Friday, February 08, 2002

Site for hospital location rejected

Turtlecreek trustee won't pursue annexing

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        TURTLECREEK TOWNSHIP — The township has broken off negotiations to allow Middletown to annex a proposed hospital site here after two Warren County commissioners indicated they would not support a deal, Turtlecreek Trustee Dan George said Thursday.

    • What: Turtlecreek Township trustees meeting.
    • When: 7 p.m. Monday.
    • Where: 1433 W. Ohio 63.
        “We don't have the support to do this, I feel personally, from the citizens that live in the area or the county commissioners,” Mr. George said, declining to say which commissioners he had spoken with.

        Middletown Regional Hospital, an 84-year landmark in the Butler County city, wants to move to Greentree and Union roads in rural Warren County. Some neighbors of the Turtlecreek site have objected to both the plan itself and the hospital's insistence on Middletown annexation.

        Under Ohio law, commissioners rule on annexations in a quasi-judicial manner. Thus, it's “legally impermissible” for them to pre-judgment a proposed annexation, said Richard Brahm, a Columbus-based attorney for Middletown.

        Commissioner Larry Crisenbery said he talked to Mr. George but had no further comment. Both Pat South and Mike Kilburn denied telling Mr. George they would not support a compromise.

        “If the township struck a deal and came to me as a commissioner and asked me to support it, ... I would support them in that,” Mrs. South said.

        Mr. George met last week with Middletown Mayor David Schiavone to outline terms under which trustees might let the city annex township territory. They include a revenue-sharing agreement and a guarantee of no further annexations.

        The hospital might be able to move to Greentree without annexation, but Middletown would lose its second-largest employer, and Middletown Regional might have to seek rezoning from Warren County.

        Mrs. South has said she'd rather see the hospital locate at the Ohio 122 exit of Interstate 75, just to the north of the proposed site.

        Mr. George expressed frustration Thursday that neither Turtlecreek neighbors nor Middletown Regional officials have been willing to compromise.

        “The hospital wants what it wants, and it won't even talk about moving to 122,” he said. “We want to take a step back and let the sparks fly as they may.”


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