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Published: Thursday, 7/8/2004

Sylvania, Sylvania Township: Another clash over water

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Another fight is boiling between Sylvania and Sylvania Township centered on the area's water supply and its relationship . . . .

Township officials have asked Lucas County to extend a waterline into what had been considered the Sylvania Water District to serve a proposed business at the former Courts of Sylvania Racquet Club, on Centennial Road south of Little Road.

The city has made a practice of requiring developers or other property owners to seek annexation to the city in exchange for Sylvania water service within the water district. That water district was established in a contract with Toledo, Lucas County, and Sylvania, but it has expired. Although Toledo continues to supply water, a letter from Mayor Jack Ford in March said Toledo would modify its water agreement with Lucas County.

If approved by county commissioners, that modification would allow the county to supply water to all areas of the township in the Sylvania Water District.

Township officials asked Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough to supply water to the proposed business without seeking annexation to the city, but Mr. Stough declined.

He said Sylvania needs to collect income taxes to keep the city financially healthy and to contribute to the amenities of the Sylvania community.

The mayor wrote that if the city doesn't collect income taxes, those dollars "will revert to the community where the workers live. Those employees who may live in Maumee or Toledo will have their tax dollars go to those communities with no economic benefit to our Sylvania community.''

The mayor said recently that he is tired of the city's being portrayed as "big, bad Sylvania'' in its annexation efforts. He contended that the township, "which is the second largest political jurisdiction in Lucas County other than Toledo," is trying to limit Sylvania's growth by making a deal with Toledo to no longer recognize the water district.

Mayor Ford's letter said Toledo would alter the boundaries if county commissioners approve the move.

John Alexander, Lucas County administrator, said officials are looking into the situation, but no recommendation has been made about extending a water line from Brint Road, north along Centennial to the proposed business.

Such an extension could also serve houses along Centennial that don't have Sylvania water service.

George Oravecz, an engineering consultant on the business development as well as a condominium development along Little to the east, said the company likely to move into the former tennis club refurbishes and repairs golf carts and may begin to manufacture them.

Mr. Oravecz said developers intend to increase the size of the club building and it may house other offices.

A fact sheet distributed by the township said the business could employ as many as 100 people in the next three years.

The consultant said the developer prefers that both the business and the condominium remain in Sylvania Township.

If a county water line is extended for use of the business, he said the proposed residential complex would likely also tap into the line for its water.

The residential development has caused its own flap, with city and school officials arguing against rezoning the area because of heavier use of roads in the area and the possibility of an influx of students to Highland Elementary School.

Prior to a recent redistricting of the school system, Highland was overcrowded and school officials said they fear the condition could recur if the units are built.

Mr. Oravecz said that since the initial objections to the residential development were raised, the proposed density of the project has been reduced to 122 units from the initial 166, and developers have agreed to pay for improvements to Little Road.

The housing portion of the development has been approved by the Lucas County and Sylvania Township planning commissions and will be up for consideration by township trustees next month. The commercial portion of the development, on Centennial, is appropriately zoned and only a site plan will need to be reviewed before a business can move in.



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