NEWARK — Village attorney Art Williams calls it “an anomaly.”
The home, owned by Katie Villani, sits nestled among the rolling hillocks along Clark Road. Not far down the road is Way-Ont Saddle Club and vast acreage of Elvi Farms. The six-acre plot of land is about a mile down Route 88 outside village limits, in the rural setting of the town of Arcadia, and yet it is considered part of the village of Newark.
“If you look left or right, either way, everybody else is town,” Villani said. “It’s so odd. It’s just like an island carved out of the town. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Villani purchased the property about two years ago from her neighbors. It wasn’t until she got the survey map back that she realized she had purchased a village property in the middle of town — something Villani would like to see changed. The home at 6007 Clark Road was owned by the Johnson family and used in part as a dentist’s office. Before that, it served as a place of worship for the Calvary Baptist Church of Newark. Villani said prior to that she believes it was simply a home.
Just how the property became a disconnected part of the village is unknown. Villani said the village has an easement along her driveway, Calvary Lane, to reach the village water tower that sits in a wooded area at the back of her property, but the tower doesn’t justify the need to incorporate six acres as part of the village. Village Attorney Williams believes it was most likely an annexation agreed upon by town and village, but village officials can find no record to answer the when or why of the matter.
In the meantime, Villani said she pays village taxes, but is denied the services typically afforded a village resident. Newark residents receive water and sewer services, sidewalks, street lighting and police and fire protection for living within village limits, Mayor Peter Blandino said.
“I’m not sure what we’re paying for,” Villani said, noting her village taxes for the property total around $2,000 a year.
Villani, a municipal attorney herself, is requesting the property be returned to the town, but the matter is not an easy one. The Village Board cannot make the final decision. Instead it is up to village voters. Villani petitioned the village in June, asking to be placed on the ballot in November. The proposition will ask voters to allow the property to be removed from the village tax rolls. As there are no local officials up for re-election, village voters will still be called on to select a county sheriff and county clerk — and the proposition. Villani is hopeful registered voters will see the logic in her request.
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