By Jessica Mathews /

Despite opposition from some residents about setbacks and sightlines, the Tyrone Township Board approved a settlement agreement with a couple looking to construct a home on Runyan Lake.

Mark and Molly Betley own property at 10466 Runyan Lake Road and sought a land-use permit to construct a single-family residence there. Plans were originally submitted in January of 2020 but were not consistent with township standards and there have been multiple discussions between the Township Board, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals since.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Supervisor Mike Cunningham that per advice from their attorney, there was a high probability the township would not prevail in court. Cunningham stated that a lawsuit was filed against the township by the Betleys on Runyan Lake regarding their ordinance and sightline determination. He said a review was conducted by their legal counsel who stated the township “had very little legal standing on it and his attorney proposed a settlement agreement”.

Cunningham noted the point in contention was that the Planning Commission set forth a required 152-foot setback from north and 152-feet from the south. He said the settlement agreement calls for a 137.35-foot setback to the north and 122.78-feet to the south.

It was clarified during the meeting that the township attorney recommended approval of the settlement.

The board amended the agenda to take public comment on the topic and roughly a handful of residents spoke out against it requesting the board hold off until more information was provided and public concerns are addressed.

Dean Hass lives on the lake and is a homeowner association board member. He noted their HOA doesn’t regulate building as they count on the township to do that based on existing ordinances that have been stringently enforced in the past on Runyan Lake and others. Hass said the Association depends on sightlines and the view and by approving the settlement, the board “will open a can of worms that will multiply” and multiple lawsuits will follow – adding the board is setting a “very bad precedent”.

Others commented the determinations from the Planning Commission and ZBA should stand and questioned how the property owners are so far along in the building process and a foundation is already in when nothing was approved by a court.

Resident Sara Dollman-Jersey, pictured, also felt the board was setting dangerous precedents and said while no setback ordinance exists, there are others related to sightlines – which are an integral part of lake communities and the general wellbeing of all township residents.

The board ultimately voted 5-2 to approve the settlement agreement, with Clerk Marcie Husted and Trustee Herman Ferguson opposed. A copy is attached.