Land battle could stymie project

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — Executives with Windsor House believe a piece of land near state Routes 446 and 62 in Canfield is the perfect spot for their next nursing home.

But the $10 million to $12 million project can’t go anywhere without utilities.

“That is the biggest holdup in this whole development is we need the sewer and water in order to proceed,” said Dan Rowland, director of marketing for Windsor House.

Windsor wants to build on an 18.5-acre site facing Route 446 in Canfield Township. Executives want Mahoning County Commissioners to annex the property into the city of Canfield. The road now separates the two communities.

“They don’t touch, and that’s fundamentally a problem. In order to proceed with an annexation, the property proposed for annexation has to touch the existing corporate line,” said Jim Matthews, an attorney for Canfield Township.

But without the annexation, city leaders won’t provide water sewer and other services. And executives with the company said they cannot go forward with their plans unless they are assured of having the needed utilities.

The debate between the two governments is by no means new and there have been efforts at negotiation in the past.

In August, the same controversy arose when a private entity wanted to build a special needs athletic facility on state Route 46 between the Canfield Fairgrounds and Western Reserve Road. 

“There were numerous discussions between the township and the city, for that very reason, to try and come up with some language for a Joint Economic Development District and they just never went anywhere,” said Canfield City Manager Joe Warino.

Township trustees argue they simply can’t keep giving up property.

“We lose township acreage. When we lose township acreage, we are essentially conceding to the fact that our township is getting smaller and smaller,” said Canfield Trustee Steve Maszczak.

After hearing from all sides, Mahoning County Commissioners, who ultimately have the final say, seemed more interested in having city and township leaders resolve the issue themselves.

Canfield City Councilman Steve Rogers said he believes a resolution is possible, but the entities need to sit down and discuss it.

Late last month, trustees offered to negotiate with city leaders and council members could discuss the idea at their meeting Wednesday night.

Commissioners have 30 days to decide the issue.

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