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Opposition organizing to fight annexation in West Chesapeake

Apr. 23, 2013 @ 11:20 PM

CHESAPEAKE, Ohio -- Opposition is being organized to fight a proposal by the village of Chesapeake to annex West Chesapeake.

Steve Wyant, 67, of Township Road 1412, Chesapeake, said village officials tried to annex the area several years ago, and he organized a petition drive against it. "I circulated a petition against it, and a number of people signed it," Wyant said Tuesday. The annexation attempt subsequently was then dropped, he said.

"We've gotten along without them," he said. "We don't need their police department. ... There is nothing they can offer us."

Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin said village council members approved the annexation attempt earlier this month. The proposal calls for the annexation of several hundred homes along County Road 1 west of Chesapeake to the Union Township line near the Lawrence County Airpark.

All three Union Township trustees have voiced opposition to the proposal and plan to attend a public meeting on the issue at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25 at Chesapeake Middle School.

"I don't see it will be advantageous to the residents," said Rick Gue, a township trustee. "It will raise taxes. I'm opposed to it."

"I'm upset about it," said Terry Porter, a township trustee. "We were never notified about it. We're opposed to it. We will fight it. We're going to hire an attorney."

The township has a bigger tax base than the village, Porter said. "Trustees can respond quicker" to public issues, he said.

The annexation would lower the township's tax base and hamper the abilities of trustees on road projects and other issues, Porter said.

"There is no way the village could do some of the things we do without raising taxes," he said.

"They blindsided us," said Mike Curry, a Union Township trustee. "We're definitely against it. When we get complaints, we can respond quickly. We just paved some roads in West Chesapeake with state gas tax money. Annexation would take money away from it."

Gilpin said earlier this week he was getting positive feedback on the proposal. He said the village could extend police service to the area.

The village has to get 60 percent of the impacted residents to agree to the plan and have the plan approved by the Lawrence County Board of Commissioners before it can move forward.

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