A study of the County Road 25A corridor between Piqua and Troy — including the undeveloped Interstate 75 Exit 78 — wasn’t intended to dictate what will happen at any particular location but instead to help identify what is desired, and what isn’t.
Consultants hired last year by the county commissioners to study the area explained that purpose as they outlined the final draft of their report to the community earlier this month. Before the evening ended, they also discussed with study area land owners and others various plan aspects and what happens next.
The interchange is one of the few remaining undeveloped along Interstate 75 in this part of the state.
The study covered some 3,000 acres in an area extending east to the Great Miami River, west to Washington Road, north to Piqua and south to just outside Troy.
Kim Littleton of Burton Planning and Rick Stein of Urban Decision Group reviewed the draft report, which was shared recently with the commissioners and will be discussed by the county planning commission at its June meeting. A final report then would be considered for adoption by commissioners.
Littleton and Stein reviewed a number of findings, emphasizing the plan is a guide for discussing future development of the mostly rural area, and preparing through regulations such as zoning for desired types of development.
The study was initiated just after the Experiment Farm Road/Farrington Road area was proposed as a site for a surface mining operation. The application for a conditional use permit for that activity was withdrawn just before a fall 2016 public hearing before the county board of zoning appeals but not before generating an opposition campaign.
Commissioners said they were approached by Dan Suerdieck, county planning and zoning manager, about a study before the surfacing mining proposal. When the petition was filed, the study was put on hold.
Stein said plans are useful for two things: “Planning for what you want and what you don’t want.”
The plan outlines recommended land uses based on marketing findings. Topping the list were assisted living and nursing care, medical office space and light manufacturing/warehousing particularly with e-commerce’s growth.
Continued agricultural use and a hotel and associated businesses also were highlighted as possibilities.
Logically, any development first would occur close to the interstate, Littleton said.
“Some of these things are going to take literally decades… But there are some things that could be in the next five years,” Stein said.
If there’s interest, methods to “kick start” development might include implementing incentive plans and marketing to prospective developers, the consultants said.
Property owner Tom Hartzell, who was active in the strip mine opposition, asked what plans were in place to ensure the study and its recommendations don’t get placed on a shelf and forgotten.
“My concern is this will gradually fade away, people will lose interest,” Hartzell said.
Littleton said continued discussion of the plan, its vision and how development could be controlled would be keys.
The county’s development department leaders have talked with Troy and Piqua officials about the plan and is looking at other measures to help with regulations and development, where desired, Littleton said.
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