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Mahoning commissioners weigh Canfield annexation

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners took under advisement the matter of annexing 18.6 acres from Canfield Township to the city of Canfield to facilitate development of a Windsor House nursing home.

As the commissioners prepare to make their decision within the next 30 days, Canfield City Council plans to discuss the matter at its meeting at 6 p.m. today, according to Mayor Bernie Kosar Sr.

Dan Rowland, marketing director of the Girard-based Windsor House nursing home and assisted-living chain, said the proposed $10 million to $12 million nursing home would contain 60,000 to 65,000 square feet and 70 private rooms and create at least 70 full-time jobs.

“Canfield Acres will be the flagship building for Windsor House and will be the nicest nursing home in the Mahoning Valley, if not in the state of Ohio,” he told the commissioners at Tuesday’s public meeting at the township hall.

The site is bounded on the north by state Route 446 and on the east, south and west by the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm.

City Manager Joe Warino said council’s discussion of Windsor House’s annexation request may occur in executive session because it concerns legal matters.

The township has drafted a proposed contract between the city and the township concerning tax revenue-sharing and services to be provided to the proposed nursing home.

In informal discussions, council members have reacted unfavorably to that proposed agreement, Warino said.

The city would provide police protection, road maintenance and water supply and sanitary-sewer service to the 18.6-acre site under that proposal, and the township would pay half the cost of fire protection from the Cardinal Joint Fire District, Warino said.

Under that proposed agreement, the acreage would become part of the city but still subject to the township’s real-estate taxes; and the city and the township would share equally in the 1 percent city income tax to be paid by nursing-home employees.

“That didn’t seem like a fair deal to the city,” Warino said.

“There is, indeed, room for negotiation,” said Jim Mathews, the township’s lawyer.

Warino said the city is in favor of the annexation, and city policy is to provide water and sewer service to a site only if it is annexed to the city.

John Daliman, Windsor’s corporate counsel, said the Ohio Department of Health would approve construction of the nursing home only if water and sewer service are available to the site.

Mathews said the township has been objecting to the annexation because it believes the nursing home is incompatible with the surrounding single-family residential land use.

A nearby homeowner, Bill Arnaut, of Youngstown-Salem Road in the township, said he is “totally against” the annexation because he believes the proposed nursing home would bring excessive traffic to the area.

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said she hopes the city and township can come to an agreement that would allow both to benefit from the economic development that would result from the nursing home’s construction.

David Ditzler, chairman of the commissioners, said Windsor House has a good reputation, but the commissioners’ responsibility is to protect the interests of local residents.