Trustees discuss a limited home rule measure in Franklin Township

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

A local township is once again considering becoming a limited home rule government.

At a special Franklin Township meeting, the board of trustees discussed how they could move forward with becoming this type of government.

“The population of the unincorporated area needs to be 15,000 before the board can unanimously pass the resolution,” said Julie Donnan, an attorney for the township. “It needs to go to the voters for adoption.”

In 2016 and 2017, the township asked residents to approve becoming a limited home rule government. In 2016, voters opposed this with 64 percent voting against it. In 2017, voters again rejected the ballot measure with 61 percent in opposition.

If the township would have become a limited home rule government, it would have given the board power to more quickly enact rules already laid out by Franklin County and the Ohio Revised Code. Policies the board has said they would like to enforce in the township that they currently cannot because of their lack of authority include creating a no-knock registry, ordinances related to high weeds, and eliminating junk cars on properties.

The trustee said that becoming a limited home rule government would allow the township to crack down on nuisances in the community, such as solicitors, overgrown grass and high weeds, and a variety of other laws that are currently are being violated in the township.

It also would give the board the authority to offer incentives to businesses to encourage them to locate in the township.

“It would be an opportunity to do a few good things for the township and enhance our business situation,” said Franklin Township trustee Ralph Horn.

Township officials said a limited home rule measure could be left up to the voters again or the township could pursue other methods to enact a home rule status. Trustees did say in the meantime, they would continue to look at things they can to do to improve the township without a limited home rule.

“This needs to be voted upon in an election by the voters,” said Franklin Township trustee Jim Leezer. “However, there are things the board can do without being home rule to make changes.”

The trustees also said they believe a limited home rule government was previously rejected due to misinformation.

“I think some people campaigning against it was detrimental,” Horn said. “I also think there should have been more of a commitment to get information out about it.”

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