This an aerial view of the Red Lion area, taken a year ago. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees
Photo: Ty Greenlees

Sewers under consideration for undeveloped Warren County land

Warren County engineers project it would cost $3.3 to $5.2 million to build sewers in the area around Red Lion and the intersections of Ohio 741, Ohio 122 and Ohio 123, south of Springboro.

Maps of future land use show commercial development at and around Red Lion’s central area at the intersections. Just north and south multi-family residential areas are designated.

Most of the undeveloped land is mapped for housing developments.

“The possible extending of sanitary sewer to Red Lion will also make this area more desirable for growth,” a Warren County Regional Planning Commission study said.

“The lack of sanitary sewer in the area has made development difficult. Commercial development has been required to build their own wastewater treatment systems,” the study, approved by the Warren County commissioners in November 2017, continued.

RELATED: Sewer service could lead to housing boom in Warren County

On Wednesday, without comment, the Clearcreek trustees voted unanimously to authorize Administrator Matt Clark to negotiate a contract for a feasibility study on the project.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc. was ranked first among four firms considered for the project.

Environmental Engineering Services Inc. was ranked second, Strand Associates third and LJB Inc. fourth, according to the resolution approved by the trustees.

After the meeting, Clark said it was too early to estimate the cost of the project or how it would be paid for.

He referred to the 2017 study, but said it was too early to determine the extent of the sewers added in the area.

“Its boundaries will change when the study is complete,” he said in an email.

One funding option for the sewers discussed in the study of Red Lion - and neighboring Hunter in Franklin Twp. - was to establish a tax increment financing district.

Within such districts, some or all property tax from improvements on the land is diverted for use in paying for infrastructure. This tax revenue would otherwise go to schools and other entities, including the township, taxing property owners within the area.

RELATED: Development continues in Red Lion

Wednesday’s vote is the latest step forward in a process begun when the trustees asked for the preliminary county study during the planning process in 2017 resulting in the Hunter-Red Lion study.

“The Clearcreek Township Board of Trustees are seeking to expand the tax base in this area and would rely on a sewer system to help facilitate the growth (commercial, office, industrial and higher density residential),” Jeff Palmer, Clearcreek Twp’s director of planning and zoning, said in a letter to the county.

“The updated Future Land Use Map reflects the possible sewer extension into Red Lion,” one chapter summary said.

The sixth and final chapter “summarizes the Warren County Water and Sewer Department’s sewer assessment study for Red Lion. The sewer history, existing conditions and capacity, as well as four sewer service options are explored in this chapter. County and Township officials along with property owners in the area will use the information to determine the feasibility of running sewer to the Red Lion area.”

A collection of bullet-points on weaknesses begins: “Lack of sewer service to Red Lion.”

MORE: Warren County growth sparks fights, celebrations

Threats include “demand for water” and “sewer and capacity of sewer system”.

The center of Springboro is about 4.5 miles north of Red Lion on Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro.

Downtown Lebanon is about 5.5 miles southeast of Red Lion.

Mason is 10 miles south of Red Lion on 741. The first phase of Union Village, a planned community between Red Lion and Mason, expected to grow to 12,000 residents and 4,500 homes over 30 years, is under construction.

So far, Red Lion remains relatively undeveloped despite a state road project at what was a five-pointed intersection.

A United Dairy Farmers gas and convenience store has been added since this project.

Oberer Land Developers is building a 70-home subdivision just north of the Red Lion on 741. Prior to this, Red Lion had “not had any significant residential development” since 2010, according to the study.

MORE: Springboro-Clearcreek tax sharing, annexation deals questioned by legal expert

“There is a need to create maximum density zoning in the Hunter-Red Lion area. The area is recognized as predominately agrarian and the residents often reinforced their desire to retain that character,” the study recommended.

The existing Clearcreek Township zoning districts will need to be updated to reflect the sewer study findings. Industry cannot be located in areas where it is economically unfeasible to run sewer.”

Red Lion and Hunter “experienced strong population growth and development over the past 20 years due to their central location, strong job market and abundant vacant land zoned for residential use. The possible extending of sanitary sewer to Red Lion will also make this area more desirable for growth,” the study said.

Next Clark said he would negotiate a contract for the feasibility study with the consultant. The township has budgeted $15,000 to $20,000, he said.

The contract should be ready for trustee approval next Monday.

“I’d estimate a completed study by late November, early December, realistically,” he said.

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