Some on Springboro council suggest Easton Farm developer consider not including apartments

Council to hold public hearing, vote on recommended project Aug. 19

Springboro City Council will hold a public hearing Aug. 19 on the approval of a preliminary plan and rezoning of property along Ohio 741 for a proposed $265 million mixed-use project called Easton Farm.

Several councilmen, including Springboro’s mayor, told Easton Farm developer Larry Dillin at a city council meeting Thursday he should reconsider removing plans for multi-family housing as part of the development.

The proposed plan has drawn the ire of neighboring residents who are adamantly opposed to the high-density that the multi-family housing will create for the adjoining neighborhoods and the city.

Dillin said there has been a lot of chatter on social media about the development and said he has had private conversations with a number of residents and stakeholders in the community. Dillin said they are continuing to do more marketing and financial analysis as well as gather more feedback from the community.

Explore$265M Easton Farm project heading to Springboro Planning Commission for final approval

Councilman John Hanson said he was not opposed to multi-family, saying, “I’m not sure if that is the right place for multi-family.” He suggested making that more of a restaurant district with high-end restaurants.

“What I’m hearing, it seems that’s what the public wants,” Hanson said.

Councilman Dale Brunner echoed similar concerns as Hansen.

Dillin said his company’s marketing studies say there is a demand for high-quality, multi-family housing. He said density makes it easier to market the project to restaurants.

“I’m hearing the same feedback,” said Mayor John Agenbroad. “Maybe you can sharpen your pencil more and get rid of multi-family to bring in more high-end restaurants that everyone wants.”

When the project is considered by council on Aug. 19, there will be one fewer council member who will be participating or voting on the matter.

Deputy Mayor Janie Ridd announced that due to Ohio ethics laws, it would be a conflict of interest for her to participate in discussions or to vote on the project as she lives 300 feet from the project.

On Friday, Dillin told the Dayton Daily News that “We’ve actually been studying options on continuing to refine the plan for a while now. We discussed our thinking on removing the multi-family at a public Springboro Rotary meeting back in June.”

He said they are listening carefully to feedback from the community just as City Council has.

“However, it’s not as simple as taking an eraser to the plan and removing the multi-family building,” he said. “Not only did the market study show tremendous demand for multi-family in the Springboro market, but we need to continue to study the impact on leasing restaurant space if we remove the multi-family as well as the tax revenues to support schools and city services.”

Dillin said they must achieve an appropriate balance to create a sustainable project with lasting positive community impact.

“The refinements suggested at last night’s council meeting, to us, was a reinforcement that working collaboratively with city leadership will yield the best result for the community, which is and has always been our goal as the developer and as residents of this community,” Dillin said.

Dillin and his wife, Cheryl, purchased the Dr. Aron Wright House located at 155 W. Central Ave. in the fall of 2019. He told council they are invested in the community and that “the property was starting to shape up” with a new porch, electric upgrades, a new sewer line, fixed siding and is being painted as approved the the city’s Architectural Review Board. Dillin’s business has been located there since June 2020 and has 10 employees.

“I didn’t want to see the property deteriorate,” he said.

ExploreSpringboro board approves Easton Farm rezoning, preliminary plan

The historic home was built by Dr. Aron Wright in 1857. Since 1979 the house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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