Monroe considers zoning changes; property owner calls it ‘a huge deal’

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

MONROE — After months of discussion and preparation, numerous potential zoning changes were presented during Tuesday’s City Council meeting with a goal of making it easier for continued growth throughout the Butler County city.

A few developers and property owners disagreed with the proposed changes during the public hearing. One developer said switching from light industrial to urban residential potentially could cost his client “millions of dollars.”

Sean S. Suder, with Suder LLC and attorney for Cornerstone Monroe Farm, owned by Tom Ratterman, his wife and their three children, said the 106-acre property on Dayton Lebanon Road should remain light industrial.

He said the proposed zoning change is “a huge deal” to the Ratterman family, and he said it’s the “most damaging change” announced by Kameryn Jones, Monroe’s assistant development director.

Suder said the Rattermans have the property under contract to a potential owner of a warehouse. It’s located just north of Ohio 63 between Main Street and Lawton Avenue.

The Rattermans purchased the property for $800,000 from Fifth/Third Bank in 2012, according to the Butler County Auditor’s Office. In 2001, the property was valued at nearly $2.8 million, according to records.

The Rattermans had certain “investment back expectations,” Suder said.

But if the zoning changes are approved, the acreage will convert from 20 possible uses to seven, mostly residential. That would cause the owners “significant economic impact,” Suder said.

Ratterman said he invested 50% of his retirement to purchase the property, and he and his family were counting on the profit from that investment.

“It’s a huge deal to me,” he told the council. “It’s not fair for you to have a vote to take that away from us.”

Over the years, Ratterman said he has discussed zoning changes with other nearby industrial site owners, and none of them wants residences near their businesses.

He called his property near Ohio 63 “the best industrial site available in Monroe.”

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Mayor Keith Funk said the public hearing regarding the zoning changes gave council “food for thought” and there was “a lot to weigh here.”

Vice Mayor Christina McElfresh told those who spoke against the zoning changes that she understood their concerns, but she believes the changes are “down the middle.”

Council is expected to vote on the proposals at its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 23.

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