MOUNT VERNON — The rezoning and operation of “The Mohicans” on Vess Road in Jefferson Township is likely to wind up in court before the situation is resolved.
The owner of The Mohicans, Kevin Mooney, listed in the application as 22650 Vess LLC, has requested that the 72-acre property be rezoned from Agriculture to General Residential “to bring the business … more closely into compliance with zoning classification and descriptions of the Township Rezoning Resolution.”
He had originally asked for a rezoning to B-1 (General Business), but the Jefferson Township Zoning Commission asked that the application be withdrawn and resubmitted for R-2 as a better fit. The R-2 designation allows for motels and hotels as a conditional use.
Mooney operates a “wedding barn” on the property and has several treehouses and cabins for lodging.
Neighbors have objected, claiming the facility creates unwelcome noise and traffic, may violate deed restrictions and may encroach on neighboring property.
Attorney Noel Alden, representing the neighbors, brought their complaints to the Regional Planning Commission Thursday evening, and also describe how they could not obtain records of building permits and other records from the township.
The RPC’s Land Use Committee recommended that the R-2 designation be approved, noting that the current use of the land better fits in the R-2 designation than it did in B-1, but still thinks “there is room to improve the Township Zoning Resolution to allow this type of Recreation/Hospitality land uses in this area.” It had made the same recommendation when the issue first came up this summer.
After lengthy discussion, and coming to the conclusion that most of the objections were not ones to be addressed by the RPC, it voted to adopt the Land Use Committee’s Recommendation.
With only 14 members attending (barely a quorum), the vote was 8 to 2, with four abstentions.
The issue will now go to the Jefferson Township Zoning Commission, which will make a recommendation for the Jefferson Township trustees. The commission is scheduled to hear the case at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Jefferson Township House in Greer.
Alden said it is likely the case will windup in civil court before it makes it to the trustees.
The RPC also voted on proposals from Berlin and College townships to their zoning codes.
Berlin is suggesting numerous changes in the code to better deal with unusually small lots platted in subdivisions near Knox Lake, and to deal with proposals such as condominiums and bed and breakfasts, which are not addressed in the existing code.
College Township wants to add an alternate member to their Zoning Commission, alter the setback provisions for some smaller properties in agricultural zones and clarify the positioning of accessory buildings.