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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