Ohio Supreme Court OKs “shoestring” land annexation tying CSU to Xenia

The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved the city of Xenia’s annexation of land used by Central State University, which will allow the city to receive income tax revenue from the university.

The measure also will allow CSU to use the city’s services without paying a surcharge.

The court’s ruling is encouraging for CSU’s vision of expansion with Xenia, President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond said in a statement. The expansion promotes the mission of a land grant institution, which is guided by the principle of enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Greene County and other Ohio counties, she said.

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“Central State and the city of Xenia are finally able to formally collaborate, grow and become stronger partners for social, economic and community development,” Jackson-Hammond said.

The 41-acre strip of bike trail the city is annexing connects to 4.5 acres of Central State land. The case centered on the way Xenia and the university would be connected. The court’s opinion noted that it previously disfavored “strip,” “shoestring” or “corridor” annexations, but reforms adopted by Ohio in 2001 permit them.

The decision allows Xenia to collect income tax from Central State’s 350 employees and for the university to no longer pay a surcharge on water, sewer, fire and emergency medical services.

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Xenia initially filed for the annexation, with Central State’s support, to Greene County commissioners, but Xenia Twp. filed an objection.

“The township trustees urged the county to deny the petition, which the county did after determining that the city’s petition did not satisfy [the type-2 annexation process],” the ruling reads. Xenia appealed the decision in the Second District Appeals Court and won, but then the county appealed, resulting in case going before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Xenia welcomed the court’s decision, City Manager Brent Merriman said, noting that the annexation incorporates property primarily owned by the city already.

“Discussions regarding any additional annexation that might include Central State University will be a policy matter the city will consider at a future date,” he said. “We are collaborative partners with the Greene County Commission as well as Central State University, and we look forward to working closely together on issues with both institutions into the future.”

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