Warren County developer asks Ohio Supreme Court to block referendum

A Warren County developer wants the Ohio Supreme Court to prevent a referendum from appearing on the May ballot that could stop him from breaking ground on a development planned outside Waynesville.

The state’s highest court has agreed to consider an appeal filed by lawyers for John Federle.

The appeal challenges the decision by the Warren County Board of Elections, which rejected Federle’s quest to remove a referendum approved by Wayne Twp. Board of Trustees that will allow voters on May 7 ballot to vote for or against the zoning of a 40-acre development.

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The decision was “unauthorized by law as approving the zoning was an administrative act not subject to referendum,” lawyers Andrew George and Tyler Hoffer wrote in the complaint urging the Ohio Supreme Court to intervene filed on Jan. 23.

Federle wants to divide 40.7 acres at 5615 Lytle Road in Wayne Twp. into 39 lots, despite opposition from residents who petitioned to get the referendum on the ballot.

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Federle’s lawyers want the court to prohibit the election board from placing the issue on the May 7 ballot.

On Feb. 1, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Keith Anderson urged the court to reject the claims - previously made by Federle and his lawyers leading up to and at the election board hearing.

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Unless the Supreme Court intervenes, voters in the township will cast ballots to decide whether to undo the trustees’ decision.

Contrary to earlier reports, Waynesville residents won’t be voting. Only voters living in unincorporated Wayne Twp.

Wayne Twp. trustees voted 2-1 in July to allow Federle to develop the subdivision, despite objections from residents.

On Aug. 21, the trustees called for the referendum following a petition drive led by resident Tom Duerr.

Duerr wants the township to require at least 2 acres for homes in rural residential developments.

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In forming the petition, Duerr said he copied from language used to call an election in a successful referendum in Washington Twp. in Montgomery County.

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