizens keep our local government working
20:44    Geauga county townships vulnerable to state control and developers
21:56    State control of zoning regulations will invite more federal involvement due to infrastructure dollars being tied to zoning reform
23:20    Parallel with Dept. of Education placing ideological/educational stipulations on public schools received ESSR funds during COVID
24:09    Links on for all Geauga County townships (meeting schedules, etc.)
24:38    Mr. Alusheff encourages everyone to read the Senate Select Committee report
24:54    Significance of the Select Committee’s report & timeline for legislation

4 Responses

  1. This is excellent. Another job well done! Thank you

  1. 04/24/2024

    […] It’s been a busy week here at Fortify Geauga.  We sat down with Mr. Chris Alusheff, Zoning Inspector for Clarion and Chester Townships, to discuss a recent report by the Ohio Senate Select Committee on Housing that could spell trouble for local zoning authority in Geauga County’s townships.  Please take a few minutes to learn about this alarming possibility and what you can do to stop it:  WATCH: Will the Ohio Senate Move to Usurp Township Zoning Authority? […]

  2. 05/16/2024

    […] is that state control of these issues will invite intrusive federal influence as well (see our post and interview with Mr. […]

  3. 05/17/2024

    […] take a few minutes to learn about this alarming possibility and what you can do to stop it:  WATCH: Will the Ohio Senate Move to Usurp Township Zoning Authority?  (Interview with Zoning Inspector Chris Alusheff)  And please SHARE it with ALL OHIO residents […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *