Arts community planned in Warren County

The Warren County Board of Commissioners this morning approved rezoning of 20 acres to be developed as an arts community between Lebanon and Mason.

The land was formerly the site of Theater 42 property at 2752 U.S. 42 in Union Twp.

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Ramesh Malhotra, who developed a spiritual art museum in Franklin, said he wants to turn the property into a “focal point” for music, theater and other community arts groups.

“We appreciate your vision,” Commissioner Dave Young said.

The plan was developed after the property was cited for a code violation after property was changed from the Living Tree Community Church to the theater, Zoning Inspector Mike Yetter said Tuesday.

The land is owned Evan Ford but is under a land contract taken on by Malhotra, he said during a public hearing with the commissioners.

The land was rezoned from a residential zone, which permitted churches but not theaters, to a neighborhood commercial business zone.


This would permit development of four buildings, including a larger theater, and improvements to the current building, all proposed by Malhotra for arts and theater uses.

Malhotra, who has businesses in Mason, said he would lease the buildings to the groups. He said he planned to open a music school in the existing building.

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“I think it’s a great use,” Commissioner Tom Grossmann said. “I sure hope it works.”

The development plan still has to be reviewed by the commissioners.

“You’ll get to see it again,” Yetter said. “Ultimately, the commissioners will have the final say.”

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