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Growing Towns
Photo: Nick Kosan
The process of growth challenges cities and communities on different levels. Some have increasing population but a limited amount of land. Other areas look forward to the shared infrastructure such as public sewer.

Expansion of cities happens when there is rapid increase in population. As farms are purchased by developers, the resulting subdivisions require public services such as roads, schools, and water lines. As homeowners increase their requests for services, city governments discuss how to expand, especially how to pay for the increased services.

The city of Loveland, Ohio, provides a case study of the process known as annexation. The August 6, 2006, edition of the Enquirer (Cincinnati) featured this dilemma in a feature titled, “Township faces a divided front—as Loveland expands north many debate annexing land.” 1 The opening paragraphs by reporter Jessica Brown lay out the debate.

“Most people in southern Hamilton Township have Loveland mailing addresses. But within 20 years they many have more of a connection to Loveland than that.

“The properties of more than 300 Hamilton Township residents lie within what Loveland envisions as its future city limits. City officials say Loveland will grow northward, eventually engulfing about 2,000 acres of Hamilton Township through annexation—the process by which a property owner seeks to have his or her property transferred into the city.

“Annexation battles have taken place in many Greater Cincinnati communities.”

Growing Pains

The article describes the discussions that are taking place as the population grows rapidly in rural Warren County. The need for public sewers is driving this particular battle. As farms are sold to developers, more requests are being submitted for annexation. Planners for Loveland have prioritized areas for possible annexation, in part because properties are directly adjacent to Loveland city limits.

Hamilton Township trustees are concerned about losing properties to Loveland since the township’s tax base would decrease even though there would be an increase in traffic and need for emergency services.

Think about how your community has grown and the issues that have dominated such transitions.

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1 Cincinnati Enquirer website: www.enquirer.com

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