BY STEVE KEMME
The Cincinnati Enquirer
-- Liberty Township officials are fighting efforts by a property owner to have his 18-acre tract annexed by Monroe.
Ed Porginski, of Loveland, wants to build single-family homes on property he owns on the east side of Cincinnati-Dayton Road in Liberty Township.
He told the Butler County commissioners at a public hearing Thursday that Monroe could provide more timely responses to police, fire and medical emergencies than Liberty Township.
Township officials disputed that.
"We think we provide the same, if not better, services," said township Trustee Bob Shelley. "Nothing would be served by annexing this property to Monroe."
The commissioners decided to ask the prosecutor's office for a legal opinion before they make a decision.
Mr. Porginski said his development would be more profitable for him in Monroe because the city's zoning laws allow the residential lots to be smaller than in Liberty Township.
Lots must be at least 20,000 square feet in Liberty, but only 12,000 square feet in Monroe.
Mr. Shelley said the township is willing to try to accommodate Mr. Porginski's needs.
"We're agreeable to whatever is necessary to keep him in Liberty Township," he said.
Township Trustee Sheldon Strand said if the annexation occurs, the Ohio Board of Education might move the property from the Lakota School District to the Middletown School District.
Commissioner Mike Fox said that move could lower property values if the public perception of Lakota is more positive than its perception of Middletown schools.
Mark Florence, attorney for Mr. Porginski, and the property's trustee, Marvin Kleinman, said the annexation application meets all the legal requirements.
"Obviously, Liberty Township doesn't like to lose land," he said.