Miami County OKs annexation, but urges residents to fight, state to change law

Bethel Twp. property owners want to annex into Huber Heights; vacant parcel is adjacent to large housing development; township, Bethel schools worry about growth



TROY — The Miami County commissioners Thursday voted “reluctantly” to approve the annexation of 296.236 acres in Bethel Twp. to Huber Heights after being told there was no legal means to deny the annexation petition.

With the vote, the petition filed by Jill Stemen Tangeman, agent, on behalf of landowners GLJ Holding Co. (204.215 acres); Gary Lavy (56.153 acres); and Carol Marchelletto (35.867 acres) will next go to the Huber Heights City Council for consideration.

Miami County Commission President Greg Simmons said commissioners met Wednesday with an annexation lawyer from Bricker Graydon of Lebanon and were advised denying the petition would be futile.

Most of the parcel in question was subject to a similar, previous annexation request that was never finalized.

In 2022, the 2nd District Court of Appeals ordered the county commission to approve a 260.360-acre annexation request in the same area of the township in southern Miami County, saying there was no legal reason for commissioners to deny it.

But the Huber Heights council did not vote on that petition within legal time limits, and now the issue is before the parties again.

With the opinion and legal advice, county Commissioner Wade Westfall said the commission again will encourage the Ohio General Assembly “to have a robust discussion” about annexations that affect local residents and their transportation, schools and other services.

“The board is profoundly disappointed and concerned with the inaction of the State of Ohio and its legislative representatives to preserve the rights of township residents impacted by Expedited Type 2 annexations (such as the 296.236 acres),” the commissioners said in a written statement.

Bethel Twp. resident Lorna Furderer told the commissioners that “we have to do more in the future to support” change of annexation laws. She said a group of Huber Heights residents is looking at a referendum on the annexation, if it should be approved by the city council.

Julie Reese, a township resident and Bethel Twp. trustee, said that, speaking as a resident, she was not happy with the commission vote. The trustees had voted against the annexation recently, she said.

Huber Heights officials Thursday said council is expected to hold a vote approving or denying the petition within 90 days of its approval by Miami County commissioners.

“The city will act on the matter within the statutory requirements,” said Assistant City Manager Bryan Chodkowski, noting council has up to 120 days to do so.

The land in question lies immediately north of the Carriage Trails subdivision in southern Miami County. The Bethel Twp. trustees and the Bethel Local School District both had opposed the annexation, citing concerns such as traffic and the growing number of students filling the Bethel district’s school buildings, as more vacant land is developed into new homes.

The parcel is just south of U.S. 40 and west of Brandt Pike (Ohio 201). When land is annexed into Huber Heights, the city’s zoning laws allow for more houses to be built per acre than in the township.

The Miami County Commission said it was calling for action in the following ways:

* Encouraging Miami County residents to attend the next Huber Heights council meeting to express concerns about annexation.

* Contacting legislators across the state to encourage annexation law reform.

Staff writer Aimee Hancock contributed to this story.

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