Land trust that wants to build Greene County wetland gets consent

B-W Greenway Community Land Trust now has support from Greene County to apply for a grant to create a new permanent wetland.

The Greene County Board of Commissioners voted against the resolution of support twice before. The deadline to apply for the grant through the Clean Ohio Fund was last Friday, so B-W Greenway applied last week, said Greene County Administrator Brandon Huddleson. They will now send a letter of support from the county to supplement their application.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution at its Sept. 10 meeting.

B-W Greenway wants to purchase about 40 acres of land from Jane and William Doorley for a permanent conservation area for about $377,000. The land is a Category 3 wetland and about a mile away from Pearl’s Fen. A Category 3 wetland protects the aquifer.

Part of the wetland is located near the intersection of Byron Road and Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road.

The Clean Ohio grant would cover three-quarters of the purchase and project costs. The Doorley’s plan to make an in-kind contribution to B-W Greenway of about $133,000, according to the resolution.

ExploreWetland area does not get Greene County stamp of approval, land trust makes plans for another proposal

A wooded area would not be part of the conservation easement, as previously proposed. Huddleson said commissioners objected to the request at a previous meeting because the non-wetlands portion of the conservation area could potentially be used for future development, and this would limit that. The commission works to balance conservation and development, Huddleson said.

The wetland B-W Greenway wants to buy and create a permanent wetland conservation area on was appraised for $510,000. The total Clean Ohio grant application is for $531,000, the resolution said.

At the last commission meeting on Sept. 3, there was a concern about how much money the Doorleys would make off of the purchase. Commissioners Tom Koogler and Bob Glaser were confused about the acreage and purchase price.

There was a clerical error on the resolution that was considered last week, Huddleson said, making it appear that the Doorleys would be making more money on the land sale even though they were selling less acreage. That is not the case.

B-W Greenway amended the resolution of support to make the financials more clear on Thursday.

Commissioner Tom Koogler said he was not happy about the way the conservation efforts took place. He voted in favor of the resolution, but stated he felt the transaction was more about making a profit than conservation. Koogler also stated he was concerned that since the wetland would be a conservation area and the wooded portion of the property would still belong to the Doorleys that the land wouldn’t be able to be enjoyed by all in Greene County.

“This, to me, has become all about money,” Koogler said. “I’m going to support this, but I’m just telling you I’m very disappointed in everyone involved and how this went down and how this is occurring.”

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