Bethel Township, Commissioners contest proposed annexation


By Eamon Baird

[email protected]

HUBER HEIGHTS — The city of Huber Heights and Bethel Township continue their tug-of-war over a proposed annexation.

A petition by Carriage Trail at the Heights LLC was filed on Jan. 16 to the Miami County Commissioners to annex 296.236 acres of land from Bethel Township to Huber Heights.

In November of 2022, the Miami County Commissioners were court-ordered to approve an annexation of 260 acres of land in Bethel Township to Huber Heights for the Carriage Trail housing development. It was shared the application for annexation met the requirements for the approval by the Miami County Engineer.

However, in May of 2023, Huber Heights Mayor Jeff Gore, citing the conflict among City Council members, decided not to bring this issue to a vote.

At the most recent Huber Heights City Council Meeting on Jan. 22, council member voted to adopt a resolution indicating the city of Huber Heights will provide to the territory proposed to be annexed to the city of Huber Heights pursuant to Sec. 709.0233 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Council members at the meeting clarified the vote was not to move forward with the annexation.

“I do realize there is a lot of contention in our community about this issue,” Fred Aikens, council member at large, said. “This is in no way indicative of a vote to approve annexation tonight. I will support this with the understanding that we will have some further discussions.”

Anita Kitchen, the ward four council member, stated she was not in favor of the proposed resolution.

“I feel that unless we are taking stuff that needs to be taken care of, like the water, which everybody knows that I’m for, I don’t feel that we can give services to potential people moving in. So, I will be opposed to this,” Kitchen said.

Residents of Bethel Township voiced their opposition to the resolution, citing issues of interrupting their rural lifestyle and possibly overcrowding schools.

“Think about what this does to your neighbor and the current residents of Huber Heights. I can’t find a reason that this is a benefit to Bethel Township,” Natalie Donahue said.

“Annexation laws are being manipulated and abused by developers to drive their quest to do business without regard to the wishes of the local community. Please be aware that the citizens of Bethel Township are against annexation,” Jeff Morford added.

On Jan. 30, the Miami County Commissioners wrote a letter to the Huber Heights City Council and other Ohio state representatives expressing their opposition to the proposed annexation.

“We believe that the proposed annexation would place an undue burden on these essential systems, risking the well-being and convenience of Miami County residents and the citizens of Huber Heights that live adjacent to the proposed annexed area,” the commissioners stated in their letter.

“Furthermore, we are concerned by the anticipated impact on local schools. The likely surge in population resulting from the annexation could overwhelm educational institutions across district lines, potentially leading to overcrowded classrooms and diminished quality of education,” the letter continued.

“We kindly request your opposition to the annexation, in consideration of both the democratic values we uphold and the responsibility we share as neighboring legislative bodies.”

The Huber Heights counselors at the meeting voted 7-1 to adopt the resolution, with Kitchen as the lone opposition vote.

The next Huber Heights Council Meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12.

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