MOUNT VERNON — Development and zoning took up much of the agenda for Monday’s city council and committee meetings.

Council members waived the three readings and adopted an ordinance accepting a petition to create a New Community Authority. An NCA is an economic tool that designates who pays for the infrastructure needed to accommodate growth.

Under an NCA, property being developed is assessed a fee on top of regular taxes. Typically, the fee is based on millage or a set dollar amount each year. Property can be a single parcel or a 1,000-acre development.

The fee applies only to those properties under an NCA. It does not apply to existing developed parcels. Fees go into a special account and can be used for new growth-related infrastructure such as water or sewer lines, road improvements, or a new fire station.

The city cannot use the money for maintenance of current infrastructure.

“It allows the city to get money for things that growth is creating,” Law Director Rob Broeren said.

Citing a turn lane into a new development as an example, Broeren said, “We can assess a certain amount of millage to get that new development to pay for that turn lane rather than it coming out of the general fund or one of the other restricted funds.

“Because this new development required that, they should pay for it.”

Area Development Foundation President Jeff Gottke told council to think of an NCA as a publically run homeowners association.

“Normally when these things are formed, there’s a developer that petitions to create the authority. In our case, the city is the developer because you are committing to putting in the first piece of land,” he said.

Gottke said that Highland Real Estate, the developer of Liberty Crossing on State Route 13, has committed to joining the NCA.

The city can also require future developers to join the NCA.

“Part of what this does is it offsets development cost and keeps the cost of the homes lower,” Mayor Matt Starr said. “They’re going to have to recoup their cost one way or another. If we can offset some of that cost with additional millage that’s going to be paid over a series of years …”

“If we require the developer to pay it all up front, that would raise the cost of all of the units,” Broeren said. “By assessing it to the units to be paid out over a series of years, it cuts down on the big upfront cost.”

Monday’s action accepted the petition to create the NCA. At council’s June 26 meeting, council will consider legislation that vets the developer in terms of business acumen and financial ability to complete a project.

“Again, that’s you, so all you’re doing is declaring yourselves sufficient to be a developer,” Gottke told council.

Adopting the legislation declaring the city is sufficient starts a 30-day clock for a public hearing. Council plans to hold a public hearing at its July 24 meeting and give a first reading to legislation that actually creates the NCA.

Council has the option to pass the legislation on its first reading or carry it through to a second or third reading.

Ten days after council creates the NCA, council must appoint members to a board that will oversee the NCA.

Related to zoning, council held a public hearing on rezoning 301-303 N. Norton St. from R-1 residential to PCDD (planned commercial development district). No community members attended the hearing.

Residential is a conditional use under PCDD. The Knox County Land Bank requested the change to accommodate an eight-unit apartment complex the Ohio Area on Aging proposes to build on the parcels.

Sam Filkins, vice president of the land bank and ADF, said the request meets the four criteria of rezoning:

•Compatibility with adjacent use — The adjacent Heartland Commerce Park is zoned PCDD.

•Impact of vehicle access and traffic flow — The complex’s entrance will be off of Burgess Street, an existing business/public artery, rather than Norton Street, a residential roadway.

•Impact on the health, safety, and general well-being of residents — Studies show there is a need for housing, particularly for affordable, fixed-rate senior housing.

•Impact on city infrastructure — The parcels are infill lots so infrastructure is in place.

In its legislative session, council approved the rezoning.

Council also gave second readings to the following ordinances:

•Central Ohio Farmers Co-op’s petition to vacate a portion of Lewis Street and South Alley between Vine and Gambier streets. A public hearing is set for June 26.

•Central Ohio Farmers Co-op’s petition to rezone 600 W. Vine St. from R-2 to General Business. A public hearing is set for June 26.

•Updates to zoning and permit for fees relating to new builds, garages, additions, and sheds; signs, fences, and handicap ramps; park development; zoning code and map amendments; and Board of Zoning Appeals filings and Certificate of Appropriateness

Council gave the first reading to an ordinance changing the zoning for 120 and 130 S. Norton St. and 1104 W. Gambier St. from Clinton Township zoning to General Business. A public hearing is set for July 10.

A Christian ultrarunner who likes coffee and quilting

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *