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Published: Wednesday, 10/6/2004

Perrysburg backed in annexation fight

An appeals court has ruled in favor of the city of Perrysburg, declaring it legally can stop water and sewer services to Perrysburg Township residents who won't sign annexation petitions.

Peter Gwyn, the city's law director and acting administrator, told officials of the court ruling at a council meeting last night.

"I'm very happy about the decision," he said.

The 6th District Court of Appeals in Toledo issued its opinion in the case last week, upholding most of the decision made in June, 2003, by Wood County Common Pleas Judge Robert Pollex. The appellate court overturned an order by Judge Pollex saying Perrysburg Township residents involved in the lawsuit must sign annexation petitions. The appeals court said residents can choose whether to sign the annexation petitions, but agreed with Judge Pollex that the city has a right to halt sewer and water services for residents who do not sign.

The lawsuit began in 2002 when city officials sent letters to 256 Perrysburg Township property owners saying the city intended to annex the properties.

Homeowners in the Willowbend subdivision, off State Rt. 65 just north of Roachton Road, were asked to sign annexation petitions as a condition of continued water service. Several homeowners refused.

The city has ordinances stating residents outside the city limits who receive water or sewer service from the city must sign annexation petitions or face termination of water and sewer services in 60 days.

Willowbend residents Gregory and Karen Bakies and Richard Smith joined with several Perrysburg Township businesses to file suit, claiming the city does not have the authority to shut off their water or sewer services if they do not agree to annexation.

Mr. Bakies said he was disappointed with the appellate court decision and plans to talk to other people involved in the lawsuit to decide what to do next.

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