Plans for former mill site spark speculation

West Carrollton leaders want lifestyle center development in downtown area.

West Carrollton is seeking to dispel speculation regarding the city’s plans for a significant property near the city’s center.

Mayor Jeff Sanner said he has fielded multiple inquiries that stem from social media posts about the former Fraser Papers land.

“I’m getting questions every day about this and they’re constant,” Sanner said, noting that those plans do not include multifamily, low-income and Section 8 housing.

The South Elm Street site includes 16 acres the city is rehabilitating on the north side of railroad tracks and more than 47 acres south of the tracks as it acquires grant dollars, said Tom Ross, West Carrollton economic development director.

The land is adjacent to the former Ahlstrom West Carrollton LLC, a 5-acre site at South Elm and Central Avenue that the city will receive once it is demolished and cleaned up. Together, the two properties represent a large piece of downtown land over which it will have full development authority.

The former Fraser property, which is also in the process of being cleaned up, is zoned for Planned Unit Development. This zoning provides for mixed uses, Ross said.

“Since this is center city, we would prefer to see it develop as a lifestyle center where there would be a mix of shops, restaurants, entertainment, and living,” Ross stated in an email. “I can’t guarantee what will develop there, since, by their nature PUDs are more flexible. But I cannot envision the community or council/staff supporting any Section 8.”

If housing were proposed for the former Fraser land, Ross stated his aim would be that the land would be purchased for projects “more in line with town homes or shopping first floor, living upper level(s).”

“PUDs are a bit more complicated than straight zoning,” he stated. “However, they allow for maximum flexibility and nearly always require green space, public areas, and tend to be in line with the community desires.”

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