Annexations: Can they be stopped?
Shock has been a common reaction among Butler Township residents over the most recent city of Union annexations and the subsequent re-zoning of those properties.
“I know many are wondering why Butler Township hasn’t done more to protect the residents from annexation,” said Township Administrator Kim Lapensee. “It’s very simple: State law is not on our side.”
The law states that if a property owner wants to annex their property to a city, and the city agrees, there is nothing a township can do to stop that action from happening.
There are three main ways of annexing property
– An owner must sign a petition asking the city to accept their property, and the city is required to pay the township a lump sum payment for the loss of property taxes over a certain period of time. This must be approved by the county commission.
– The city is not permitted to re-draw its boundaries, and the property stays within the township forever. The township continues to collect money for all levies and must split the inside millage it receives in the remaining property taxes with the city forever. This also must be approved by the county commission.
– The city can annex large amounts of properties as long as it has a majority of signatures. Taxes are then split on a sliding scale over a 12-year period. County commissioners have discretion with this request.
Majority annexation has been around a long time, but Types 1 and 2 annexations were more recently created by the legislature in 2002. Descriptions of all types can be found in Section 709.023 of the Ohio Revised Code.
How often has Butler Township been annexed?
Over 1,197 acres in Butler Township has been annexed to the city of Union. The township has filed objections to every annexation filed since 2000, but has never been successful in winning appeals or stopping the annexations.
“The good news is that any annexation filed after 2002 must provide buffers to neighboring properties,” said Lapensee. “The term ’buffers’ is not clearly defined, but the property owner next door does have recourse with the courts if the city does not follow the law.”
Where do we go from here?
Townships can do little to stop annexation except for providing their own utilities and competing against their neighbors for development, or incorporating as a city.
“Whatever Union’s plans may be, Butler Township will continue to oppose any development of annexed areas for industrial purposes,” Lapensee said. “But at this point, we can either sit by and watch them drive by us on the bus, or we can start to control our own destiny.”
Lapensee encourages township residents to email her at email@example.com to let her know your thoughts. Should Butler Townshp incorporate and put a stop to any further annexations, or should it find a way to provide water and other utilities so the need to annex is eliminated?