SCOUT SOARS B1 Boy Scout Troop 867 recently built a gazebo for Beech Acres Park, earning troop member Matthew Herndon an Eagle Scout ranking. Feedback sought MT. WASHINGTON — The Community Council will seek feedback from residents on what neighborhood projects to fund during its upcoming meeting. Council will meet 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the Mt. Washington Recreation Center, 1715 Beacon St. Council recently approved a list of items for Neighborhood Support Program funding. This funding comes from the city of Cincinnati and goes toward community projects. Full story, A2 Role questioned NEWTOWN — The Little Miami Joint Fire and Rescue District continues work to obtain a grant for its parking lot at the Newtown fire station, as Newtown officials question the village’s role in the project. The Fire District is waiting for approval of a $200,000 grant from Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments for a bike staging area at the Newtown fire station, 7036 Main St. The bike staging area, a motorized vehicle parking area for those visiting the nearby bike trails, has already been built into the site. Mayor Curt Cosby suggested to Councilman Mark Kobasuk, who's a member of the Fire Board, that the Fire District should present a plan to the village Planning Commission. He said the project is sure to involve the village in some way, since the trails that would connect to the staging area would have to go through Newtown property. Full story, A4 Valuable lesson Valentine’s Day brings back memories of Rita Heikenfeld’s first real box of candy. Her boyfriend, Jim, came with two velvet heart-shaped boxes of Brach’s candy from the corner drug store. One was for her and the other for her mom. She learned a valuable lesson: Valentine’s Day isn’t just for sweethearts! Full story, B3 Contact us News ..........................248-8600 Retail advertising ..............768-8196 Classified advertising .........242-4000 Delivery ........................576-8240 See page A2 for additional information Vol. 51 No. 44 © 2012 The Community Press ALL RIGHTS RESERVED FOREST HILLS JOURNAL WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2012 Your Community Press newspaper serving Anderson Township, California, Mount Washington, Newtown 50¢ BECAUSE COMMUNITY MATTERS Anderson Twp. opposes Newtown’s annexation By Lisa Wakeland email@example.com Anderson Township officials are opposing Newtown’s planned annexation of land along the Little Miami River. Newtown Village Council recently approved the annexation of 233 acres of land that would allow the village to incorporate the property and collect income tax from employees of several busiEarhart nesses along Wooster Pike in Columbia Township. The 233-acre property includes the Hamilton County Park District’s Little Miami Golf Center and Bass Island Park on the south side of the Little Miami River and Hahana Beach, 7605 Wooster Pike, and the former Heritage Restaurant, 7664 Wooster Pike, on the north side of the river. Most of the acreage Newtown annexed is owned by the Hamilton County Park District and lies in Anderson Township. The village also annexed property owned by Little Miami Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the Little Miami River, TD Management and Bob Slattery, who owns the Hahana Beach restaurant and sand volleyball facility as well as the former Heritage Restaurant, which he plans to convert to a microbrewery. This was a type 2 expedited annexation, which requires 100 percent of the property owners to agree to the proposed annexation. However, the Hamilton County Park District is a political subdivision and is not considered an owner in the type 2 annexation. Rules for the other two types of annexation allow political subdivisions to be considered property owners and have a voice in the annexation proposal, said Anderson Township Administrator Vicky Earhart. “Any municipality can only annex property that has a contiguous border, and the only way (Newtown) can do it is by taking publicly owned land in Anderson,” she said. “That’s why the laws are so egregious. By taking publicly owned land, they can get to Columbia Township businesses.” Newtown recently annexed the Little Miami Golf Center property, along with land along the Little Miami River and businesses in Columbia Township on Wooster Pike. The golf course land is owned by the Hamilton County Park District and located in Anderson Township. LISA WAKELAND/THE COMMUNITY PRESS Newtown approached the Hamilton County Park District about the annexation petition in April 2011, and, after some discussion, the Board of Park Commissioners declined the invitation to be annexed, said Jack Sutton, the Park District’s executive director. One of the main concerns, Sutton said, was that Newtown’s income tax would now affect employees who work at the Little Miami Golf Center. In Ohio, townships do not have the ability to collect income taxes. “Being annexed by Newtown offers no direct advantages or disadvantages to the Hamilton County Park District,” he said. “With this type of annexation (the Park District) really doesn’t have a voice in it and there is really nothing the Park District can do about it.” Because the Park District is tax exempt, Earhart said the annexation will not impact Anderson Township’s property taxes, but it does take a significant amount of acreage. It also opens up a new area of Anderson Township to potential annexation because Newtown will have contiguity to other property in Anderson Township, Earhart said. Columbia Township officials also are strongly opposed to Newtown’s annexation actions and reject the “trampling of property rights of township and Hamilton County taxpayers through a loophole in the law for self-serving interests.” Slattery approached Newtown about the annexation and, because it was a type 2 expedited annexation, his properties will remain in Columbia Township. The village, which will receive earnings and income taxes from Slattery’s property being annexed, will provide services to the properties. Slattery has said this will allow his properties to get better “hands-on” services like police protection and maintenance while still paying property taxes on his land and buildings to Columbia Township and the Mariemont City Schools. Both Columbia Township and Newtown are part of the Little Miami Joint Fire and Rescue District, but Newtown has its own police department and Columbia Township receives policing services from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Newtown also has an agreement with Little Miami Inc. for the property annexation that states both entities will cooperate in opposing the construction of any new divided highways within the village between the existing state Route 32 and the Little Miami River. The village has long been opposed the Eastern Corridor project, which is geared toward im- proving the transportation infrastructure between downtown Cincinnati and western Clermont County. Maps for the Eastern Corridor project show a new highway corridor through the center of Newtown. Officials from both townships have reached out to Little Miami Inc. about the annexation, but claim they have received little communication in return. Representatives from Little Miami Inc. were unable to be reached for comment. Newtown released its own statement on the annexation, outlining its reasons for making the move. The statement notes that Slattery approached the village about annexing his properties along Wooster Pike and that Little Miami Inc. joined the petition because it “determined that being in the village provided unique opportunities to protect the river.” Newtown’s statement says the village considered the interests of neighboring jurisdictions before making the move to annex along state Route 50, which is why it chose to uses an expedited type 2 annexation. This type of annexation allows those properties to remain in their current jurisdictions while also paying income taxes and receiving services from Newtown. Rob Dowdy contributed to this story. Residents address crime concerns By Lisa Wakeland firstname.lastname@example.org Another Anderson Township street is joining the growing list of neighborhood watches in the community. Residents of Crotty Court, behind Anderson Towne Center, recently gathered for the first meeting to learn about keeping their street safe. The initiative to expand the neighborhood watch began last November after several Crotty Court property owners complained to Anderson Township trustees about crime they attributed to the high density of public housing on the street. The Cincinnati Metropolition Housing Authority owns a 14-unit apartment building and a smaller, multiunit building on Crotty Court. Lt. Mike Hartzler, District 5 Commander of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, said there was a problem on Crotty Court with drugs, but the housing authority evicted the juvenile associated with those crimes. And recently, the crime on the street is not as bad as it used to be, he said. He emphasized the important role that getting to know many of your neighbors, including those who live in the public housing apartments, plays in keeping crime down. “We need to be able to work together, which is what the philosophy behind the block watch is,” Hartzler said. “Just because someone lives (in public housing) doesn’t mean they’re not decent people and they’re not trying. They’re just as interested in keeping (the street) safe.” Tina Connors, who lives in the condominiums next to the large public housing apartments, said she was glad to see so many other neighbors interested in Crotty Court joining the block watch group and she often felt like the “lone ranger” when she voiced her concerns about possible crimes happening on the street. Dawn Carman, who also lives on Crotty Court, said at the meeting that she used to be afraid to call the police for suspicious activity because she felt like she was bothering the deputies. “We can’t ignore (the public housing tenants) because of their circumstances,” she said.