Thursday, December 02, 1999

Lebanon reaches deal to swap sites for complex

10 acres on Deerfield Rd. traded for 12 on Turtlecreek Union

Enquirer Contributor

        LEBANON — City council appears to have a plan to relocate a controversial proposed apartment complex from near Deerfield Road to another site, but some council members are balking at the potential cost.

        Highlights of a negotiated settlement with developer Deerfield Crossings Limited Partnership include swapping the 10-acre site near Deerfield Road for a 12-acre city-owned parcel on Turtlecreek Union Road, paying Deerfield Crossings $284,152 and waiving or crediting city fees for the project on the new site.

        The Turtlecreek Union Road site is at the intersection with Ohio 48 Bypass.

        The fees, which include park, zoning, building permits and sewers, could bring $400,000 in revenue for the city, council members said.

        In a special meeting Tuesday, council had the first reading of an ordinance adopting the settlement and could bring it up again at its Dec. 14 meeting.

        Councilwoman Amy Brewer said the deal gives up too much by waiving the fees. Councilmen Jack Hedges and John McComb, neither of whom will be on council when the deal could be brought up again, also say it's too expensive. They maintain the money could be better spent.

        Councilman James Reinhard defended the proposal.

        “This piece of (Deerfield Road) property has ... been on our minds for the better part of a year,” he said. “This council has worked diligently to try and come up with a solution for this property. This is a deal I can live with.”

        Under the proposed agreement, the city also will provide the Turtlecreek Union Road site with:

        • Phase 1 and 2 environmental reports and environ mental indemnification.

        • Lebanon R-2 zoning.

        • Sewer and water service to the site's boundary.

        • Approved ingress and egress.

        • Approved sign permits.

        Deerfield proposed building a 96-unit apartment complex on the Deerfield Road site and in October began clearing it. Residents are concerned that the project would create too much traffic congestion, make the area dangerous and hurt property values.

        Council last month voted to take the site by eminent domain and turn it into a park, but has been negotiating with Deerfield. The developer has stopped work on the Deerfield Road site.

        “We're still working out details but hopefully we'll come to some resolution,” said Joseph Trauth, attorney for Deerfield Crossings. “Our main interest was obtaining a comparable site and being made whole on our original investment. Hopefully all those things will come to fruition.”

        Meantime the city will develop a plan to turn the Deerfield Road site into a park and will receive comments from the Planning Commission, Shade Tree Commission, council and citizens.

        “I've never felt there should be a development there,” Mr. Reinhard said. “I think we can still do something with that property.”


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