Miami County officials urge Huber Heights not to approve land annexation

This is the property owners’ second attempt to annex their land next to large housing development from Miami County’s Bethel Twp. into Huber Heights



TROY — The Miami County commissioners Tuesday sent a letter to Huber Heights City Council asking its members to oppose the proposed annexation of 296 acres of land near U.S. 40 in southern Miami County to Huber Heights.

The commissioners said they have “strong opposition” to the property owners’ proposed annexation of land in Bethel Twp. They fear that the annexation will cause “an undue burden” on essential infrastructure systems including roads, utilities and public services. They feared that burden would risk “the well-being and convenience of Miami County residents and the citizens of Huber Heights that live adjacent to the proposed annexed area,” the commissioners said in the letter.

The commission signed the letter at their Tuesday meeting. They also said they have hired an attorney with experience in annexation issues.

“This is a difficult situation here for our township,” said Commissioner Ted Mercer.

Huber Heights City Manager Rick Dzik said late Tuesday afternoon they had been unaware of Miami County’s letter. After being provided a copy of it by the Dayton Daily News, Dzik said he would discuss it with Mayor Jeff Gore before responding.

The attorney for the property owners did not respond to a request for comment from the Dayton Daily News.

Michael Clarey, the Miami County commissioners’ administrator, said the annexation lawyer the county hired would examine a few issues, with a focus on utilities.

“She is going to look at ... what are our obligations to provide and if we are obligated in any way, what type of time frame would we be responsible for,” Clarey said.

The property that is proposed to be annexed lies immediately north of and adjacent to the large Carriage Trails housing subdivision. In previous annexation discussions, it was noted that the land would be more valuable to developers if it was in the city, because a larger number of homes could be built on it under Huber Heights city zoning rules than Bethel Twp. zoning rules.

A previous move to annex much of the same land stalled last year when Huber Heights’ mayor cited some confusion over the level of support on their city council.

The Miami County commission letter also pointed to the impact that increased housing in the township could have on the Bethel school district.

“The likely surge in population resulting from the annexation could overwhelm educational institutions across district lines, potentially leading to overcrowded classrooms and diminished quality of education,” they wrote.

The commissioners earlier in January acknowledged the filing with their office of the request to annex the property. The commissioners said that, legally, that had no choice but to acknowledge the filing.

The Huber Heights council last week approved a municipal services statement outlining what services the city would provide to the land, should the annexation be granted. Council was told the statement, similar to the Miami County acknowledgement of the filing, was required under state law.

“We appeal to your sense of collaborative responsibility as neighbors. Opposing the annexation is not only in the best interest of your constituents but also a demonstration of good neighborliness,” the Miami County commission wrote. “Preserving the quality of services we currently offer to residents in and near the annexed area is a shared goal, and your support in maintaining these standards is crucial.”

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