XENIA — The Ohio Supreme Court will be asked to decide whether Xenia can annex a strip of land from Xenia Township near Wilberforce.
The Greene County Board of Commissioners voted Nov. 26 to appeal the decision of the Second District Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Xenia Nov. 15.
In the decision, Judges Jeffrey M. Welbaum, Mary E. Donovan, and Jeffrey E. Froelich agreed all requirements of a type 2 annexation were met and issued a writ of mandamus, or court order, to the commissioners to grant the annexation “as described in the petition.”
After meeting in executive session this morning, commissioners Bob Glaser and Dick Gould directed the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office to appeal the decision. Board President Tom Koogler was not present.
“The appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court will address, among other issues, the contiguity requirement of an expedited type 2 annexation,” a statement from Prosecutor Stephen Haller and County Administrator Brandon Huddleson reads. “The board is of the opinion that the decision by the court of appeals helps create a ‘balloon on a string’ contrary to legal precedent and the intent of the legislature. Greene County will request a stay of the Second District decision while the case is pending before the Ohio Supreme Court.”
In September 2017 the city petitioned to have 45.637 acres of land — including part of the Ohio to Erie Bike Trail owned by the city and some state-owned property — annexed into Xenia to open the possibility of annexing Central State University. Commissioners — who considered seven criteria to make their decision — denied the petition in November 2017.
The city in May 2018 then petitioned the Second District Court of Appeals to compel the county to approve the annexation, arguing all seven required criteria of the annexation were not met. Eighteen months later, the city got its wish.
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.
In ultimately denying the petition, the county opined that the final four criteria were not met.
Scott Halasz contributed to this report. Contact these reporters at 937-372-4444.