BUTLER TOWNSHIP — The Butler Township Trustees voted unanimously to oppose the pending annexation of nearly 200 acres of property into the City of Union at Monday night’s meeting. They did not express optimism, however, that the annexation could be, or would be, stopped by the Montgomery County Commissioners.
The Trustees objected to the annexation on two technical issues. The first is that the annexation only part of one of the parcels of land which, according to the resolution passed “violates the letter, spirit, and intent of the law and public policy.”
The Trustees claim that the annexation petition should not have been accepted by the County Commissioners and that the Commissioners should “act to reject said non-complaint/void petition and cease to process it any further.”
The Trustees also claim that has technical language mistakes and fails to include an accurate legal description of the properties. As such, they say, it does not meet the statutory requirements under Ohio Revised Code 709.023 that governs Type II Annexations.
Trustee Mike Lang admitted that the Township has little chance of prevailing.
“This is totally based on technicalities, and we understand that, but we aren’t just going to not do something simply because we know in the end it won’t get us anywhere,” he said.
Township Administrator Kim Lapensee said that Union and the property owners will likely reword their petition to overcome the technicalities.
“What their (Union’s) game is the last time Union didn’t file anything, they filed a public records request to see what we filed, and they took everything out we pointed out as a mistake and refiled it,” said Lapensee. “That’s what they will do in this situation, quite frankly.”
Lang said that the annexation is frustrating and bad for the neighbors surrounding the land being annexed.
“It frustrates us, but we are cognizant that we have property owners that have property rights and have chosen to leave the Township and be annexed into the city,” said Lang. “It’s unfortunate that we can’t all work together up there to make it mutually beneficial to everybody, not just a few.”
“Annexation is not about water, not about sewer, not about roads, it’s about money,” said Trustee Doug Orange. “Don’t get fooled by political rhetoric and people trying to make you believe they are doing a good thing. Union is doing what they are doing as part of a grand plan they have had for two decades to double their tax base in an area that’s away from the residential section.
Truck traffic was also a hot topic at the meeting with the Trustees and Lapensee voicing frustration with the increasing truck traffic around the P&G Distribution center in Union.
“There’s no one pill that will fix the problem with the trucks,” said Orange. “It will take the involvement of the GPS companies, getting P&G involved, maybe the Union folks, and us passing the Home Rule measure to give us some more enforcement options. We need an increased police presence out there to discourage the trucks from going north towards Old Springfield.”
Trustees acknowledged the difficulty in dealing the GPS companies that often send a truck on the most direct route to I-75, not the most efficient. As such, semi trucks end up stuck on roads that are too narrow or winding for them to travel safely.
Officials in the City of Vandalia are also discussing this issue with GPS manufacturers – but said recently that it won’t be a complete – or quick – fix.
Orange said that eventually the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District, or TID, may propose to widen those roads in the future, but he opposes it.
“We don’t want to widen those roads. We don’t want to encourage more of what we already don’t want.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.