Prairie Township trustees signed off on an agreement with the city of Columbus protecting township land within the Big Darby Accord.

Prairie Township trustees signed off on an agreement with the city of Columbus protecting township land within the Big Darby Accord.

The agreement was signed at the Feb. 22 regular meeting of the township board of trustees. Township administrator Tracy Hatmaker said the document sets in stone a promise made by the city of Columbus.

"It makes legal the commitment by the city of Columbus to provide sewer and water to the Big Darby Town Center without annexation," Hatmaker said.

Forty years is the expected time frame for the development of the Big Darby Town Center, Hatmaker said. The master plan for the development was approved by the township, county and other participating jurisdictions in late December.

The proposed development site is located between I-70 to the north and West Broad Street to the south. It calls for about 3,500 residential units along with 300,000 square feet reserved for businesses and a 100-room hotel.

The plan calls for the city of Columbus to provide water and sewer service to any new developed area within the plan without annexing the property, Hatmaker said.

Columbus' longtime policy has been to extend new water and sewer services only to areas that are being annexed to the city.

The plan also provides land set aside for conservation, maintaining plenty of green areas.

"This agreement is good for the next 40 years," Hatmaker said.

The next step in developing the Big Darby Town Center is to create a community authority and find a master developer. In order to find a master developer, it will be necessary to create a partnership with the establishment of a community authority or Community Improvement Corp. (CIC).

Hatmaker said that entity will be the beginning of the town center process, which will be to assemble land. Once the land is obtained, there will be a search and proposal made for a master developer of the town center.

The next Prairie Township Board of Trustees meeting is set for 7 p.m. March 7 at township hall, 23 Maple Drive.