On the ballot in November is the question to elect whether Monclova Township should become a Limited Home Rule (“LHR”) Township. This opportunity affords Monclova residents protection they currently don’t enjoy.

Currently, the township has limited authority provided to us by the state legislation. LHR will allow for “more tools in our tool belt” by giving a township authority like a municipality’s authority, though not as extensive. Adopting LHR allows the township more options to regulate the health, safety, and welfare and more tools to enforce those regulations. For example, LHR townships commonly use this broader authority to regulate noise and nuisances or to impose a leash law. Thirty-three of Ohio’s 1,308 townships have adopted the LHR form of government.

LHR townships are prohibited from using its authority to establish regulations affecting hunting or fishing; alter the township’s authority regarding agriculture or natural resources; nor can LHR townships establish regulations affecting the possession, use, or sale of firearms. And LHR does not affect taxes in any way!

Ohio law allows LHR townships other specified authority, including:

  • Authority to incur a higher percentage of net indebtedness (10.5% instead of 5%).
  • Authority to supply water and sewer services to users within the unincorporated area of the township.
  • Authority to adopt emergency resolutions that take effect immediately.
  • Citizens of a limited home rule township have general authority to file initiative and referendum petitions.
  • Authority to adopt building codes and other state codes, standard codes, or model codes. A limited home rule township cannot establish its own code or standard and cannot revise a state code or a model or standard code. The township only has authority to adopt (and enforce) a code promulgated by the state or by a public or private organization that publishes a model or standard code (e.g., plumbing code).
  • Authority to adopt standards regarding soil erosion and water degradation from nonfarm development.
  • Authority to hire an engineer to oversee the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, or improvement of township roads.

LHR townships may exercise the above authority by means of adopting and enforcing resolutions, but those resolutions generally cannot create a criminal offense or impose a criminal penalty. Instead, limited home rule townships may enforce their resolutions by imposing civil fines not exceeding $1,000.00.

A limited home rule township is required to provide police services to the township, either by utilizing township constables, contracting with another political subdivision, or establishing a police district

or joint police district. These peace officers enforce the township’s resolutions by issuing citations for violations, and such resolutions are codified. Enforcement can be accomplished at Fiscal Officer hearings and prosecuted at the local municipal court level.

For more information on Limited Home Rule Townships, visit:

Ohio Legislative Service website:
https://www.lsc.ohio.gov/assets/organizations/legislative-service-commission/files/members-briefs-volume-134-limited-home-rule-townships.pdf

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