SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – There was a meeting Tuesday evening in Salem to discuss the annexation of an entire Perry Township neighborhood into the city, where no annexation signs earlier this summer lined the neighborhood’s streets.
The annexation is being forced onto the neighborhood based on a deed restriction from 27 years ago. To drop that deed restriction, Salem wants something in return.
The meeting was held in Salem City Council Chambers. Council was on one side and the Perry Township trustees and some of the residents facing annexation were on the other. Salem Councilman Jake Gano tried calming the tension.
“We want to see future growth between the township and the city. All of this is very difficult to do if we’re sparring with each other or we’re fighting,” Gano said.
The annexation would force 37 homes on Countryside Drive, Hampton Place and Beechwood Road to be annexed from Perry Township into Salem.
A year ago, the holding company of Hickey Metal Fabrication annexed land into Salem, which triggered a deed restriction from 1996, forcing contiguous landowners to also annex into Salem to keep the city’s water and sewer.
Perry Township Trustee Tony Ieropoli wanted Salem council to simply change the language on the deeds to stop the annexation, to which Salem Law Director Brooke Zellers said no, that without something in return, Salem council members would not live up to their oaths to operate the city effectively.
“I’d like to see the language on that changed,” Ieropoli said.
Perry Township Trustee Steve Bailey offered a deal, suggesting the township and city create a Joint Economic Development District, or JEDD, that could allow for future annexations and development of Perry Township. In return, Salem would drop the annexation of the 37 houses.
“We don’t want to lose the residents that we have. I think they’re very happy with where they are,” Bailey said. “If we’re able to come up with some agreement, whether we have to give a little bit in that agreement with the city to make that happen, I think we’re willing to entertain those ideas.”
The Salem councilmen at the meeting did not commit to anything, only agreeing to another meeting on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m.
Salem City Council has imposed a deadline set for Jan. 17 to have the annexation issue resolved. Some of the residents in the audience were hoping a deal could be done before that.