–by Mike Jones

Sylvania Township trustees have agreed to partner with a group of who has voiced their opposition to the apparent intent of the city of Sylvania to annex several homes in residential subdivisions currently in the township. Residents have appeared at meetings of the trustees as well as city council recently complaining about what they have characterized as a “money grab” by the city. They have said they are very satisfied with government services in the township and do not want to become liable for the 1.5 percent income tax imposed by the city. The resolution by the township placed a cap of $20,000 on its efforts in conjunction with the citizens’ group. It came after a discussion following a motion by trustee John Jennewine that an attorney be hired, with that amount as an upper limit, to explore actions, which could be taken by the township in opposition to any annexation efforts by the city. John Crandall, chairman of the trustees, said there wouldn’t be an issue if residents of an area actively sought to be annexed, but that the trustees strongly oppose the forced annexation, which seems underway. Some property owners said they signed agreements to be annexed some time ago, because it was required in order to get water service to their homes. The issue erupted after the city sent letters to some 100 property owners directing them to sign an annexation petition by Nov. 30. City officials contend those properties have annexation agreements with the city. A number of people have challenged whether there is such an enforceable agreement. The township sent a letter to about 400 residents who may be directly affected by the city’s apparent intentions saying they oppose the action and more recently issued a letter meant more generally to all township residents explaining their opposition. Both letters noted that the recently completed annexation of the Mayberry subdivision cost the township about $50,000 in revenue. Trustee Neal Mahoney noted that the loss of the residential subdivisions, apparently targeted by the city, would deal a more significant loss to the township. It could be, he said, that if the city’s annexation efforts are successful the township may be forced to request additional levy support in order to maintain the current level of service to residents. “This issue affects all township residents,” he said. Subdivisions identified as annexation targets are The Meadows, Parklands, County Walk, Sylvan Hills, Copperwood and Country Walk Circle.

Replacement needed
Karlene Henderson, manager of the Sylvania Township planning and zoning office, announced she is resigning to take a position with the city of Toledo law department. Henderson said the job offer was unexpected and too good for her to turn down. She took the Sylvania Township position last July after serving as the law director for the city of Perrysburg. Prior to that she had been an assistant prosecutor in the Lucas County Prosecutor’s office in the civil division and she had often worked on zoning cases in that job,
Henderson said she has been impressed with the professionalism of those in her office as well as the welcoming attitude and friendliness of others working in the township administration building.
John Zeitler, township administrator, said he would immediately begin a search for a replacement.

Police patrols
At the turn of the year, Sylvania Township police noticed a disturbing trend. There had been burglaries occurring to homes in the area of Sylvania Avenue and McCord Road. Police Chief Paul Long said he determined the department should flood the area with unmarked cars with the idea of keeping eyes open for any unusual activity. He said he knew from experience that the tactic isn’t always successful, but determined that it was worth a try. On Jan. 9, the second night of the operation, police saw a man walking from the commercial area of that intersection and eventually into a subdivision looking at houses. “He would sometimes walk up toward a house but then walk away,” they reported. “Eventually he went between houses and to the rear. Officers at the scene didn’t want to lose sight of him, not knowing where he might go or what he might do, so they decided it was time go after him. One of the officers moved quietly, but he must have been heard because the man took off from a rear porch and over a backyard fence, but he was surrounded and was eventually caught trying to get over another fence.” There was a struggle, but he was quickly under control and arrested. The man was carrying a flashlight and long screwdriver. Using his key fob police located the car he had driven to the area. They also obtained a search warrant for his apartment and for another vehicle. Several items were recovered. “We’ve already been able to return a lot of the stolen property to the victims of the most recent burglaries. We also got a handgun stolen in a burglary in Toledo.” The investigation is continuing, the chief said, but currently, the suspect is going to be charged with at least five township burglaries and two in Toledo. He added that a charge of felon in possession of a firearm has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s office. “They come down hard on that,” he added. The suspect is Robert Winston, 58, of 3611 Douglas Rd. The chief said Winston has seven previous felony convictions, including burglary, robbery and aggravated trafficking, dating back to 1978.