SUGARCREEK TOWNSHIP — A federal court judge Wednesday temporarily dismissed the lawsuit filed by the developers of Cornerstone of Centerville against Sugarcreek Township over emergency services at the development.
US District Judge Walter Rice ruled that the lawsuit had flaws and threw out parts of it completely but gave Oberer Development 30 days to amend other parts of the lawsuit. If it does file an amendment, the lawsuit could remain alive.
If Oberer does not file, the case will be terminated, according to court documents. Oberer filed the lawsuit in March claiming the development was damaged because of the township’s threat to create a new fire district that excluded Cornerstone — which has Costco as a major tenant — and other parts of the Centerville-annexed area.
Sugarcreek Township officials see the ruling as a small victory.
“We view it as being very positive,” Administrator Barry Tiffany said. “You never know in a court case how thing are going to turn out. We think the judge is spot-on. Our residents are happy about it.”
Tiffany said Rice’s ruling does not bring closure to the ongoing saga.
“I don’t know that it’s ever, ever going to be over,” he said. “They’ve (Oberer) got some options.”
Oberer Development owner George Oberer Jr., said his company is not yet sure what it will do.
“We are evaluating whether to accept Judge Rice’s invitation to file an amended complaint in federal court,” he said in an email. “The federal lawsuit was based upon Sugarcreek Township’s earlier threat to re-impose a fire district excluding the Cornerstone development. Later, Sugarcreek Township withdrew its threat to exclude Cornerstone from fire and EMS protection.”
But last week the township announced that it would create a fire district excluding Cornerstone in 2017, if voters approve the move in March.
That “creates unnecessary risks for everyone in the area including the township’s own residents who may be traveling in the Wilmington Pike, Feedwire Road areas and Interstate 675 and the interchange,” the Oberer email said.
Centerville and the township have been exchanging offers and counteroffers in an attempt to come to an agreement on how much the city will pay for fire and emergency medical service provided by the township. Centerville does not have it’s own fire department
Court-ordered negotiations and several sessions after that proved futile.
Oberer said it’s his development that is feeling the brunt of the lack of an agreement.
“We were not a party to the most recent failed negotiations between Sugarcreek Township and the City of Centerville,” Oberer said. “As the Cornerstone developer, we are unfortunately again suffering the consequences of those failed negotiations and to say the least, we are completely frustrated with the situation.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.