CHESTER — A final hurdle was cleared for the farm market amendment last week when township trustees agreed to updates in the zoning code.

After a public hearing on Jan. 14, township trustees adopted the modifications on farm market zoning rules recommended by both the Chester Township Zoning Commission and Geauga County Planning Commission.

“It is a vast improvement over what we currently had because we currently had a lot of conflicts that were contrary to the Ohio Revised Code,” said Trustee Ken Radtke, Jr. “This moved us much further along to be consistent with those regulations.”

The zoning commission has been researching farm markets since the fall of 2018 and reviewing existing zoning code language, which officials said was overly restrictive and potentially beyond legal authority of the township.

The amendment allows farm markets to operate on any land in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code and operate inside or outside of buildings without a zoning certificate. It also details a new stand-alone section of general regulations specifically for farm markets applicable to all zoning districts with an easy-to-read, one-page summary chart for required setbacks, structure heights, maximum area, egress/ingress and parking requirements for farm markets located in any zoning district.

In other business, trustees moved to approve a $100 bonus payment to road department employees for their “outstanding” performance during the Dec. 1 snowstorm.

“It wasn’t so much the dollar amount that was what the trustees were wanting to focus to emphasize, but with the outstanding job that a short-staffed road department did,” said Mr. Radtke. “They committed a lot of time and effort and hours in that very unusual storm, so we wanted to make some public recognition for those individuals that really stepped up to help the township.”

Trustees followed the recommendation of Police Chief Mark Purchase and hired Anthony R. Insana to the position of full-time police officer. Kathleen McCarthy was hired by trustees as part-time zoning secretary.

Mr. Purchase indicated that Mr. Insana is a Chester Township resident who recently graduated from the Cleveland Heights Police Academy and will bring a good perspective to the community.

“Anthony is truly one of these guys that I will honestly tell you that I don’t think I could find anyone to give me anything but positive things to say,” Mr. Purchase said. “There is a calming effect that I think he is going to bring in helping to de-escalate things when they happen and be able to communicate well with people, and I think that makes him a good fit for our department.”

Approval by the trustees was also given for the reservation of the gazebo in Parkside Park for the 2021 Kiwanis concerts in the park 7-9 p.m. on Wednesdays in July and August.

The meeting was held at the Chester Township Townhall on Jan. 14. The next trustees meeting is Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

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