Loveland City Council will hear public comment on proposed property development (30 Homearama homes) of city-owned parcel on Butterworth Road
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (October 13, 2020) – Loveland City Council meets in a regular scheduled meeting tonight which will include the public hearing on proposed transfer of Butterworth Road city-owned land to the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) for purchase by CB Butterworth, LLC (Campbell Berling Development Company)
The property in question is a 9.8 acre parcel directly across from Brandywine and adjacent to the 16.1 acre Crane family property on Butterworth Road just off S.R. 48 in Warren County. The proposed sale price for the land is $350,000. The city originally purchased the parcel for $800,000 with the potential to develop a park there. While it was originally planned the city portion of this land would be a park, no stand-alone park plan has ever been brought before City of Loveland Administrators according to current City Manager Dave Kennedy. Most parties interested in the property expressed interest in both the city portion and the adjacent Crane property.
“We got a couple offers for some real small parks back in the corner where the power lines are, but they still came with very heavy density in terms of number of homes and a much reduced price back to the city, “ said Kennedy. “As far as it being a full-blown park, there was never much of a proposal. The proposals we’ve received over the years –especially since I’ve been here – have been mostly for walking trails which we don’t feel added much to that neighborhood.”
Kennedy says even those proposals came in conjunction with “very heavy density” development plans. The city cannot sell or lease property without a public hearing. The public hearing set for the Loveland Council Meeting tonight (Tuesday, October 13,) is to get input on the sale of the property. After the hearing, council will vote to approve the transfer of the property to the CIC to act as agent for sale of the property on behalf of the City of Loveland.
While the public will be heard, Mayor Kathy Bailey does not expect to hear any new criticisms, or proposals which might provide a better option for the city parcel in question.
“I get that there are people who would like us to just leave it,” said Bailey. “That’s not the best use of it. That’s not the best outcome for the entire city. We have to represent the entire city and all residents of the city.”
Bailey pointed to the $50K debt service on the property being paid annually which would be paid off in full by the $350,000 revenue from sale of the property. The economics – $800,000 paid by Loveland originally versus selling for $350,000 – is one of the sticking points for critics of this plan for sale and development. It looks bad on the surface, but the return goes beyond the sale price with the revenues from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) growing yearly over the life of the TIF and going directly to the City of Loveland.
Estimates show a range of $135,000 – $143,000 in TIF revenue to Loveland from 2022-2029 resulting in roughly $2.1 million in revenue to the city from the development. The development plan calls for 30 homes to be built in the style of Homearama designer homes. Kennedy confirmed the developer plans for a Homearama on the site.
Here is a link to the agenda for Loveland Council Meeting Tuesday, October 13, 2020 – NOTE: Property transfer details can be found on pages 95-103 of the agenda.
This is not a case of city officials jumping at the first offer trying to unload a property. The city manager and the mayor both say there have been multiple proposals from multiple developers over the years. Kennedy says all come with either a lower sale price or plans for 60-70 homes or even multi-family homes. Bailey says in her time alone, multiple options to sell the property were rejected because they were wrong for the community.
“We’ve been getting consistent criticism for not doing something with that property,” Bailey said. “I can’t tell you how many developers have come to us with plans. We could have sold this property 10 times by now, just in my time on council.”
Bailey says she’ll listen, along with other members of council to the input from the public during the meeting tonight, but again, does not expect to hear a better proposal than the one before the city right now. She went as far as to say if a better plan is offered, they would consider it. Short of that, there are two options tonight: 1) Council will vote to approve transfer of the Butterworth parcel to CIC for purchase by the development company as proposed, or 2) Council will not approve transfer of the parcel to CIC. Council will NOT vote to sell the property. Sale of the property only happens through the Community Improvement Corporation acting on behalf of the city.
“We’ve really worked hard to get the right project up there,” Bailey said. “This wasn’t just unload this property. It was wait for the right thing, or we don’t do it at all. We really do try to do the right thing.”
City Council Meets tonight, Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 7 p.m. in Loveland City Hall, 120 West Loveland Avenue, Loveland, OH 45140
For more: Go to City of Loveland online at: www.lovelandoh.gov