By Jane Maiolo
Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township appear headed for court in what may prove to be the most amicable of court cases between the two entities in recent times.
After years of lawsuits and wrangling over water/sewer and annexation issues, both sides thought they had resolved their differences with the signing of the 99-year agreement in 2001.
But the agreement seems to have left open for debate the issue of which entity has the right to enforce zoning rules on land that remains in the township but receives utilities from the city.
At the August 7 Wood County Planning Commission meeting, County Prosecutor Ray Fischer suggested that the matter be resolved in court.
Mr. Fischer, who represents the township, county planning commission and county engineer, said the issue involves all three regulatory bodies since the city, through home rule, is superceding the rights of the county departments and the township.
He reminded the commission that in 1984, a resolution was passed stating that the county oversaw zoning regulations for unincorporated areas of the township. Those areas include the U.S. Route 20 corridor which has seen rapid development in Perrysburg Township.
"Some of these areas are not subject to annexation for many years," said assistant prosecutor Linda Holmes.
However, because those developments are receiving utilities from Perrysburg, the city is enacting its zoning regulations on developers, Mr. Fischer explained, adding that those regulations conflict with township, planning commission and county engineer rules. "There is the rub."
Mr. Fischer would like to seek a "nonadversarial declaratory judgment" in which both sides agree on the facts and let the Wood County Court of Common Pleas decide the case based on those facts.
"The trustees want our office to move ahead [to court]. We propose this planning commission be a part of it also," said the prosecutor.
Assistant Prosecutor Linda Holmes added, "We didn't want to file without you being given the opportunity to be involved." She noted that past actions of the planning commission make its involvement likely.
County commissioner Tim Brown, also a member of the planning commission, said he believes it is important to "find out our jurisdictional responsibilities." He put forth a motion to become a part of the case. The commission voted unanimously to participate.
In a telephone interview last Thursday, County Engineer Ray Huber said his office also plans to take part in the case. "Absolutely, we will be part of it," he said.