Butler Twp. residents rally opposition to Union rezoning

Dayton Daily News (OH), 2014-07-11


July 11 -- Butler Township residents met Wednesday night to rally against the city of Union's plan to rezone about 300 acres of land into light-industrial.

"The City of Union has told me that if you are not in the City of Union , you really don't have a vote. I don't think that's right when it's our backyards that are being affected," said George Moorman , a township resident and co-organizer of the meeting attended by about 100 residents from Butler Twp ., Union and Vandalia .

Township residents fear that if the Union City Council approves the emergency ordinance that has the proposed rezonings, the result will be headaches for the township residents and others who live in or near the affected areas.

Part of this land is in the township, but all of the land is owned by the city of Union . This is why township trustees cannot vote on the issue.

Union City Council is expected to vote on the rezonings after a public hearing scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the city's government building, 118 N. Main St.

Wednesday's meeting was aimed at boosting oppostion turnout for the council meeting.

The rezonings include two separate areas of land. The first is more than 140 acres located on the south side of Montgomery County Line Road , along a portion of Furnas Road and north of Old Springfield Road . The second area contains more than 130 acres on the south side of Old Springfield Road and east of Frederick Pike .

The emergency ordinance states that the two areas are to be rezoned from commercial, residential and agricultural-residential to light-industrial.

John Applegate , Union city manager, told the Dayton Daily News earlier this week that the rezoning is needed in order to promote development in the area near the 1-million square foot distribution center that ProLogis , a national developer of industrial buildings, is leasing to Procter & Gamble in Union's Global Logistics Airpark.

Old Springfield Road has residential structures in the township and those structures are adjacent to ground already zoned light-industrial, so the proposed rezoning is an extension of that zoning district, according to Applegate.

Residents expressed concerns about decreasing property values, traffic issues, including the potential for a high number of noisy trucks on the road, and response times of emergency personnel.

Moorman and Nick Brusky , a Butler Twp . trustee, said they believe the traffic issues will have more impact on township residents and those living in nearby cities than on Union residents because of street routes and their proximity to the interstates and highways.

"Townships are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to fighting municipalities because of the way that state law is written," said local attorney Daniel Brown , who attended Wednesday's meeting. Brown told the audience that he represents a Union resident whose property on Old Springfield Road was a part of the parcels set to be rezoned light-industrial.

"Because she objected to it, the city is going to take her property off of the application," Brown said. He went on to say that Union city council is also expected to vote on this resident's issue Monday.

Township resident Benjamin Jones told the audience that the Ohio Revised Code allows "cities to go into unincorporated areas, identify properties, go to the property owner, give them annexation papers that are already filled out. All they have to do is sign them. And they promise them services that they don't already have."

Brusky was one of three elected officials who made themselves known to the audience. The other two were Moorman, a Vandalia-Butler City Schools boardmember, and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer .

Butler Township trustees oppose the rezoning and plan to pursue legal action as a response, according to Brusky.

"There is a possibility that legal action could come from this," he said after the nearly two-hour meeting.

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