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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2005

Perrysburg near deal on trading road for annexation

The city of Perrysburg has entered into a tentative agreement with GEM Properties, which says the company will submit to annexation in return for the city paying for a new road on the firm's property.

GEM Properties, which has a case pending against the city in the Ohio Supreme Court, owns about 40 acres in Perrysburg Township along the intersection of West Boundary Road and State Rt. 25. Half the land is vacant, and the other half contains the Ed Schmidt car dealership.

GEM Properties was one of seven Perrysburg Township businesses that sued the city in 2002. The suit aimed to prevent the city from cutting off water and sewer services if the firm did not agree to be annexed. Homeowners in the Willowbend subdivision sued over the same issue.

In October, the 6th District Court of Appeals in Toledo ruled in favor of the city, saying that Perrysburg can legally stop services to businesses or residents that refuse to sign annexation petitions. GEM Properties was the only business that decided to appeal the suit to the state Supreme Court.

"It appears that if we can get this contract worked out, they will not continue with the appeal and will accept annexation," said Peter Gwyn, the city's law director. "Details are going to have to be worked out."

In the contract, the city would agree to pay for a road through the vacant portion of the property connecting State Rt. 25 to Commerce Drive. Mr. Gwyn said another business may locate on the vacant site.

When the land is annexed, the township will continue collecting property taxes, but the city will be able to charge payroll tax on employees at any businesses on the land. Finance Director David Creps said payroll tax income should cover the cost of the road construction in less than four years.

"Any improvements we put in will pay for themselves fairly quickly," Councilman Joe Lawless said.

Council voted 6-0 last night to allow administrators to finish negotiating the contract. Councilman Kevin Rantanen abstained because he said some people might object to the decision, and he needed more time to consider the issue.

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