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November 24, 2014

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Dixie Highway annexation issue "finally" goes to Allen County Commissioners - hearing is Oct. 4

After several technical delays Bluffton's North Dixie Highway annexation has finally landed on the Allen County Commissioner's lap.

The commissioners plan a hearing on the matter at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the third floor of the Allen County Court House.

The annexation process has not be a smooth one due to the techical delays and objections of somes residents in the area under consideration.

The annexation involves 35 parcels of land roughly extending south along the Dixie Highway to and including South Gate Lanes bowling alley on the east. The Basinger residence on the west side represents the final property in the proposal on that side of the Dixie.

Of the 35 parcels of land, which includes some village-owned property, 21 parcel owners signed the annexation petition, according to Jamie Mehaffie, village administrator.

The driving force of the annexation, according to Mehaffie is that the property owners have requested village sewer lines extended to their properties. Up to now, property owners in the North Dixie area have used septic systems, many of which are nearly 50 years old and in need of repair.

Should the annexation be approved, property owners would receive a break in their water rates. Currently they pay "outside" corporation water rates, which are double the inside rates. They will begin paying for sewer and refuse pick-up, as do all village property owners. The properties in the area considering annexation do not pay for sewer fee at the moment because they have septic systems.

Upon hearing the annexation request, the commissioners could make a ruling on Oct. 4, or could wait up to 30 days following the hearing to make a ruling. Should the commissioners approve the annexation request a 30-day waiting period takes affect in the event that the annexation is appealed.

Among other village services those property owners would receive should the annexation be okayed include village police service, in addition to water, sewer and refuse pick up. The village would also plow that portion of the Dixie Highway during the winter.

The benefit of police services will increase the response time of those residents when requesting law enforcement. Presently the Allen County Sheriff Department responds to calls to that area.

Should the annexation be approved the addresses of those residents will remain North Dixie Highway, according to Mehaffie. He told The Icon that the village has no intention of changing those addresses to South Main Street.

The two most recent annexations into the village involved a portion of the Motter farm along South Main Street, and a portion of the Schumacher farm along Augsburger Road. Those two annexations involved undeveloped land.

For previous stories on this annexation project click here.