CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The threat of a lawsuit may have been what it took to get a long-awaited annexation issue resolved in Canfield.
The controversy surrounds a 19-acre farm owned by the Lanterman family. The Lantermans and developer Frank Amedia want the land that sits near US-224 and Palmyra Road annexed into the city so it can be developed.
Amedia is looking to create a new “lifestyle center” on the land with homes and small retail shops, providing the land can get water and sewer from the neighboring city of Canfield.
The process has been plagued with bureaucracy, however, as the two governments argue over how to make it all work.
“We are conceptually in agreement on this. All we need to do is include the development and the infrastructure plan as part of the agreement,” said Canfield Township Trustee Marie Cartwright.
But the process has taken months. The final straw may have come last week when Mahoning County Commissioners, who have the final say in annexations, agreed to another 60-day delay to give township trustees and city council more time.
Amedia filed a lawsuit looking to force commissioners to act, but family members say they just want to be alive long enough to enjoy the money they get for selling the property.
“It’s to the point now where we see no progress being made. It is just people back and forth, back and forth,” said Phyllis Lanterman, the property owner. “I just don’t understand why we can’t all come to an agreement on this and do it quickly.”
After a 90-minute executive session Tuesday, Mahoning County Commissioners agreed to give the township and city just two more weeks to iron out their differences before they take a vote. That was enough to delay a hearing on the lawsuit.
Family members say they are optimistic, for now.
“People need to step up and do the right thing here,” Lanterman said.