Miami County votes against annexation of 260 acres to Huber Heights

Miami County commissioners voted 3-0 Thursday to deny a proposed annexation of 260.360 acres from Bethel Twp. to Huber Heights in Montgomery County.

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Miami County commissioners voted 3-0 Thursday to deny a proposed annexation of 260.360 acres from Bethel Twp. to Huber Heights in Montgomery County.

Attorney says commission’s vote goes against Ohio law; says Bethel Twp. landowners’ petition meets all requirements

TROY — Miami County commissioners voted 3-0 Thursday to deny a proposed annexation of 260 acres from Bethel Twp. to Huber Heights in Montgomery County.

The property lies north of the Carriage Trails development in Huber Heights but is within Miami County and the Bethel Local School district.

The property owners listed on the annexation petitions are Gessaman Family Farm LLC; Gary L. Lavy, trustee; Raymond E. and Kriss Haren; and the estate of Charles Stafford.

The commissioners in October voted to deny a similar annexation of 233 acres. That petition included all the owners in the current petition except the Stafford estate.

The Thursday vote followed the commissioners opening their meeting to public comment on the request.

ExploreLast week: Tension mounting over Bethel-Huber annexations

Joe Miller, an attorney representing the petitioners, repeatedly told commissioners they had no choice under Ohio law but to approve the annexation because the petitions filed met all seven conditions required by law.

“I would submit it’s mandatory you approve (the petition),” Miller said. “To be blunt, no politics can enter into this consideration.”

Issues heard in this and past annexation discussions such as traffic, schools, sewer and water services are part of the later discussions on zoning and development plans, not the annexation of land, Miller said.

At a meeting last week in Huber Heights, Bethel Twp. trustees expressed concern that annexation of land would continue further into the township, potentially creating excess traffic, pressure on the school system, and a loss of the area’s rural charm.

If the land is annexed into Huber Heights, the city’s zoning laws allow for more houses to be built per acre than in the township.

Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore said last week that the city did nothing to initiate the annexation, and has done only “what we’ve been statutorily required to do based on a petition for annexation.”

Gary Lavy, trustee of his family’s farmland, said the decision to sell was not easy. “It is not a land grab by Huber Heights. It is a request by the land owners.”

Bethel Twp. Trustee Don Black spoke against the annexation.

“I am not here to tell you what you have to do ... I do not want it annexed to Huber Heights,” Black said. He called for discussions between those who want to develop the property and the township.

“All we want to do is talk about it and figure out how do we keep it in Bethel Twp. How does he get some of what he wants and how do we, as residents, get some of what we want?” he said.

Commissioner Wade Westfall made the motion to deny the annexation. “The board does not believe that adequate water and sewer services can be or will be provided to the territory to be provided” by Huber Heights, he said.

Staff Writer Aimee Hancock contributed to this report.

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