County asks court to dismiss city’s annexation appeal

By Scott Halasz - [email protected]

XENIA — Greene County is asking an appeals court to dismiss claims by Xenia that county commissioners wrongly denied the annexation of land city-owned land near Central State University.

In the filing made last week in the Second District Court of Appeals, the county’s attorney argued that the county did it’s job in considering the application and the city “just does not like the result, and is trying to use this mandamus to compel the discretion of the (county).”

A mandamus is an order from a court to a government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion.

“The City of Xenia normally has no comment regarding pending court cases but will consider filing a response with the court to the county’s motion,” Xenia spokesperson Lee Warren said.

In September 2017, the city petitioned to have 45.637 acres of land — including part of the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail and some state-owned property — annexed into the city as the first action in attempting to annex Central State. Commissioners denied the petition in November 2017.

In May 2018 the city filed its appeal, which claimed the board improperly had the city’s petition and documents filed with the petition reviewed by the Greene County engineer, the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Greene County Regional Planning Commission to “determine if the petitioner had meet (siq) the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code Section 709.023.” The city claims the ORC does not grant the commissioners the authority to delegate this “statutorily mandated duty to others.”

The city also claims the board improperly held a public hearing during its review of the petition.

Leading up to the decision, the commissioners said, they reviewed documentation from both sides including the city’s petition, the township’s objection, legal responses as well as various letters.

Board members considered seven criteria to make their decision: 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 are surrounded by annexed territory, city has agreed to provide services, and city has agreed to assume any road maintenance problem.

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]