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Council OKs 22-acre annexation

February 10, 2017
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

City and township officials entered into an annexation agreement for 22.325 acres of land on South Palmyra Road.

City council approved during its Feb. 1. meeting the legislation that allows the privately owned land within the township limits to be annexed into the city.

The agreement was actually rooted in a 2007 court case over the Red Gate Farm property.

"We had a judgement entry from a court case over the Red Gate Farm property," Canfield Township Trustee Marie Cartwright said. "As part of that entry, the city must sit down with the township and negotiate [regarding annexation]."

For the first time since that agreement, the land on South Palmyra Road, south of U.S. Route 224, came up for annexation when property owner MALA Properties Ltd. filed a petition Aug. 22, 2016. The annexation request would bring city water and sewer to the property that would be developed for residential use.

The township trustees initially filed an objection to the annexation with Mahoning County commissioners, who sent the issue back to be negotiated. The commissioners then have the final authority to approve or deny the annexation.

Over the past few months, the city and township met and negotiated an agreement that will benefit both sides and allow for future expansion and development. Both city and township officials collaborated and allowed the annexation process to move forward.

The agreement allows the land to remain as township property, and the structures and people will become city residents.

The township, therefore, will receive the property taxes while the city will be able to collect the 1 percent income tax. In return, the city will provide police, water, sewer and road department services to the development.

"I feel the negotiations that are happening with this specific piece of property means that future annexation agreements should go well," council President Donnie Dragish said. "We will already have a good relationship with the township."

The property is half of a larger section of land that borders the Red Gate Farm property. The city owns Red Gate, but it is township land.

It could fall under a similar agreement someday, but for now, the focus is on the 22.325 acres.

Cartwright said one protection that was agreed upon involved water line tie-in. Normally, when a water and sewer line is run down a street, all homes along the route are forced to tie into the service. Under the agreement, the water and sewer lines will run along Palmyra Road on the west side, but homeowners in the township who reside on the east side of the road will be exempt.

"They are protected as part of this agreement," Cartwright said. "They can tie in only if they want to."

She said as long as the owners remain as owners of the property, they will be exempt from tying in. When they sell the property, the new owner will be required to tie in to water and sewer.

The agreement was approved by both city and township and is now awaiting final approval from Mahoning County commissioners.

"We are working together and pushing for growth together," Dragish said. "This is basically what the county tries to do, so in essence, we are doing their job for them."

The agreement, expected to be approved, will be a first for Mahoning County. Both Cartwright and Dragish have heard the state is favoring such efforts and that may play a part in future funding.



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