XENIA — Representatives from Sugarcreek Township and the city of Centerville have scheduled another meeting after Thursday’s executive session in Xenia regarding the Cornerstone development was productive.
The two sides will meet Wednesday July 22 to see if an agreement can be reached regarding fire and emergency medical service at the Cornerstone of Centerville.
“I think the (Sugarcreek) trustees are cautiously optimistic at this point,” said Township Administrator Barry Tiffany. “(Wednesday’s meeting) was very cordial.”
The meeting was proposed by Centerville Mayor C. Mark Kingseed in mid-June after failed mediation attempts.
At issue is how much Centerville would pay Sugarcreek Township for fire and emergency medical service at Cornerstone, which is on Centerville-annexed property but still in the township. Currently Costco is the only open retail business but several restaurants and Kroger have announced plans to construct there as well, which will undoubtedly lead to increased calls for service.
Kingseed, who was joined by Deputy Mayor Brooks Compton and councilmenber JoAnne Rau, felt progress was made Thursday.
“(Kingseed) said he thought it was a productive meeting, thought it was a cordial setting,” Centerville City Manager Greg Horn said.
Negotiations between the sides began years ago, but heated up when — four days before Costco opened — the township created a new fire district that excluded the Cornerstone development and portions of nearby public roads including Interstate 675, Feedwire Road, Brown Road and Dille Road. Costco was the first business to open in the development.
That action resulted in a series of lawsuits, motions and mediation sessions all aimed at creating some sort of resolution. The township ultimately rescinded the fire district and has agreed to provide fire and EMS service to the area, but that didn’t bring closure to the issue.
A federal lawsuit seeks monetary damages, injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that will permanently prevent the township from excluding the Cornerstone from its fire district.
Attorneys for the township have filed a motion asking for the dismissal of the lawsuit, arguing that the Oberer lawsuit has no merit at this point and accusing Oberer of “misrepresentation of the facts.”
While there have been tense moments during this process, Tiffany said the focal point now is making a deal come to fruition.
“We’re trying to get past the history and trying to move forward and get something that works for both sides,” he said. “I think both sides are trying to get past the history. They recognize that its in their best interest to get this thing resolved.