Oberer, property owner file suit against Sugarcreek Twp. over rejected housing plan

Exhibit A of the lawsuit shows the area being sought for rezoning and its relationship with Bill Yeck Park and the city of Centerville.
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Exhibit A of the lawsuit shows the area being sought for rezoning and its relationship with Bill Yeck Park and the city of Centerville.

Oberer Land Developers and property owner Peter Rammel have filed a lawsuit against Sugarcreek Twp., demanding in-part that a rezoning application for approximately 85 acres be approved.

The lawsuit was filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Western Division.

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Oberer’s claims were made two days after Sugarcreek Twp. trustees voted unanimously to reject the developer’s request, which would have led to the construction of Elliot Woods — a proposed development of 98 patio-style homes on approximately 42 acres, with green space preserved on an equal portion of land.

Oberer and Rammel are seeking compensatory damages not less than $1 million plus litigation costs, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees as well as a mandatory injunction ordering the township to grant the rezoning request.

The lawsuit references the township's long-range land-use plan, specifically as it applies to Rammel's property near Sugarcreek Reserve Park on Wilmington-Dayton Road, which sits in the township's planning area 3, according to the land-use plan.

Rammel’s property is identified as a “priority” for planned residential development because it could be annexed into the city of Centerville through Bill Yeck Park, according to the township’s records.

“This area is a priority area for conservation subdivisions characterized by the clustering of lots to preserve 50 percent or more of a site,” the township’s land-use plan reads.

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While preserving half of the acreage as green space, the Elliot Woods proposed development was considered a conservation subdivision, as the homes would be clustered on smaller lots.

One of the goals of the township’s land-use plan was to protect its borders and “prevent annexation into neighboring municipalities,” the lawsuit reads.

“One mechanism implemented in the LRLUP to accomplish that goal was to create development flexibility for the planning areas that include properties that would be subject to annexation, thus preventing the need or desire of property owners to annex their property for development purposes,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit claims in-part that the township’s denial of the rezoning request is “arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, unreasonable, and exceeds the township’s delegated powers under Ohio Revised Code.”

The lawsuit also claims the township violated the plaintiffs’ rights by requiring Oberer to remediate three intersections — two parts of Wilmington-Dayton and Conference Row roads and Wilmington-Dayton at Ohio 725 —without compensation.

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The lawsuit asks the court to nullify a 10-year non-annexation agreement between the township and Rammel and to issue a mandate ordering the township to approve the rezoning request.

Sugarcreek was previously sued by Oberer in 2015 in connection to fire and EMS services at the Cornerstone development. The issue arose after the property, formerly known as the Dille Farm, was annexed from the township into the city of Centerville. That case was settled out of court the following year, according to Greene County court records.

Messages left seeking comments from the township and Oberer’s attorney Mike McNamee were not returned.

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