This Warren County area could develop soon, but here’s what’s needed first

Red Lion is likely to become more than a small town with two gas stations at its central intersection once sewers enable commercial development and residential subdivisions on 300 surrounding acres. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD
Red Lion is likely to become more than a small town with two gas stations at its central intersection once sewers enable commercial development and residential subdivisions on 300 surrounding acres. STAFF/LAWRENCE BUDD

Major property owners asked to help pay for a multi-million dollar sewer project for 300-400 undeveloped acres between Springboro and Mason are buying into the concept.

“We are agreeable to some cost-sharing arrangement,” Paul Miller, vice president of real estate for RG Properties, said. “We think it would benefit our properties tremendously. We’d like to see it happen.”

RG manages 46 acres around the five-point intersection at Red Lion’s town center.

Warren County engineers projected it would cost $3.3 million to $5.2 million to build sewers in the area serving 400 acres around Red Lion and the intersections of Ohio 741, Ohio 122 and Ohio 123, south of Springboro.

An ongoing study puts the price at $3.5 million.

RELATED: UDF to invest $3.5M in Red Lion area

Maps of future land use show commercial development at and around Red Lion’s central area at the intersections. Just north and south multi-family residential areas are designated. Most of the undeveloped land is mapped for housing developments.

The center of Springboro is about 4.5 miles north on Ohio 74. Downtown Lebanon is about 5.5 miles southeast, Mason 10 miles south. The first phase of Union Village planned community and Warren County Sports Park at Union Village are under construction six mile south.

In Red Lion, a United Dairy Farmers gas and convenience store has been added since a state intersection improvement project. Oberer Development has begun building homes on large lots, north and east of the Red Lion center, without sewers.

RELATED: Red Lion sewer study focused on hundreds of acres between Springboro, Mason

The Majors family, owners of more than 130 of the 230 acres in the area under study for sewers - and more of the adjoining land long owned by the Stolle family - could not be reached for comment.

But two other property owners, called “stakeholders” in the Clearcreek Twp.-commissioned study, said they were also agreeable.

“I’m interested for sure,” Michael Howard, owner of 21.5 acres, including the possible location of a lift station needed to keep the sewer system flowing.

Howard, who developed the Noble Creek Farms subdivision, east of Red Lion, said it was difficult to commit without knowing more about when the sewers would be installed.

“Right now, things are booming,” Howard said, adding he had been in discussions with Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center about a land donation enabling them to build on his land.

“It’s really who wants on the boat,” Howard said, in reference to a question about how many acres could eventually be served by the sewers.

RELATED: Red Lion, Hunter feel Warren County’s growing pains

Likewise Miller said, “It all depends on what we end up doing there.”

Paul Pomeroy, who with his wife owns 25 acres in the study area, said he was hesitant, but open to cost sharing in hopes of developing a subdivision on part of his property.

“I’d prefer not to pay it,” he said. “It pushes forward our plans to develop the south end of our property.”

Clearcreek Twp. officials have indicated they want to enable commercial development, diversifying the tax base in this predominantly residential community.

“That’s what’s driving this thing,” Pomeroy said.

The development hinges on support from the Majors family and RG, Pomeroy said.

“Without them buying into this, nothing’s going to happen,” he said.

RELATED: Development continues in Red Lion

Another funding option for the sewers discussed in the study of Red Lion - and neighboring Hunter in Franklin Twp. - is to establish a tax increment financing district.

Within such districts, some or all property tax from improvements on the land is diverted for use in paying for infrastructure. This tax revenue would otherwise go to schools and other entities, including the township, taxing property owners within the area.

Also yet to be determined is whether the regional sewer plant in the Franklin area, where the sewage is to go, can handle the added flow and improvements needed.

The next public meeting in the study process is at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Clearcreek Twp. Government Center.

Jeff Palmer, the townships’ director of planning and zoning, is overseeing the study by Environmental Engineering Service. Palmer indicated he planned to make a presentation on the sewer study to the trustees in February.

Red Lion sewer Study Meeting

Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m.

Clearcreek Township Government Center,

7593 Bunnell Hill Road.

For more information, call 937-748-1267

or email jpalmer@clearcreektownship.com.