Kent officially rejected a farmer’s bid to detach land and join Franklin Township

The red line divides Kent to the south and Franklin Township to the north. Residents of the development to the south of the pond opposed the landowner's detachment petition. Google Maps

Kent City Council on May 17 officially denied local farmer Eric Kolb’s request to detach his land from the city, with only Council Member John Kuhar dissenting.

Elected officials had previously rejected the request in committee.

Kolb owns acreage in both Kent and Franklin Township. His goal was to reconfigure his boundaries so that all his land would be in Franklin Township.

“I felt he had the right to consolidate his land back to Franklin Township,” Kuhar said after the meeting. “I can’t see where he’d be bothering someone by doing it.”

Kuhar noted that Kolb’s neighbors, many of whom had opposed the detachment plan, were afraid of what he might do with the land. The township, though, has rules as well as the city does, and some of them are stricter than Kent’s, Kuhar said.

Kolb bought the land at auction, believing it was all in Franklin Township, only to discover that 38 acres were in Kent, which had previously annexed it to accommodate a builder whose plans never came to fruition. About 10 acres were eventually developed into the Forest Lake subdivision just east of Stow on Fairchild Avenue.

Kolb’s land remained part of Kent even though a sign before Kolb’s Johnson Road driveway welcomes people to Franklin Township and he has no access to Kent utilities.

Kuhar said the bulk of Kolb’s land is not easily buildable, being mostly muck on a designated flood plain. Formerly agricultural, it used to be the Lappin Farm, a place where kids made pocket money by weeding celery and corn.

Kent Community Development Director Bridget Susel has stated that Kolb has the right to take his detachment bid to Portage County Common Pleas Court.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.