The leader of the referendum passed Tuesday by just shy of 87 percent of voters in the unincorporated part of this Warren County township said he was hopeful the election would teach local leaders to listen to residents.
The final unofficial total for the referendum - undoing a residential development plan - was 754-113.
At least one election observer called for supporters to vote out the trustees who approved the rezoning permitting the construction of 39 homes on 40.7 acres, just outside Waynesville.
Tom Duerr, who headed the petition drive and campaign culminating in the referendum, said he had no political aspirations or anticipated any future actions like those that transpired since the plan was approved last July.
“I hope not,” Duerr said Wednesday.
Duerr recalled taking up the petition drive with other unhappy residents after trustees Pat Foley and Brad Coffman, over resident opposition, approved John Federle’s plan for the land fronting at 5615 Lytle Road, just beyond the limits of the Village of Waynesville.
“I want them listening to people,” Duerr said.
Coffman and Foley could not be reached Wednesday.
Federle’s plan also would have set aside 8.5 acres as “green space,” in an area envisioned as a transition from residential Waynesville to more rural Wayne Twp.
Federle, who tried to block the referendum with an Ohio Supreme Court challenge and campaigned against it, said he was unsure what he would do next.
“I’ll have to sit back and think about that for awhile,” Federle said Tuesday night.
The Waynesville Council passed a resolution indicating it would not annex Federle’s land into the village for the development. Warren County has sewers to serve the development.
Wayne Twp. includes the villages of Waynesville and Corwin.
Population estimates put the township population at 8,996, including 5,468 in the unincorporated area — more than Waynesville, 3,081, or Corwin, 447.
Voters on the referendum came only from the unincorporated areas, just south of the Greene County border, off U.S. 42 and Ohio 73, east of Springboro-Clearcreek Twp.
So far, the only contested race in the township on the November ballot would pit Trustee Josh Patrick, the only one who voted against Federle’s plan, against Patrick Davidson, a former trustee, according to election records.
Two years ago, Foley and Coffman were re-elected in a three-way race for two seats. Coffman finished second, 114 votes ahead of challenger Tim Henderson, according to the final results.
The filing deadline is Aug. 7. Brad Coffman’s father, Fiscal Officer Darrell Coffman, is also up for election.
Duerr said he knew and liked the trustees and was counting on them and township staff to do what they can to manage growth in this area of Warren County, now Ohio’s 10th largest and continuing to grow.
“I know growth happens. We need to make sure it’s controlled,” he said.
“We’re not opposed to growth. We’re questioning how quickly it overwhelms the community,” Duerr added.
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