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The State of Ohio is trying to take over Township zoning authority. What does this mean and how can we fight it? Find all the information and instructions on this page.

The Problem

Lawmakers in Columbus (and the lobbyists who pressure them) want to create more high-density housing to aid in large development projects, for example, the proposed Intel plant near Columbus. They have decided Township zoning rights are an impediment to hosing development and have introduced a bill, Senate Bill 243, titled “Declare intent to address local zoning that impedes housing.” This statewide bill would alter or abolish zoning authority in all of Ohio’s Townships. It presents a huge threat to Geauga County, where 87% of our residents live in Townships. Check out the resources below to find out more about why this matters and where it’s headed.

Read: Local Senator: Act NOW to Preserve Township Zoning Rights
Watch: Fortify Geauga on the Buckeye Patriot Podcast
Watch: Will the Ohio Senate Move to Usurp Township Zoning Authority? (Interview with Chris Alusheff)
Update: Zoning Fight Continues After Initial Citizen Victory
In the News: Geauga County Maple Leaf, “Fortify Geauga Hosts ‘Protect Our Townships’ Training”

The Solution: Five Emails & Ten Friends

Citizens: Lawmakers who are trying to protect our Townships tell us citizens need to send emails opposing this move to five legislators. We need a large volume of emails to reach these individuals to let them know we will not let them take away our rights as Township residents.

Email the Senate President, your local Senator, the Speaker of the House, your local House Representative, and the Governor. Click on each Legislator’s name to go to a fillable contact form that will send them an email, or use the email addresses provided.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-12)
Huffman@ohiosenate.gov, 614-466-7584
Speaker of the House Jason Stephens (R-93)
Rep93@ohiohouse.gov, 614-719-6987
Governor Mike DeWine
Visit www.governor.ohio.gove/contact
Geauga area legislators (if you don’t know your district or you live outside the Geauga County area, click here):
Sen. Jerry Cirino (R-18)
Cirino@ohiosenate.gov, 614-644-7718
Sen. Sandra O’Brien (R-32)
O’brien@ohiosenate.gov, 614-466-7182
Sen. Vernon Sykes (D-28)
Sykes@ohiosenate.gov, 614-466-7041
Rep. Sarah Fowler-Arthur (R-99)
Rep99@ohiohouse.gov, 614-466-1405
Rep. Steve Demetriou (R-35)
Rep35@ohiohouse.gov, 614-644-5088

Emails to legislators become part of the public record, unlike phone calls. Even if you know your legislator is against this zoning takeover, please still send him or her an email so your wishes can be counted. Friendly legislators can use the number of emails they receive as a means to convince others of citizens’ wishes. State your opposition in the Subject line. You can copy and paste the same email for each legislator. (Feel free to use our sample wording.)

Sample wording for emails
Subject: I oppose SB 243 and all attempts to alter Township zoning authority

Dear Governor DeWine,
I am alarmed at the report issued by the Senate Select Committee on Housing and the creation of SB 243, “Declare intent to address local zoning that impedes housing.” As a Township resident, I am 100% opposed to any attempts to change the zoning authority of Ohio Townships. The rights of citizens in Townships to impact their local zoning decisions are very important and I urge you to do all in your power to make sure the state does not infringe upon them.

Thank you,
[your name]

After you send your 5 emails, contact 10 friends and ask them to do the same. If the Ohio Senate is “putting a toe in the water” to see what happens when they threaten our rights, then we need to be the shark that bites back. We do that with numbers. Here are some ways you can help get people aware and active:

  • Email or call your acquaintances and direct them to this page so they can complete Steps 1 & 2. (www.FortifyGeauga.org/zoning)
  • Speak with your neighbors. You can send them to this webpage or download and print out the flier below.
  • Send letters to the editor of local publications explaining your stance and asking readers to complete Steps 1 & 2. Mention www.FortifyGeauga.org/zoning so they know what to do.
  • Social media: share the link to this page on social media platforms and urge users to complete Steps 1 & 2.

Fortify Geauga will be continuing to advocate for the protection of our Township zoning rights. Check out these other opportunities. We will provide all the training and materials you need to help in this fight:

In-person efforts like door-knocking and handing out fliers at events or in community spaces. If you are interested in being part of a door-knocking team in your neighborhood, please send an email to FortifyGeauga@proton.me.

Testimony in Columbus might be necessary if this legislation makes it to Committee hearings. In that event, Fortify Geauga will organize a road trip to Columbus. If you’d be interested in testifying in a Senate Committee hearing or just tagging along for moral support, please email us at FortifyGeauga@proton.me and we’ll give you all the details you need.

Newsletter: Be sure to subscribe to our Newsletter where we will alert you to new developments.

Elected Officials: The President of the Geauga County Township Association, Mr. Jonathan Tiber, has prepared a letter to send to the Ohio Legislature, expressing Geauga County Officials’ support of keeping our Township zoning authority intact.  ALL current Geauga County Trustees and Fiscal Officers have signed this letter and our three Geauga County Commissioners have also submitted a similar letter with the same goal. You can read and download the letter here. If you live outside Geauga County, please share this post with your elected officials and urge them to do the same.