West Carrollton creating mixed-use district to spur economic growth

West Carrollton is trying to encourage development along Central Avenue by creating a “unified mixed-use district” in November 2021.
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West Carrollton is trying to encourage development along Central Avenue by creating a “unified mixed-use district” in November 2021.

West Carrollton is trying to encourage development along Central Avenue by creating a “unified mixed-use district” that affects what types of businesses and uses can go in that area.

The district includes property on the south side of Central Avenue near the Miami Valley Sand volleyball facility, but also the Carrollton Centre business district and property along the north side of Central Avenue.

The new district ends separate lists of prohibited and permitted uses in different areas in favor of one list of permitted uses for the entire district, according to Gregory Gaines, West Carrollton’s director of planning & community development.

A list of approved district standards mirrors the list from the City Center district near Exit 47 off I-75, he said.

“It excludes a lot of the more objectionable, heavier, more intense kind of uses in favor of the more entertainment-type uses that we’re trying to attract in this area,” Gaines said.

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The area has experienced “a pretty dramatic transformation” over a number of years, starting with the closing of the Fraser Papers mill in 2003 and West Carrollton’s subsequent acquisition and cleanup of the property, he said.

“This significant investment resulted in the first private development, Miami Valley Sand, which has become a popular regional attraction and has spurred interest from other developers and businesses,” Gaines said.

West Carrollton City Council approved an amendment to and reclassification of its old downtown district Tuesday evening during its regularly scheduled meeting.

“By maintaining an attractively built environment, the amendment supports the city’s goal to facilitate future economic growth, including the retention and expansion of existing businesses and the re-use of vacant buildings and sites,” Gaines said.

Modified regulations will give more flexibility to private investors and enhance property values, he said.

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The new measures also contribute to the city achieving its goal of becoming a destination city for businesses from outside the community seeking to relocate, he said.

Given the “substantial public interest” in protecting the character of development and aesthetic appeal in that redeveloping area, bringing additional land into the district is “both desirable and necessary” to accomplish the city’s long-range goals he said.

The goal is creating a unified district and to rebrand it as the Carrollton Centre district, Gaines said. “Right now that’s kind of the brand of our North Elm Street area and we’re basically looking to broaden that to include the old Fraser (Papers mill) property as we look to redevelop that whole area as one unified mixed-use development,” he said.

The city identifies the area as the Elm Street Gateway and considers it an important link between the southern residential neighborhoods and the Carrollton Centre, he said. Heightened standards there are aimed at improving the visual character of the area through landscaping to establish a gateway and serve as a transition to the Carrollton Centre, Gaines said.

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