Thursday, December 19, 2002

Warren board OKs subdivision

No right to block new homes, prosecutors warn

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - Under threat of litigation, Warren County commissioners reversed course and approved the layout of a new Hamilton Township subdivision in an emergency session Wednesday.

"Under what I'm hearing today, we might as well not have county commissioners because we have no authority," Commissioner Mike Kilburn said after a closed-door session with prosecutors. "When it comes down to the important things, like another 800-home subdivision in a place where we don't need another 800-home subdivision, we don't have any discretion."

Mr. Kilburn and fellow Commissioner Larry Crisenbery refused Tuesday to approve a 58-lot plat, or layout, for section five of the 877-home Regency Park subdivision in Hamilton Township. The lots cannot be recorded without commissioners' signatures, according to the county's subdivision regulations, and until they're recorded they cannot be built upon or sold.

But Assistant Prosecutor Bruce McGary told commissioners they have no discretion over signing the plats because the township approved the zoning and the Regional Planning Commission ruled that the plat met subdivision regulations.

The commissioners' emergency meeting came after Joe Trauth, a Cincinnati attorney representing MI Homes, sent prosecutors a letter Wednesday morning threatening a lawsuit against the county commission and Mr. Kilburn and Mr. Crisenbery individually.

"Not signing (the plat) was a defiant act above and beyond the scope of their duties which could subject them to personal liability," Mr. Trauth said.

Pat South, the only commissioner who voted to sign the plat Tuesday, said Wednesday the board should work with local communities to control growth: "We can't change rules midstream."

Mr. Kilburn and Mr. Crisenbery said their motive in initially refusing to approve the plat was to slow the buildup of Ohio's second-fastest-growing county.

"I just hope the Hamilton Township trustees realize what they're doing with all these lots," Mr. Crisenbery said. "They're different from Deerfield Township in one way, and that's that (Hamilton) doesn't have any tax base."

Hamilton Township Trustee Clyde Baston, however, said Mr. Kilburn was targeting home builders because they backed his challenger in the Nov. 5 election.

Even after meeting with prosecutors, Mr. Kilburn agreed to the Regency Park plat and another for Wayne Township with great reluctance.

"I guess, `yes,' " he said when it was his turn. "I don't want to go to jail.

"Not this close to Christmas," he said after a pause. "I haven't even got my Christmas shopping done yet."


Council rejects a police contract
Fifth Third account appeared to be Florence's
5 accused priests face administrative action

City seeks focus on growing
'Jock tax' balances budget
Group lends its voice to development resisters
Cincinnati spars with county over bus system
Man dies after head-on car collision
2 private schools name new leaders
Tristate A.M. Report

PULFER: Judge Ann Marie Tracey
HOWARD: Some Good News

Couple charged in thefts of horses
Warren board OKs subdivision
Man indicted in Nov. attack
Clermont Co. approves '03 budget
Superintendent: Bond issue is possible to fund Kings schools' campus renovations
Judge scolds treasurer at sentencing for shifting blame
Park-ride gets short-term reprieve

Court: Parole dates must be tied only to convictions
Drug-test law is unconstitutional, court rules
Bunning named to powerful tax panel
Family connection runs deep
Cars safer than ditches in tornadoes, study says
Justice Resnick urges amending Constitution

Housing growth again puts squeeze on Boone schools
Ky. raises homestead exemption for 2 years
Nunn jumps into governor race
Jan. 28 election set for Mongiardo seat
Kentucky News Briefs