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Medina Township residents raise concerns over Peoria’s potential annexation of two properties

The Peoria City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on an agreement on a potential future annexation of two properties totaling 90 acres along Cedar Hills Drive near Singing Woods Road.
Peoria County
Peoria City Council agenda
The Peoria City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on an agreement on a potential future annexation of two properties totaling 90 acres along Cedar Hills Drive near Singing Woods Road.

Some Medina Township residents are opposed to an annexation agreement that will come before the Peoria City Council during Tuesday’s meeting.

Land owner Chad Herman of Fenceline Properties wants to subdivide two parcels totaling 90 acres along Cedar Hills Drive near Singing Woods Road into four lots for development of single-family homes.

Because the land is within Peoria’s 1½-mile extra-territorial jurisdiction provided under Illinois law, city ordinance calls for an annexation agreement for any land divisions resulting in lots smaller than 40 acres without connection to the public sanitary sewer system.

“Within that mile and a half extraterritorial jurisdiction, if somebody wants to subdivide their property, the city can require them to hook up to public sewer or public water if they want to, because we want to try and continue to have orderly development, orderly growth,” said City Manager Patrick Urich.

“Our ordinance states that if you don't want to hook up to public water and public sewer, then we require an annexation agreement that says, if at any time the city of Peoria abuts your property, then you will come into the city of Peoria.”

A public hearing on the annexation and a vote on the agreement are on the agenda for Tuesday’s Peoria City Council meeting beginning at 6 p.m.

Rick Schotthofer is among the residents in the vicinity who opposes possible city encroachment on unincorporated parts of Peoria County.

“There are concerns about further annexations going on and hurting our revenue base out here,” said Schotthofer, the Medina Township member of the Peoria County Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors. “The people are basically saying they moved to the county to be in the county, and they do not want to be part of the city.”

Since the land in question is not currently contiguous with Peoria city limits, any annexation would only happen if the strip of township-owned land in between – often called the “Medina Wall” – somehow becomes city property within the next two decades.

“There's been a lot of community chatter that the city is undertaking some sort of ‘land grab,’ and that's just not the truth,” said Urich. “This is a property owner that wants to split his properties (and) in order for us to do that, we require an annexation agreement (and) we're within our rights under Illinois law to do so.

“If we ever abut the property, it would come into the city in the next 20 years. If we never do, it never will.”

Schotthofer was among several residents who objected to the annexation at the Feb. 2 meeting of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, raising concerns about the land being in a flood plain, hunting being allowed on the property and the idea of housing developments without sewage access.

Others voicing objections included Peoria County Board Member Brian Elsasser and former Medina Township trustee and Chillicothe Park District president Mike Krost. Elsasser and Medina Township Road Commissioner W. Franklin Sturm II have sent letters to the City Council members urging them to vote down the agreement.

“We're trying to figure out what the benefit is to the city to annex this property or have a pre-annexation agreement at all. What's the benefit to the developer? Nobody has been able to tell us what the benefit is to the to the developer,” said Krost, noting about 200 people who live near the area have signed a petition against the annexation.

“We'd be 10 miles from City Hall; that's a pretty good distance. The roads, the infrastructure to make this up to par to city standards would be a challenge. Police and fire protection would be a challenge for them out this far. In our mind, there’s just no advantage to it.”

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.