Delaware leaders are mulling whether the city should reject the potential annexation of land from Berlin Township because of the possible financial burden, including the cost of road repair.

At its Feb. 25 meeting, Delaware City Council unanimously approved a resolution indicating what services the city would provide if it annexed 100.6 acres southeast of the city, just north of Peachblow Road and west of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

City Planning Director Dave Efland said the resolution is the first step in a process outlined by the Ohio Revised Code, which could lead to the land's annexation in several months.

Grden LLC is the petitioner.

Council member Lisa Keller said if the city annexes the land, "We will be taking on new roads. We'll be taking on new citizens ... to provide police and fire service. ... Without some ballpark (figure) of what will that cost us versus what is the net benefit, it's difficult for me to analyze whether we want to annex new property.

"I have a concern that we don't have an adequate funding for roads as it is. Development will happen (on the site). The question is, do we want it to happen in the city?"

The site's potential number of housing units is within the limits of the city's comprehensive plan, developed in 2003-04.

"I don't know that we knew in '03 and '04 that we would be in a position with our roads where we couldn't take care of the ones that we have," Keller said.

City Manager Tom Homan said Keller raised a valid question, and his office would work on an estimate of the fiscal impact.

The city earlier annexed land from Liberty and Berlin townships, east of U.S. Route 23, which Homan said resulted in different municipalities providing services in the area.

The annexations, he said, conform to the comprehensive plan's goal of providing additional housing in a school district other than Delaware City Schools, with housing "at a higher price point" the objective.

Delaware attorney Michael Shade represented Grden at the meeting.

The land already is in the city's water and sewer service area, he said. If the city rejects annexation, he said, it also should release the property from the utility service area.

Failure to do so, he said, would mean Grden would remain in Berlin Township but would have no access to city water and sewer.

The city's utility district means Berlin can't provide service north of Peachblow Road. That service would be available, he said, because the Delaware County Regional Sewer District plans to extend lines east of Route 23 to the area.

"That would be an interesting court battle," Shade said, "which I don't think anybody necessarily wants to go through, but that is a reality."

The annexation proposal next faces review by Delaware County commissioners, which would precede the city considering a detailed application and the annexation itself.

City Attorney Darren Shulman said specific details of any construction plans, lot sizes and other details would occur during that city review.