UPDATE @ 4:25 p.m.
Reactions varied to the Greene County Commission’s unanimous decision today to deny the city of Xenia’s first of three planned petitions to annex Central State University.
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The proposed Type II annexation was for approximately 45 acres along the Ohio to Erie Trail, which connects the city to the CSU campus.
Xenia Twp. filed a formal objection to the petition, challenging it on four points:
1. The proposal did not meet the overall contiguity requirement;
2. Did not meet the state’s requirement of 5 percent contiguity;
3. The surveyed map provided by the city is not accurate;
4. The annexation would present a road maintenance problem among jurisdictions.
Brent Merriman, Xenia city manager, characterized the meeting as "very unusual," as both sides were allowed to present arguments and members of the public were granted the opportunity to address the commissioners on the issue prior to their vote.
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"The city is disappointed that the commission failed to understand the statutory requirements. We respect their decision. These sorts of cases come forward and sometimes it's a tedious review of statute,” he said.
As far as the next steps, Merriman said they'll be discussing that with city council to "evaluate the merits" of their options.
"There are means available to challenge decisions," he said.
Alan Stock, Xenia Twp. Administrator, said the commissioners adhered to the procedure and did their homework.
RELATED >>> Township files objection to Xenia-CSU annexation
"The Greene County Commissioners didn't show up today to do a vote," Stock said. "They took both sides. Read it. Highlighted it. Had questions. Researched it further … they were thorough in their approach to this."
Stock said today was a "fight for the township form of governance,” but regardless of the decision, he doesn't feel there's been any animosity among the parties.
"Where do we go from here to try to reach the goals for a prosperous Central State, for a prosperous Xenia and for a prosperous Xenia Twp.?" Stock said, "because we all bring uniqueness's to the table that if we're going to make this region do well, we need to bring it together."
Brandon Huddleson, Greene County administrator, said the commissioners merely followed what the law states.
"Commissioners are creatures of statute ... They weighed the annexation based on the seven points and in their opinion and in the opinion of the other groups — the county engineer, the prosecutor's office and regional planning — what they heard led them to the decision they made today, that it didn't meet those four criteria."
Following the vote, Edwina Blackwell Clark, director of CSU public relations, said the university supports the city’s efforts.
‘‘Central State University is in support of the city of Xenia’s petition and we remain in support of their efforts,’’ she said.
Greene County commissioners voted unanimously today to deny the annexation of Central State University land to the city of Xenia.
County commissioners heard arguments from both sides regarding the city’s annexation petition, which would have led to the annexation of Central State University’s campus into the city of Xenia.
Attorneys for both the city and the township presented their arguments for and against the annexation. Township administrator Alan Stock also presented his objections to the annexation.
Greene County Engineer Bob Geyer addressed the commission prior to the vote, stating that the city needs to enter into agreements with the county and the township for road maintenance where the Ohio to Erie Trail crosses roadways.
Four roadways are involved: New Jasper Road, Bickett Road, Old U.S. 35 and Wilberforce Switch Road.
Xenia Law Director Donnette Fisher told the commissioners that the city will agree to what it would be legally required to provide in terms of road maintenance.
The township’s attorney, Wanda Carter, focused her arguments on whether the city petition for the annexation meets the state law requirement for being contiguous.
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