Annexation to north of Lisbon broached

LISBON – The subject of annexing the area north of town into Lisbon came up at this week’s meeting of Village Council.

The subject was raised by village zoning/building inspector John Yenges, who said he wanted to bring it up after reading recent news stories about possible commercial development occurring near the McDonald’s restaurant on state Route 45.

Yenges remembered another news story he read about an Oregon city that is seeking the forced annexation of an area after property owners reneged on a pledge to be annexed into town in exchange for municipal water and sewer services. This was done after a judge ruled the city was within its rights to shut off utilities to the area since the property owners were in violation of the annexation agreement.

Yenges wondered if the village could do the same with the commercial area located just north of town along Route 45 in Center Township, which could grow because of the oil and gas boom under way in the county.

“There’s a lot of activity north of Lisbon,” he said. “I don’t know if you want to consider (annexation) again. I know it’s a touchy issue.”

Other village officials who go back longer than Yenges said the circumstances are different than in the Oregon case he cited. When the decision was made 30 years ago to extend Lisbon utility service to the Route 45 area it was done without requiring the property to be annexed in return.

“In that case you referred to, they signed an annexation agreement … We don’t have any annexation agreement” with those property owners, village Solicitor Virginia Barborak pointed out.

Council attempted to address what is now considered a major blunder by passing a law in the 1990s prohibiting any further extension of water and sewer service into the township unless the property owners agreed to be annexed into the village. Council repealed the law several years ago.

“We should never have done what we did,” said Council President Roger Gallo, referring to the village’s initial failure to require annexation in exchange for water and sewer service.

Barborak indicated council can change its mind again and reinstate the old law requiring annexation, which is something they may want to consider “as the area north of town continues to grow.”