(Posted Aug. 10, 2020)
Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer
London area residents who came out to voice their opposition to a proposed annexation found a counter argument from city officials.
On Aug. 6, London city council held a public hearing on the proposed annexation of close to 12 acres of land at East Center Street and State Route 665 into the city of London. Union Township trustees have approved the annexation, and the legislation has moved through council’s three-reading process.
However, residents said the Sunnyside Veterinary Clinic, which has expressed interest in moving from their current location on High Street to the land if annexed, was not in residents’ best interests.
“It’s not a good idea for myself or my neighbors. We moved to the outskirts of town for a reason,” said Jessica Mackan, who lives across from the property at Center Street and Payne-Thompson Road. “We don’t want the extra traffic. It’s not going to benefit me or my neighbors at all.”
Other residents who live in the area expressed similar concerns.
“There is already massive traffic on 665 and Payne-Thompson. This is just going to bring more traffic,” said Heather Armentrout. “We love animals and have animals ourselves. I don’t think it’s a good location for Sunnyside.”
Council members asked the residents who spoke at the public hearing if they had gone to the Union Township meetings on the matter. Residents said the city’s recent letter was the first they’d heard of the proposed annexation.
Council member Josh Peters told residents he understood their concerns but that the annexation and the clinic proposal were two separate matters.
“Even with this annexation, it doesn’t mean they’ll build out there for sure,” Peters said.
Council member Rich Hayes said the same thing, stating that opposition to building matters is for Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, not city council.
“(Sunnyside) would have to submit plans through Planning and Zoning before they build,” Hayes said. “That would be where you would want to go.”
After the hearing, council unanimously passed the resolution to annex the land into the city.
Council also discussed legislation that was first read at the July 16 meeting regarding rescinding a 0.5 percent tax credit to residents who live in London but work outside the city.
London resident Matt Dailey spoke out against the measure at the Aug. 6 meeting.
“If you want to make this decision, that’s fine. But why didn’t this come to residents first?” Dailey said. “A lot of cities still offer this to residents.”
Of the 1.5 percent tax, 1 percent goes to the general fund and the 0.5 percent goes to fund the fire department, according to council member Brenda Russell.
The measure was kept on the agenda for a third reading at council’s next meeting on Aug. 20.
In other meeting action, council:
- approved a payment of $1,256,775.40 to the Ohio Water Development Authority for the city’s new water plant. Initially, the balance was due in July;
- passed an ordinance to issue acquisitions bonds in the amount of $498,502 for the purchase of new trash trucks; and
- passed a resolution allowing the city to enter into a contract with Madison County for wastewater services at London Correctional Institution.