Rezoning could mean $10+ million investment


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — After more than a year of waiting, Greenville City Council approved legislation to rezone 14.2 acres of property between KitchenAid Way and State Route 121 from General Business to Planned Unit Development-Residential. The zoning change could pave the way for a more than $10 million investment in the community.

Frontier Community Services and property owner Geoffrey Surber addressed the council more than a year ago seeking the zoning change. At the time, Frontier explained the project would be affordable housing for senior citizens. As explained then, the housing would be open to individuals 55 and over and there are income eligibility guidelines. The non-profit company was emphatic that this type of housing is not low-income housing. The company does not work through Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer this type of housing. Instead, they are able to seek tax credits in order to make the housing affordable.

Councilmen Brian Brown and Clarence Godwin were on board with the zoning change from the beginning, but it took over a year to finally get enough support to get the measure passed. In the beginning, Brown shared how he did his homework and visited one of the housing developments Frontier had already completed and brought that information back to the rest of council. He and Godwin both cited the waiting list at Fox Run Apartments, a development like the one that was being planned, as showing a need for this type of affordable senior housing.

Councilman Leon Rogers came on board with the proposal in the fall and Councilwoman Delores Eley changed her vote at the February meeting of Greenville City Council. She said she had recently visited a Frontier community and had all of her questions answered. Many of the answers she shared was the same information Brown had shared a year ago. She visited the community with the council’s newest councilman, Greg White. White also cast a vote in the affirmative to move the project forward.

At the Tuesday meeting of the council, the legislation was on the agenda and received approval with a 5-2 vote. Voting for the legislation was Brown, Godwin, Rogers, White and Eley. Voting against were Doug Schmidt and Chris Norris.

It is unclear if Frontier Community Services is still interested in developing the project.

In other business, Safety Service Director Ryan Delk gave updates on several projects taking place in the city. He shared the State Route 502 waterline project is nearing completion. Crews are currently fixing the sidewalks and curbs that were affected and reseeding lawns. The last section to tie it all together will also need to be installed and that may take a couple of weeks. Asphalt will be repaired once the asphalt plants open for the season.

Only two more properties remain on Phase 1 of the sidewalk project. The city is beginning the process of putting invoices together and those that had work done will have the option of paying now or have the cost assessed on their property taxes. The assessments will be made in August.

Phase II will begin April 1. Property owners in this area will have until then to complete work before the city begins marking sidewalks for repair. Once the sidewalks are marked, the city will put Phase II out for bid.

Delk also reported on several projects that will be completed over the next few years. The city will submit its 30 percent design plans to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the Sweitzer Street project in April. The project runs from Birt Street to the city limits. The project will take the current configuration to two lanes with a center turn lane. It will include new sidewalks, curbs, street lighting and asphalt. The city has $4.8 million in grants pledged for the project, but the estimated cost is $8 million. Delk will continue searching for grants to help pay for the project.

The city will begin design plans for the water tower planned for the industrial park. The plans are due by the end of 2024 with construction to begin in the first quarter of 2025. The solids handling 60 percent design plans are due in March. Construction is planned to begin in 2025.

Delk also gave an update on the transit program’s new partnership with the county to provide rides throughout Darke County. According to Delk, Greenville Transit System (GTS) provided 239 county trips in February. Those trips either began or ended outside the city limits. Through the work of Katie Benge, Delk announced GTS has gone from two individuals signed up for services through the Area Agency on Aging to over 100. GTS has provided 855 trips through the Area Agency on Aging.

The council approved a committee report that waives the $60 permit fee to install or repair sidewalks. Utilities Committee Chairman Godwin explained this could help the city get sidewalks repaired that aren’t in the current phase of the repair project. He is hoping property owners will take it upon themselves to complete the projects sooner than when their turn comes up in the sidewalk project. He said the cost of concrete will only go up.

The council also approved paying three hours for city employees during the Solar Eclipse. The office will be closed during the eclipse, but the city wanted to make sure its employees were still paid. Councilman White asked what the cost to the city was. City Auditor Nancy Davis didn’t have that total. The ordinance passed with a 6-1 vote. White voted against the motion.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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