By Andrea Cordle
The Brown’s Farm development plan and tax increment financing (TIF) agreement received approval from Grove City Council on Aug. 5.
The development plan allows Wilcox Communities to build 110 condominiums on the east side of Haughn Road and more than 200 apartment units on the west side of Haughn Road. The housing units are age-targeted to senior citizens and empty nesters.
The 100 percent, 30-year tax increment financing agreement would address some of the area’s infrastructure needs, according to city officials. Tax increment financing agreements subsidize companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development or pay for infrastructure improvements near the development area. The public infrastructure improvements may include improvements to public roads and water and sewer lines.
The measures were approved despite opposition from some area residents.
“Not one resident has testified in favor of this development,” said David Hellard.
The Orders Road resident said the roads are unsafe and the added traffic generated by the development would not help matters.
According to the development plan, there will be three access points to the homes – one from Haughn Road, one from Orders Road and one from Discovery Drive near the Grove City YMCA and Fryer Park. The access point near the YMCA was a point of concern.
Doug Stickel, director of the Grove City YMCA, said this would bring more congestion to Discovery Drive.
“This is concerning for our members and the community,” said Stickel.
Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage said that access point was chosen because it is an intersection with a traffic signal. He also said there will be improvements made to Discovery Drive.
“We want it to become a street, especially if the YMCA were to expand,” said Stage.
The mayor also said there is developable land to the south so that street would be needed as a connection for future growth. Overall, Stage said, infrastructure needs will be addressed.
“We are going to upgrade Orders Road as part of the TIF package,” said Stage. “We will have a better Haughn Road, a better Orders Road and a better path to the YMCA. There are winners in this.”
According to City Administrator Chuck Boso, the TIF agreement is expected to generate approximately $43 million in seven years. He said the city would receive about $12 million for Orders Road improvements.
Construction on the development is expected to begin in the fall of 2019. Once the TIF funding starts to come in, the infrastructure improvements would begin though that may be a few years down the road.