Warren County sports complex progress deals blow to local club

The start of construction on the $16 million Warren County Sports Park at Union Village is the end for the Miami Valley Radio Control Club on the land off Ohio 741.

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As the Warren County Board of Commissioners approved a variance from county regulations, allowing up to three driveways into the section of the park off Greentree Road, workers were disassembling the building, used as a base for flying operations by the club. The radio control club was a fixture for decades on a piece of the land under development, owned until recently by Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices.

“It is my understanding the club, with the support of some key contacts in the Warren County government, are searching for an alternative location. To the chagrin of both Otterbein and the club, we found no locations on Otterbein property that proved acceptable to the club, Otterbein and, most importantly, the FAA and the Warren County Airport,” Gary Horning, vice president for marketing and communications for Otterbein, said in an email.

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“Each of the areas acceptable to the club and Otterbein were deemed to be safety hazards (with airspace within 1,000 feet of the imaginary line running north and south from the airport’s runway). The club did clear all belongings out of the building prior to deconstruction – a job apparently undertaken by the contractor hired by the county for the sports park infrastructural work,” Horning added.

Otterbein donated the 109 acres for the sports complex to the county during negotiations resulting in approval of its plan for Union Village, a 1,400-acre planned community to include up to 4,500 residences.

With Commissioner Tom Grossmann absent from Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners Shannon Jones and Dave Young granted an access permit for the section of the sports complex off Greentree Road.

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“This layout makes the most sense,” Assistant County Engineer Kurt Weber said in explaining why the engineer’s office was recommending approval of the permit, although it violated their policy because the eastern two access points, across Greentree from New England Way, would be too close together.

The permit also required the set aside of right of way for turn lanes.

A study for the Warren County Port Authority showed the three access points should manage the traffic, assuming police are used to manage traffic during peak periods when the fields are in use.

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Earth moving and preparations began a week ago on the section of the park off Ohio 741.

“There are very large machines out there pushing down trees,” Phil Smith, director of the county’s convention and visitors bureau, which will manage the facility, said after the permit was granted. “Work has started.”

Horning said he had not heard from club officials about their plans.

Aerial performances featuring remote-controlled aircraft have been enjoyed for decades by passing motorists and more recently to visitors to the Turtlecreek Twp. park straddled by the sports complex.

County officials were working with Robert Moorman, the club president, on a new location.

“When we spoke in the fall, I stated it was OK to stay a little longer because construction would not occur until weather broke and we were under contract with a general contractor,” Martin Russell, deputy county administrator and economic development and port authority director said in an email.

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Russell said he referred Moorman to the county park director.

The permit was issued Tuesday after a public hearing. It allows the building of up to three driveways into the section of the facility off Greentree Road, including two across from New England Way.

This angered some New England Way residents who claimed they should have been notified of the hearing.

"Nobody that lives on New England Way was aware of this meeting until after the fact, despite providing contact information previously and being promised to be kept updated," Brad Bean said in a comment on the Warren County News Facebook page.

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The public hearing was advertised in a newspaper public notice on Feb. 18, according to Tina Osborne, clerk to the county commissioners.

“Because this is not a zoning matter, no adjacent property owners are required to be notified. I did send a courtesy notice to the Township Trustees,” Osborne added.

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