County expected to rule on CSU annexation

By Anna Bolton and Scott Halasz

XENIA — The Greene County Commissioners are expected to rule on the proposed annexation of Central State University to the City of Xenia during their Thursday, Nov. 2 meeting.

The city is hoping to annex the entire campus, approximately 650 acres, from Xenia Township. The annexation would be done in several phases. The first phase, which the commissioners could approve or deny Thursday, is for 45.637 acres which is part of the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail and some state-owned property.

There are seven criteria the commissioners consider: petition was properly filed, all owners signed, annexation territory does not exceed 500 acres, 5 percent of the perimeter of the annexation territory shares a contiguous and continuous boundary with the city, no islands of unincorporated territory surrounded by annexed territory, city has agreed to provide services, and city has agreed to assume any road maintenance problem.

The township passed a resolution objecting to the annexation, arguing that the bike trail creates a “balloon on a string” and is not contiguous; that there is insufficient evidence that the map and legal description filed as a part of the annexation petition are accurate; that there is insufficient evidence from the map and legal description that the petition meets all the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code regarding a 5 percent continuous perimeter; and that the city has not agreed to assume road maintenance problems also required by the ORC.

City officials disagree with the balloon on a string theory.

“We feel very confident that we are following the statute,” City Manager Brent Merriman said. “This petition for annexation is not (a balloon on a string). It’s just not true. At the end of the day they are challenging something that isn’t even happening at this point. You can’t deny this petition for something that may happen in the future.”

According to the board’s work session minutes from Oct. 19, parties involved will be permitted to give a statement at the 1 p.m. meeting. The public will also be allowed to comment on the topic on a time-limited basis.

Merriman said the city has put together responses to the township’s objections.

“We have systematically reviewed this,” he said. “We have vetted this. We have reviewed it. We are following the letter of the statute. We wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t feel it wasn’t lawful.”

Merriman added that the city has already said it will take ownership of the road maintenance.

By Anna Bolton and Scott Halasz

Contact these reporters at 937-372-4444.

Contact these reporters at 937-372-4444.