Beavercreek Twp. trustees voted unanimously this weekto join a court action to to force the Greene County Board of Commissioners to approve or reject the city of Beavercreek’s annexation of 118 acres of township and county land.
“We just want to get a ruling, get an answer, then it’s what do we have to do” to protect the township’s interests, said Candy Prystaloski, one of the three township trustees.
The controversy started last year when the township denied a zoning variance to the owner of a landscaping company for construction in a flood plain on his property. The property owner and a neighbor began discussions with the city about annexation of their 5.1 acres, knowing the city’s flood plain zoning was less stringent.
City officials expanded the initial proposed annexation by adding adjacent township and county land, including three parks, a township fire station and fire administration building.
Under state law, land can be annexed if 100 percent of property owners agree. School districts, townships, park districts and similar public property owners are not considered land owners and have no voice in whether land is annexed into another jurisdiction.
The township, which includes all of the city, learned of the annexation attempt when the petition was filed in October, which angered the trustees. They said that rather than pursuing a compact annexation, the city created a corridor crossing Dayton-Xenia Road to take both fire facilities.
In annexation, ownership of the property does not change. Rather, the property would now be located in the city and subject to city regulations and taxation.
To complete the annexation, the move needed the approval of the county commissioners. When the matter came before the three commissioners in January, Alan Anderson, commission president, moved to approve it.
Anderson’s motion died for lack of a second from Tom Koogler. The third member of the commission, Bob Glaser, recused himself. He was a township trustee at the time the annexation petition was filed.
The commissioners’ failure to either vote the annexation up or down put the petition in limbo. The city could not appeal the commissioners’ decision if no decision was made.
“We want to know what the answer is,” Mayor Vicki Giambrone said at the time. “We just need an answer one way or another to indicate how we do these things in the future.”
In March, the City Council directed its attorneys to file a writ of mandamus against the commissioners. The writ would force the commissioners to make a decision. The writ was filed last month with the state 2nd District Court of Appeals. The township now will join the action.
“We are just waiting to see what the court will do,” said Steve McHugh, city attorney.
No hearing date has yet been scheduled.