$445 million in development proposed over 20 years in Warren County

Lebanon schools agree to tax sharing for 1,400-acre, 4,500-home Union Village

Over the next 20 years, $445 million of development is proposed at Union Village, the 4,500-home community planned outside Lebanon.

More than $360 million of the development would be on residential neighborhoods within the development also expected to include a $10 million sports complex, as well as retail and commercial development on 1,400 acres east of Lebanon.

The Lebanon school board, on Monday, agreed to the basic terms of a plan to help the developers, Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Alternatives, as well as the local governments, offset the costs of the development.

“We over the next three months will go into formal negotiations,” district treasurer Eric Sotzing told the board. “There’s a very good growth potential there.”

The negotiations will involve the distribution of taxes and fees on the first phase, expected to involve $15 million in investment – almost $12.4 million on the residential development, according to a spreadsheet analyzing the deal prepared by Warren County Auditor Matt Nolan.

The school district would receive $162,316 on the first phase, and almost $4.8 million by 2025, to help offset the costs of educating Union Villlage children.

The letter of intent approved by the Lebanon school board Monday agrees the negotiations should involve the district receiving 62 percent of the proceeds on a tax incremental financing district diverting 50 percent of taxes to help Otterbein, as the Union Village Development Company, pay for roads and other improvements for the residential development.

This is about 6 percent less than the district would receive for the residential development except for creation of the special taxing district, Nolan said.

It is also millions more than the district is now receiving in property taxes on the vacant land held with an agricultural tax exemption, off Ohio 741 in Turtlecreek Twp., Nolan added.

The letter, and Nolan's spreadsheet, also anticipate the township receiving proceeds from collection of 3.82 mills from a New Community Authority to be established at Union Village. The authority would be funded by fees assessed to residents and businesses moving into Union Village.

Otterbein and the local governments are also expected to divvy up 100 of property taxes on the commercial development diverted into another special taxing district. Both districts could remain in place through 2046.

But most of the negotiations relate to diverting taxes from the residential development that would otherwise go directly to schools, the county and township, as well as the county career center, health and library district and senior citizens levies.

“We have very few residential TIFs in Warren County,” Nolan said Tuesday.

Turtlecreek Twp. trustees have yet to approve the proposed taxing districts. Nolan’s analysis shows the township receiving $33,070 next year and $971,231 through 2025 through its share of the proposed authority and residential taxing district - slightly more than would be derived without the authority and taxing district.

Otterbein has agreed to donate 88 acres on the north end of Union Village, between Warren County Armco Park and Turtlecreek Park. The donation is contingent on the formation of the taxing districts and authority.

The county commissioners have delayed a vote on a 1 percent hike in the county lodging tax to help finance the sports complex until the taxing district deal has been approved by the schools, local governments and Otterbein.

Sotzing said the school board will be asked to approve the terms for each phase of the development, expected to take up to 40 years.

“We will only bring back to the board an agreement on a particular phase,” he said Tuesday.

On Tuesday, it was unclear when the township would vote on the deal, which was tentatively agreed to in a May trustee meeting.

The next scheduled trustee meeting is Tuesday, July 28, at 8 a.m. at the township offices.

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