The Berkshire Township board of trustees has filed an objection to a petition that requested the village of Sunbury annex 128 acres of property within the township for development.
The objection was filed Tuesday, March 25, with the Delaware County board of commissioners, stating the petition does not outline proper road-maintenance responsibilities for Domigan Road.
Property owners Geraldine Eder Dye, Domigan Walker LLC and Kirk's Creek Investment LCC filed the petition March 5 requesting that their collective 128 acres east of South Galena Road, west of Domigan Road and northwest of Cheshire Road be annexed into Sunbury.
The petition did not outline the owners' intentions for the land, but previously discussed plans indicate heavy commercial development, including construction of an outlet mall, a sports complex, hotels and offices.
According to the trustees' objection, the petition should be denied because "the township knows of no agreement that the village of Sunbury will assume maintenance of these unincorporated portion of Domigan Road so as to otherwise correct these problems."
The petition indicates that if Sunbury annexed the property, Domigan Road would cross through parts of Berkshire Township and Sunbury, but does not state who is responsible for roadwork.
Currently, Domigan Road is solely in Berkshire Township. Trustee Bill Holtry said the petitioners overlooked that detail.
"They have to cross our road. We have a road we are responsible for," Holtry said. "We have had no discussion with Sunbury about that annexation or services available at all."
On March 19, Sunbury Village Council passed a resolution that outlined potential municipal services if council decides to annex the property. The resolution states sewer, police, zoning, street and roadway services are available to the land.
Holtry said the annexation request caught Berkshire Township trustees off-guard, since there was no discussion about the property with the owners or services necessary for the land.
He said the board will object to any future annexation requests.
"Nobody ever asked us for any zoning changes for that property," Holtry said. "That's one thing that kind of surprised us from the very beginning. We have all the services available that they would need, and probably would have saved them a lot of money and time had they come to us for the zoning request."
Michael Shade, the petitioners' agent, could not be reached for comment.
The property would need the same municipal services from Sunbury that Berkshire Township is prepared to offer the planned Simon-Tanger outlet mall nearby. Construction on that mall is set to begin in 2015.
"We're developing a property where the outlet mall is being developed and the sewer and water is already there," Holtry said. "We're working on police and providing those services to the mall and (developers) are very happy with what we are offering them.
"The property that just had an annexation request requested no additional services than the mall has," he added.
Since Berkshire Township filed an objection, county commissioners must conduct an administrative review of the petition to ensure it meets statutory criteria before approval.
As part of the review, commissioners also must consider the resolution that Sunbury Village Council passed earlier this month.
If the commissioners find that the township's objection is legitimate, or find that more than one aspect of the petition has not met the criteria, then the petition must be denied.
If not, the petition must be approved and Sunbury Village Council will have full discretion to annex the property.
The commissioners will review the petition at 9:30 a.m. April 14 at the board of commissioners' offices, 101 N. Sandusky St.