Village, schools discuss development


By Cecilia Fox - cfox@civitasmedia.com



WEST MILTON — On Friday afternoon, representatives from the village of West Milton and the Milton-Union school district met to discuss the proposed residential and commercial development, Stillwater Crossing.

Both groups will host an open community meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, in the Elementary School gymnasium to further discuss the project and share information with village and township residents.

The development would include a Randall House assisted living facility and senior cottages, commercial spaces, and 132 single-family homes.

Stillwater Crossing, which would be located south of the Stillwater Golf Course on state Route 571 and Iddings Road,would require an estimated $12-15 million in infrastructure construction and improvements, including fiber optics, roads, and sewer systems.

The developer, Equity Inc. of Columbus, is expected to invest between $60 million to $70 million in the project. The village is considering paying for the construction of a new pump station and water tower at a cost of $1.7 million.

The 98-acre property must be rezoned and the tax increment financing (TIF) plan finalized before April 29 in order for the developer to move forward with the purchase, Municipal Manager Matt Kline said.

Under a TIF, new property taxes generated go into a fund to pay back the property owner for public improvements over a period of years.

Kline said the development is necessary for the economic health of the community.

“Nobody wants to ask for more taxes. And what we’ve been doing is cutting. We can’t tax our way to prosperity and we can’t cut our way to prosperity,” Kline said.

The development is estimated to create more than 200 new jobs and bring in new businesses including a gas station and car wash, a coffee shop, and possibly a medical facility. Kline said that the village has talked to representatives from Kettering Hospital.

He added that there would be no duplicates of other local businesses permitted in the new development, like a pharmacy or hardware store.

“The developer is absolutely committed, and so are we, to not cannibalize any of our current businesses, meaning there’s not going to be another Subway, there’s not going to be another Dollar General,” Kline said.

Members of the school board expressed concerns about the number of new students a housing development could bring to the district, something they explained could drive expenses up by requiring the addition of new staff members, among other costs.

Before committing to moving forward with the project, school officials asked for more information, including estimates on the number of students that could move into the district, and called for at least one meeting with the public.

Board member Sam Huffman noted that the district will likely be seeking approval for another levy in the next 18 months. If the project proceeds without any community involvement, it could hurt the district’s chances of passing levies in the future, he said.

By Cecilia Fox

cfox@civitasmedia.com

Reach Cecilia Fox at cfox@civitasmedia.com.

Reach Cecilia Fox at cfox@civitasmedia.com.

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