Union Township neighbors fight back against development with petition drive

    Neighbors in Union Township are fighting back against a development that just got the green light from township trustees. (WKRC)

    UNION TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) - Neighbors in Union Township are fighting back against a development that just got the green light from township trustees. They’re hoping a new petition drive will force a reversal of the trustees’ decision to build the multi-million-dollar Miller Place development on Rumpke Road.

    "Having the increase in number will drastically increase water runoff, storm problems,” said petition signer Stephanie Carlson. “The traffic on Old 74 in the evenings around 4, 5, 6 is already horrendous, and I think all those things are just going to increase.”

    In October, township trustees unanimously approved the Miller Place development. It’s slated to bring 1,445 new homes to 271 acres on Rumpke Road. Twenty years ago, a federal consent decree said only 545 homes could be built on that land unless township trustees changed the plan. They did.

    “I would hope that the township would reverse the decision and go back to the original plan,” said Carlson.

    So does Bill Hopple with the Cincinnati Nature Center.

    “We believe there's a potential for significant negative impact on both the nature center property due to the density of the development that they have approved, and we are also in support of the community that the traffic will be excessive,” said Hopple.

    While petition-signers are hoping for a ballot referendum, the nature center filed suit in Clermont County court claiming the trustees’ actions were illegal.

    But township administrator Ken Geis pushes back on that claim in a statement to Local 12 saying: "The board of trustees followed the direction of the consent decree relative to this matter."

    “If it needs to go to the ballot, I would hope that the residents of Union Township would actually get a say as to what happens in their township,” said Carlson.

    Local 12 reached out to all three township trustees. Robert McGee and Matthew Beamer did not return emails requesting comment. John McGraw declined to comment, citing the lawsuit.

    In the past, trustees have said the development will be beneficial to the township because it will bring road improvements and a park.

    The petition signatures have been turned in to township officials. Under Ohio law, the township has 10 days to turn the petitions into the Board of Elections, but the township fiscal officer can also reject the validity of the referendum.

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