Liberty Township resident and former trustee John Schuette last week told the current trustees the township needs to be more business friendly to avoid losing land to annexation.

Liberty Township resident and former trustee John Schuette last week told the current trustees the township needs to be more business friendly to avoid losing land to annexation.

"I come as a frustrated citizen concerned about the continuation of Liberty Township. I was disturbed when I read about the Giant Eagle transfer from Liberty Township to Powell and the taxes it takes with it," Schuette said.

The property owner, Todd Wyett, is considering annexing into Powell 27 acres on the northwest corner of Powell Road and Sawmill Parkway, including the Giant Eagle store.

Wyett told ThisWeek the township's zoning code, particularly relating to signs, is "unnecessarily burdensome."

Schuette said, "I've said many times that you need to put a table in the (township hall) doorway with a sign on it (saying), 'Leave your property and constitutional rights here before entering' because that's just about what's going on.

"I've sat here at meetings and people wanted commercial zoning and (the zoning commission members) have run them through a politely hostile war," he said.

If Powell ever withdraws from the township, Schuette said, "Every bit of commercial property that they've grabbed will go with it. And then what will Liberty Township use for taxes to get the services our people are used to having?"

Trustee Robert Mann said, "I think it's important to shed the reputation of not being business-friendly. We are currently working on an expedited redrafting of our signage code. We've had a number of complaints over the last couple months from a number of businesses and residents over our signage code."

Both Mann and Trustee Peggy Guzzo said other than being opposed to big box, they are not anti-business or anti-commercial, but want to see "responsible planning."

Guzzo said she wanted to see varied types of businesses. "It's not a matter just about big box, but how many drug stores or banks do you need?"

Powell city spokesperson Jeff Robinson said in an e-mail the city's cooperative economic development agreement (CEDA) with Liberty keeps the city in the township for 50 years, unless both sides decide differently.

Liberty continues to collect property tax on property annexed into Powell, except for Liberty's roads and bridges levy, said Shari Baker of the Delaware County Auditor's Office.

Asked later by ThisWeek to respond to Schuette's comments, trustees Curt Sybert and Mann declined comment.

Guzzo said, "Government should look for ways to be efficient and sharing services such as Powell doing the commercial buildings is a way to do that. I've not heard any complaints about Powell's service from the business community. I don't think we should make a knee-jerk decision just because we disagree with Powell on a couple of issues."