Worthington News

Council initiates TIF plan for future Shops apartments

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Worthington City Council on Nov. 12 took the first steps toward creating a tax-increment-finance (TIF) plan for the apartments to be built at the Shops at Worthington Place and for any future building on the site of the old James Tavern.

New value from both of those developments would be taxed at a rate otherwise due on the improved value of the land, but the funds would be set aside in a city-controlled TIF fund.

The schools and Franklin County social-service agencies would receive their shares of the TIF fund, with the rest going to pay for streetscape improvements, multiuse trails, paving, utility realignment, traffic studies and signals along the Wilson Bridge Road corridor.

The approximately $70,000 to $100,000 a year would be targeted to areas west of High Street.

Crawford Hoying expects to break ground on the approximately 150 new apartments in March 2013. To have the TIF in order by then, the city needed to begin preparing this week, city economic development manager Jeff Harris said.

The four-story-plus underground parking apartment complex is planned for the parking lot immediately west of the mall. It is being reviewed by the Architectural Review Board.

Eighteen townhouses also are planned for immediately north of Worthington Place.

No plans have been announced for the James Tavern site, 160 W. Wilson Bridge Road, but the city's Wilson Bridge corridor plan identified it as a redevelopment priority, with multistory commercial uses envisioned.

A capacity analysis suggested that a 27,000-square-foot building for general office and medical uses would be appropriate.

Harris said it would be Worthington First Class-A office space.

Fox to replace Minister

as new law director

Worthington City Council hired Pamela A. Fox as the city's new law director.

She will take over for Michael Minister on Dec. 31, when he retires. Her salary will be $116,000.

Fox currently is law director and public-safety director for the city of Hilliard, where she has worked since 2004.

Prior to that, she was Worthington's assistant law director and a partner at Baker Hostetler LLP.

Back then, Fox's name was Pamela DeDent. She is now married to former Worthington police officer Dave Fox, who retired in April. They live in Worthington.

"I'm thrilled to be able to come back and work with the people I worked with so long ago," she said.

City Manager Matt Greeson said he was pleased to be able to hire Fox because of her extensive background in municipal law and her familiarity with Worthington's issues.

He did not advertise the position but had interviewed "a couple" of lawyers with municipal experience, he said.

City charter allows him to forgo advertising for certain positions in the city. He makes the decision based on the position to be filled, he said.

He advertised when he hired an assistant city manager and a finance director but kept the search in-house when looking for a police chief.

In this case, only a few attorneys in central Ohio had an extensive background in municipal law, he said.

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