Steve Wyant, a West Chesapeake resident, airs his opinions and concerns over annexation.
Steve Wyant, a West Chesapeake resident, airs his opinions and concerns over annexation.

Archived Story

Annexation meeting brings out opposition, support

Published 10:29am Friday, April 26, 2013

 

CHESAPEAKE — The group was small but vocal as approximately 40 West Chesapeake residents came to a public hearing to say whether they want to be part of the village next door.

“We are going to talk about why we want you to join our village,” Chesapeake Village Councilman Paul Nathan Hart told the audience at the Chesapeake Middle School Thursday night.

Earlier this month Chesapeake Village Council voted to proceed with the process to annex the two miles west from the village limits at Triangle Park to about half of the Lawrence County Airport.

There are approximately 500 residents affected.

Among those in opposition to the annexation are the Union Township Trustees who don’t want the 730 parcels, plus that portion of the airport, taken out of the township.

“There is the impression the township trustees were angry with us,” Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin said. “They are not angry. They are not for this. We do not intend for this to be a competition between us and them. This is the environment for future economic growth.”

For those pieces of property to be annexed a majority of the parcel owners must sign petitions in favor of it. Then, after those signatures are verified, the decision rests with the Lawrence County Commissioners.

Among the advantages to annexation, village officials say, are increased police protection that could patrol the three schools that would become part of the village, and more grant money for infrastructure improvements and fire protection.

“For 107 years we have been separate,” Hart said. “It is time to join together. It makes sense. If we share resources together, we will come out way far ahead.”

However, some residents disputed those advantages saying the response time of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has been adequate for them and gaining such improvements as additional sidewalks through grant money is not that much of an advantage.

“I don’t feel we need Chesapeake Police setting up speed traps,” Steve Wyant, a west end resident, said. “I don’t think we need you. We are doing just fine. Our trustees do just fine.”

However after the meeting Chesapeake Police Chief Dennis Gibson said the village force takes calls when the sheriff’s office is unable to get to the west end because of restricted manpower and other calls. On average Chesapeake Police handles between 15 and 20 calls a week in the west end now, Gibson said.

Some in opposition questioned if after annexation an income tax would be imposed. Officials gave no comment other than they hoped that wouldn’t happen.

At the heart of the annexation issue is the future of the airport. The Lawrence County Commissioners are exploring the possibility of developing it commercially.

If that happens and it is annexed into the village, Chesapeake would receive a portion of the property tax revenue.

“It is all about economic development,” Union Trustee Rick Gue said. “What do you propose to do for the people that we haven’t? I hear the police department. This is not what it is all about. What are you seeing that a lot of people don’t see?”

Commission President Bill Pratt, the only commissioner to attend the meeting, said the commission won’t approve the annexation if the village doesn’t take in all of the airport or takes any of it. The commission does not want the property split.

Trustee Mike Curry asked if the airport is not developed, would the village still want the annexation. Gilpin said it would.

Even without that extra tax base, annexation would bring the village $25,346 more in fire levy money and $22,462 more for the general fund. That cost to the taxpayer would be $59 a year on property valued at $70,000.

However Councilman Paul Hart said going after an increased tax base from developing the airport is the future.

“The airport is going to leave,” Hart said. “We need to open our eyes to the bigger picture. We have to come together. We need people to think a little bigger.”

The spotlight is on this small group of people, Pratt said, the decision they make will affect the eastern end of the county for the next 30 to 40 years.

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  • Poor Richard

    Well, commissioner Pratt, thanks for opening that can of worms. The greedy are already oozing out of their boxes. The county may want to think long and hard about this because there is not going to be another airport in this county.

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  • privateI01

    Chessygirl you live in a fantasy world if you think you are going to get 2 police in the schools.. that would be up to the schools to provide… Not too mention that’s more than are employees than the chesapeake police deptmt employees… All this is is a way for certain people to get what they want and no one on that end.cares about sidewalks…. Not too mention the trustees do a way better job taking care of the roads and anything else that needs done than city council does..just look at 2nd avenue or riverside….. The west end would go to crap and only raise taxes so come on ask the real reason for all this….ohhh and chessygirl my name is shantelle black try using your name

    (Report comment)

  • chesygirl

    I believe this could benefit all of us greatly.I do agree that that airport is quite close to three schools and we all have our children to think about. The sheriffs dept do not responding to calls in a timely manner by any means. and the lady that said the ” people of travelers are good people must be a drug addict herself or their dealer. that place needs condemned. and Jill from Tumble world, why would you want to wait 20 minutes on the sheriffs dept to MAYBE SHOW UP WHEN CHESAPEAKE HAS BEEN THEIR IN 3 MINUTES? That’s real smart. Hope your not getting raped or something right? And I want 2 officers in our children’s schools daily. I care about my kids. I could care less about some stupid “speed trap” Steve Wyant alleges will happen. That’s his tail, I’ll sit on mine! There’s tons of rumors flying around right now but don’t believe it until some facts are out there. that’s crap. don’t break the law. simple. Would you guys rather have the state boys setting out there? Yeah didn’t think so.I want everyone to look at the pro’s and cons and make a decision. Our schools are becoming a dangerous place for our babies to go. I want two officers in all our schools. It’s getting to be a dangerous world we live in. Our children need and deserve protection.It would be a great thing for all of us. And I don’t care about the money issues. I care about our safety, PERIOD. It’s our decision. Think about it . Is $59.00 a year tax increase worth letting our babies get murdered ? U answer that. And Mr. Wyant you were quite blunt about not needing any more protection right? What are you scared of? Are you doing illegal stuff? Sounded guilty to me. But you are just 1 out of 500. I think it will pass. But we all need to do our homework and make a decision. Don’t go by rumors.You go by your gut and the resources that will soon follow.God Bless this great nation we live in.

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  • SARA1

    THE BIGGER PICTURE IS ALCOHOL SALES. ONCE ANNEXED INTO THE VILLAGE, THE AIRPORT BECOMES ITS OWN VOTING ENTITY, DUE TO BEING IN TWO TWNSHP SCHOOL ZONES, LEAVING THE COUNTY COM. TO VOTE ON ALLOWING ALCOHOL SALES AND FURTHERING DEVELOPMENT ON THAT LAND. SO REALLY ITS NOT ABOUT THE POLICE OR THE SNOW REMOVAL, THEY JUST DON’T WANT TO SAY THE WORD ALCOHOL, SO IT DOESN’T SCARE PEOPLE OFF.

    (Report comment)

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