Thursday, June 14, 2001

Mason gets OK for water tower

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Mason can continue building its $2.5 million, 175-foot water tower in Deerfield Township, a judge ruled Wednesday.

        Warren County Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders dismissed a lawsuit by Deerfield Township trustees and six township property owners. The judge said the trustees cannot require Mason to comply with township zoning laws, or to obtain site plan approval or a conditional use permit.

        He also said deed restrictions - which property owners claimed allowed only residential or agricultural uses - are not enforceable against political subdivisions in Ohio.

        The Ohio Revised Code “makes it absolutely clear that the state legislature did not intend to empower township trustees to regulate, in any fashion, a municipal water supply system,” Judge Fedders said in his ruling.

        “We are disappointed,” said Dan Theno, the township's executive administrator. He said an appeal likely will be filed.

        “This whole case is very disruptive to better relations between Mason and Deerfield, and it's unfortunate that Mason decided to build a water tower in our community without consulting with us and without our permission,” he said.

        Mason Assistant City Manager Eric Hansen said, “We've been confident throughout the process that the court would uphold our right to serve our residents with water service.”


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