Miami County reluctantly approves Huber annexation, will push to change law

Bethel Twp. landowners near Carriage Trails housing development sought annexation to city

TROY — The Miami County commissioners Tuesday complied with a recent court order, voting 2-0 to approve the annexation of 260 acres from Bethel Twp. to Huber Heights in Montgomery County.

County Commissioner Ted Mercer said the commission did all it could to try to hold off the annexation but didn’t have the means to do so.

“We are governed by rules and regulations of the state of Ohio. We have followed every avenue we know to try to conquer this annexation request … We were unsuccessful. It is time to move on,” Mercer said.

The commission initially rejected the landowners’ annexation request, but Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled they had no grounds to do so.

The 260.360 acres lie north of the large Carriage Trails housing subdivision which overlaps Montgomery and Miami counties. When 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.

The Bethel Twp. trustees and the Bethel Local School District both opposed the annexation, citing concerns such as traffic and the growing number of students filling the district’s school buildings.

Representatives of the township trustees attended Tuesday’s meeting but did not comment.

Commissioner Wade Westfall said he was “extremely disappointed” to have to vote for the annexation.

“We are compelled by the courts to approve this annexation even though the commission … recognize the potential financial burden this measure will not only put on Bethel Township, its school system but also the entire county,” he said.

Westfall said the commission will work diligently with other counties and state legislators to advocate change in annexation laws to make sure future annexations are “fair and equitable” for land owners, communities and residents.

The annexation petition was filed on behalf of Raymond E. and Kriss T. Haren; Gary L. Lavy, trustee; Barton W. Gessaman, executor of the Gessaman Family Farm LLC; and Michael D. Stafford, executor of the Charles Stafford Estate, with agent Jill Stemen Tangeman.

Commissioner Greg Simmons was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

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