By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer
GREEN TWP. - Trying to hold onto patches of green space in this nearly built-out suburban township, Green Township leaders have voted to offer $600,000 to a landowner for 18 acres of steep wooded land near several housing developments off Diehl Road.
Leaders for the west side community fear that if they don't move quickly, the landowner would sell to a developer who would cram another housing development into the hilly, natural area that has dense trees and a creek.
"We've had a lot of pressure lately on losing green space," said Trustee Chuck Mitchell after Tuesday evening's emergency meeting. "I'm all in favor of (buying this tract of land), but you have to pick your spots."
In a township-wide survey last year, maintaining green space ranked as one of the top priorities of residents in the booming community, one of the most-populated townships in Ohio.
The landowner, who wasn't named, claimed to have an awaiting bid of $725,000 for the land.
Mitchell stressed that even though the township's budget is tight, the money to purchase the green space comes from tax-increment financing money, which can be used only for land and real estate improvements and capital projects.
Mitchell and Trustee Tony Upton voted to bid on the land - Trustee Stephen Grote was absent - after a small group of neighbors promised to buy from the township two to three acres that border their properties.
The neighbors wanted to ensure a buffer zone from their property, and trustees said they'd sell the land for $40,000 an acre.
"What we don't want to see is 50 new homes there because of the problems we'd have with drainage and with sewers," said Dave Lopez, one of the neighbors who offered to purchase the land.
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