The process in which two private property owners in Violet Township seek to annex approximately 37.4 acres into the city of Pickerington will be moving to the next phase, said Bill Vance, Pickerington city manager.
Pickerington City Council passed legislation in December approving voluntary pre-annexation agreements with property owners Donald and Carmella Smith and Kelly Sanders.
Vance said the next step is for the city to create a "petition for annexation" document for submittal to the Fairfield County Commissioners.
He said the petition is mainly comprised of the physical legal descriptions of the properties.
"This work will take place during the month of January with the petition for annexation anticipated to be delivered to Fairfield County in February, provided these activities continue to receive City Council support," Vance said.
He said once the petition is delivered to Fairfield County, City Council would then have 28 days to adopt and deliver a Service Ordinance "which defines the municipal services that the properties proposed for annexation could expect to be provided by the city of Pickerington."
In addition to the above-mentioned properties, the Pickerington High School North and Pickerington Lakeview Junior High School campus would be part of the potential annexation as well as the South Central Power Refugee Road substation property.
Vance said both the Smith and Sanders representatives are seeking to annex to the city because "they realize that doing so will increase the value of their properties and enhance its commercial marketability with central Ohio."
He said annexing the Smith/Sanders properties with an eye towards commercial development would be a good fit for the Pickerington area in these times of dwindling revenue streams to local governments.
"Pickerington leaders understand that you cannot continue to over and over again to ask the same existing property taxpayers to approve levy after levy without also constantly and aggressively trying to envision and accommodate opportunities to create new taxpayers to share in the payment of our community's 'quality of life' costs," Vance said.
He said additional revenues will be needed to maintain Pickerington's "second to none" school district as well as the Pickerington Police Department and the Violet Township Fire Department "to ensure their protection of local residents and local property values."
Both the city and township will also find it difficult to adequately pave roads in the near future, Vance said.
"We have even gotten to the point where the ability of Violet Township and the city of Pickerington to pave the streets will not be a given after the 2015/2016 ODOT Safety grants and OhioHealth Refugee Road development TIF funds are successfully invested in those regionally beneficial road improvements," Vance said.
He said annexation would improve local government services for the region as a whole by bringing in new taxpayers and new investments.
"The many layered Ohio local governments must work together if respective local government business plans are to be successful and whole communities are to remain healthy," Vance said.
"Finding ways to say 'yes' to responsible regionalism is the key."