Board hears Carriage Trails update

By Cecilia Fox -

BETHEL TWP. — On Tuesday, the Bethel school board heard an update from the developer of Carriage Trails subdivision, which is continuing to grow and bring new students to the district.

Developer Bill Keethler said the development is one of the most in demand subdivisions in southwest Ohio. So far in 2018, the development has sold 66 lots.

“Which is our most sales ever,” Keethler said of the number to date. “It continues to be very strong, the economy is strong.”

According to Keethler, the subdivision is about two-thirds built, with 881 lots developed and 810 sold. There are 742 occupied homes in the subdivision and 71 lots in inventory. At any time, he said, there are 50-70 homes under construction. The development also has multifamily and senior housing.

In 2018, the development plan includes 120-130 lots, Keethler told the board.

“That’s about how many we’re selling per year,” he said. “It’s probably the No. 1 subdivision in southwest Ohio — and we think in Ohio. I haven’t seen any more that have been that strong.”

Keethler called it the most active subdivision he’s ever been a part of in his career.

The development is set to have a total of 1,300 single family and 800 multi-family units when complete.

“Carriage Trails is going add 950 students to the school district,” Keethler said, citing a study made for the development.

Superintendent Ginny Potter noted that the district’s student population has grown rapidly in the last few years. She said that enrollment was about 940 students when she joined the district in 2014 and is now around 1,450.

Keethler acknowledged that student population grows faster than funding can be secured or new schools can be built.

He told the board that there are currently 120 lots that are not yet on the tax duplicate, which affects the property tax collected for the schools. He added that it typically takes six to eight months for those properties to appear on the tax duplicate.

“We’re estimating $1.9 million that will come to you guys. That should hit this year,” he told the board. “Roughly about $500,000 to $600,000 will drop in each year in growth, in terms of your revenue… When it’s fully built out, it’ll be about $6.2 million that you will receive.”

Keethler said the development has a non-school tax increment finance (TIF) plan; a tax abatement plan that ensures the schools will receive the full property tax amount that is due to them as properties are developed.

By Cecilia Fox

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Reach Cecilia Fox at