NILES, Ohio (WKBN) — In a meeting that lasted seven minutes, Niles City Council on Tuesday evening voted to support the proposed annexation of 31 acres of land from Howland and Vienna.
If the annexation happens, Niles has agreed to provide police and fire protection, power, zoning and — where available — water and sewer services.
“This area that they’re talking about, it’s been farm country for as long back as I think I’ve been born, and I think we could all work together on this,” says Linda Marchese, city council member.
The area under request consists of undeveloped land near Route 11, next to Niles-Vienna Road. Some of it lies within Howland or Vienna’s limits, and most of it is owned by Niles police officer Jim Villecco.
“The property owner came to us and wanted to come into the city,” says city council member Jimmy Julian. “It’s a no-brainer to want to grow your city.”
At a meeting last week, people in Howland and Vienna complained about Niles’ efforts to annex land where the city provides electricity, water and/or sewer. Niles council previously passed an ordinance requiring people with Niles utilities to be annexed into the city.
“We grandfathered the people who already live there, but it says if their property is sold or a new house, then those people — if they want our utilities — have to annex in,” says Niles council member Doug Sollitto.
Sollitto says though Villecco may be voluntarily asking for annexation, this won’t always be the case. He says it’s a “forced annexation, per se.”
“[The land] could be piecemealed, chip chopped … as property gets sold or new property gets developed,” says Sollitto.
The decision on whether to approve the annexation rests with the Trumbull County Commissioners. A hearing with the commissioners is set for Dec. 7.