Council shoots down partial annexation bid

Full annexation or no deal — that was the bottom line Monday as Oberlin city council slapped down a bid by the Lorain County JVS to allow just 98 acres to become part of the city.

A measure put forward by educators would have allowed just part of the Rt. 58 property to be annexed and JVS employees to side-step city income taxes.

It died for lack of a motion.

Oberlin law director Jon Clark filed a lawsuit June 11 against the JVS stating that educators refuse to honor an agreement made when the school was under construction in 1971.

That deal provided Oberlin sewer services and in return the JVS’ 133 acres would be annexed into the city if its limits ever stretched that far south.

In 2007, a parcel of land across from the JVS on the west side of Rt. 58 was brought into Oberlin’s limits. City officials started seeking annexation of the JVS in 2013.

“When they file a petition the municipality is required to pass an ordinance saying, ‘Here are the services we’ll provide you,’” Clark said.

A second ordinance — this one authored by city officials — addressing the services Oberlin would provide the school was also shot down.

What did pass with unanimous backing by council members was an objection to the JVS’ efforts to avoid full annexation. It was adopted on emergency status and will be forwarded to the Lorain County commissioners.

They will review Oberlin’s case and see whether all requirements for annexation have been met according to the Ohio Revised Code.

Requirements include:

• The people who signed an annexation petition are owners of the property located on the land proposed for annexation.

• The property does not exceed 500 acres.

• That the city owns a neighboring piece of land to the proposed annexation property.

• The municipality that’s expected to annex the property has agreed to provide services (power, water, sewer, etc.) specified in an ordinance for the proposed property.

• If a street or highway divides the boundary between the township and municipality then the city agrees to assume maintenance of that street or highway.

• The annexation will not create an incorporated area of the township that’s surrounded by the property annexed.

City council also approved the construction of a buffer to meet county or township zoning regulations to separate the JVS if annexed from Pittsfield Township’s adjacent land.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.