State transportation officials are waiting for the developer of the anticipated $380 million Austin South Springboro development to decide how he plans to answer questions about the project's effect on traffic problems around the Austin Boulevard interchange.
“There was a meeting in January where options were presented to the consultant in order for the project to move forward,” said Mandi Dillon, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation Office of Communications in Dayton. “The developer is currently considering both options and is to inform ODOT on how they wish to proceed.”
Both options presented to the consultant representing VisCap, headed by developer Larry Dillin, call for updating the study projecting traffic and identifying improvements needed on and around the interchange, including Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro, as well as Austin Boulevard, the road leading from the interchange along the Miami Twp.-Springboro border.
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ODOT is already reviewing the traffic impact study submitted by VisCap's consultant, Dillon said in a series of question-and-answer emails.
One option presented by ODOT also called for VisCap to do an interchange operations study, the other option an interchange modification study, Dillon added.
With the operations study, “based on the results of the new highway capacity analyses done in the traffic impact study,” plans could be made for revisions “required at the interchange ramps that would be limited to lane use re-assignments or exit ramp storage lengthening,” Dillon said.
From this, ODOT would plan “for any additional improvements identified in the analyses in the near future.”
VisCap consultants instead could complete the modification study and themselves develop a plan “for all identified improvements at the interchange,” Dillon said.
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The developer is also involved in mapping out an organizational structure with owners of the 67-acre site on the southwest corner of Ohio 741 and Austin Boulevard.
Through VisCap, Dillin is developing and leasing on both sides of Austin Boulevard since taking over for developer Randy Gunlock and RG Properties.
Springboro Landing Associates, a partnership set up by RG, is the owner of land where Austin South Springboro is to take shape.
While navigating transportation and business issues, Dillin remains upbeat about the project, as well as development on the north side of Austin Boulevard, known as Austin Landing.
“Springboro, Miami Township, as well as officials from both Montgomery and Warren counties and ODOT continue to be excellent partners in working through the complexities of operations and development on both sides of Austin Boulevard,” Dillin said in a statement. “We are working toward solutions as we plan for the best use of the property. The planning process requires diligence and a steady hand to define and manage obstacles before proceeding to development.”
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In November, elected leaders in Springboro and Miami Twp. passed agreements clearing the way for Springboro’s annexation of 7.7 acres from in Miami Twp. — another step toward development of Austin South Springboro, a planned community expected to include business and residential construction complementing what is already in place at Austin Landing.
The annexation agreement between Miami Twp. and Springboro covers the duration of a 30-year tax incremental finance district established to pay for roads and other infrastructure, using property tax from improvements to the property.
The 67-acre Springboro development site is within the Austin Development District, also including land in Miami Twp. and Miamisburg to be developed around the $40.6 million interchange, opened in July 2010.
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The local governments formed the district to pay for maintenance, assess taxes and make other decisions in the district.
On Sept. 7, the Springboro City council voted to go forward with a development agreement with companies through which Dillin is managing development of Austin South Springboro.
The development agreement committed the city to a $32.2 million contribution to pay for roads, a clock tower, fountains, an events plaza and other infrastructure for the first phase of the project.
ODOT has already made improvements at Austin and Ohio 741 to offset traffic counts that immediately topped projections 20 years into the future.
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In September, city officials suggested ground could be broken in late spring 2018 and the first phase of Austin South Springboro could be unveiled in November 2019.
“Unfortunately, that’s note going to happen,” Springboro Mayor John Agenbroad said after the Springboro council talked about the status of Austin Springboro South during last Thursday’s work session.
Agenbroad expressed optimism that initial road and infrastructure work could begin later this year.
“Who knows?” he concluded.