Lucas County commissioners have approved the annexation of about 11 acres on Little Road to Sylvania from Sylvania Township, although the township trustees had sought a moratorium on further annexations by the city.
Recent law changes in Ohio have made the annexation process fairly straightforward, and commissioners voted in favor of the annexation without comment.
The land on Little is to be developed as residential property, but city officials have acknowledged that by annexing it, city limits will then be contiguous to commercial property fronting on Centennial Road.
It is that area that likely would produce income tax revenue for the city if it is developed and annexed to Sylvania.
The city has the most practical ability to supply water to the area and has a policy of not supplying services outside its boundaries.
In their letter to commissioners and Sylvania officials, trustees noted that the city s annexation efforts over the years have been a continuing cause of controversy between the two governments.
Township trustees have long held that the city s annexation policy gets in the way of developing cooperative efforts between the two communities.
They wrote that it is township policy not to object to annexations in which the applicant voluntarily seeks to join the city, but is opposed to the city s using its ability to supply water as a means of forcing areas to annex.
The city once used its ability to provide sewer and water ser-vice to areas in the township as an inducement to property owners to annex.
A court ruling disallowed the use of providing sewer service as a mechanism for annexation, but Sylvania still uses water service as leverage.
City officials have noted that there isn t much property left in its water district which isn t within city limits. There is nothing, however, that would prohibit the city from annexing contiguous property if owners asked to be part of the city.
Doug Haynam, chairman of council s zoning and annexation committee, noted that the trustees request for a moratorium did not suggest any time frame in which it might be in effect.
He added during a meeting of the committee that in his view it would be a mistake if the city took a position through which they turned away property owners who asked to be annexed to the city.
The committee met prior to the county commissioners meeting and discussed ways to respond to the trustees letter and perhaps allay some of their fears.
It was suggested that the city might attempt to write a specific annexation policy or define areas they might seek through annexation.
Mr. Haynam said those efforts might aid trustees as they plan for the future.
Even though the efforts might be helpful, Jim Moan, city law director, noted that circumstances can change and what might seem to be a clear set of standards now might not be applicable later.
Legislative changes in zoning procedures and changing economic and development trends could alter the city s course in the future.
Mr. Haynam said he will work on a draft response to the trustees letter and when the committee next meets they will discuss it and other issues involving annexation.
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