ELYRIA — Developers who twice tried to annex more than 30 acres of land into Elyria from Eaton Township are ready for a third try.
Monday night, the city’s Community Development Committee approved legislation to pave the way for developers to again submit an annexation petition to the county. The next step will return the matter to the county commissioners, who unanimously voted in October to deny an expedited annexation petition. Commissioners had said the map included in the application was illegible.
Without a clear map showing the boundary lines for the parcels in question, no one was willing to vote on the issue, especially with a township trustee opposing the petition. The petition aims to annex about 35 acres on Chestnut Ridge Road, just east of state Route 57 and across from Chestnut Commons, but Eaton Township Trustee Jason Monschein said doing so would leave township parcels surrounded by city land, effectively creating a county island.
“This petition was struck down by county commissioners for technical reasons. It was not due to any errors or flaws on the part of the city,” said Assistant Law Director Amanda Deery. “However, the attorneys advocating for that petition will try again. And once again are asking the city to again support the petition for annexation. … This is something the city is very much in favor of.”
It is not a surprise that the request is making a third go round. When commissioners voted down the request, they did so knowing it probably would return to their desks.
“I know the city of Elyria will get this done,” Commissioner Ted Kalo said at the time.
Mayor Holly Brinda said the push to annex the land has been about two years in the making, with the developers driving the request.
“They prefer to have city services rather than township services for this rather large development,” she said.
Brinda said as a condition of the annexation the city would provide the infrastructure for the area including water and sewer and take a lead in finding a solution for the traffic woes of the area.
“We know residents have concerns about the traffic, as do we,” she said. “But we are not able to resolve the issues alone because we are not alone in controlling the land in that area. This annexation would give us a little more control.”
Several entities are involved in control of that area. Elyria controls the traffic signals in the area. Chestnut Ridge is a county road and state Route 57 is under the Ohio Department of Transportation. Eaton Township has land there, as well as the city of Elyria and Carlisle Township.
In hopes of finding a traffic solution, Brinda brought all of them together to discuss the area and have a traffic study done.
The study last year by the Mannik Smith Group of Maumee quantified the traffic volume in the area at about 44,000 vehicles a day and outlined a solution — known as a “Michigan left turn” — that raised a few eyebrows locally. A Michigan left turn is basically a legal U-turn. Michigan has many of them; Ohio has few.
The idea eliminates left turns at the state Route 57-Chestnut Ridge intersection and instead requires drivers to make a U-turn around a broad median a few hundred feet from the main intersection.