The village of Galena has started a process to annex a large piece of Berkshire Township land that will become a new M/I Homes development.

Last month, Galena Village Council approved an ordinance that pledges to provide services to the 60-acre plot at the northwest corner of Dustin Road and state Route 3, just west of the village.

The ordinance serves as a precursor to the annexation, which Village Administrator Jeanna Burrell said should be official after about six months of a "long, drawn-out process."

Once the property is annexed, it will be rezoned from agricultural use to a planned residential district; as a Type 2 annexation, Berkshire will continue to collect property taxes from the 60 acres.

For Burrell, the deal represents a win-win situation for both Berkshire and Galena.

"It changes from a low tax rate for agricultural zoning to kind of high-end condos, so the value of the property increases dramatically and Berkshire continues to collect those taxes at a much higher rate," Burrell said. "So financially, it's a good deal for them."

The greatest benefit of the annexation to the village will be more options for senior citizens.

M/I Homes plans to build 120 retirement condominiums, which will serve as much-needed housing for Galena-area seniors, Burrell said.

"We have talked to all of the developers about the demand for senior housing," she said. "We have a lot of people who have lived here their whole lives and had to move because they're in a two-story house and needed a ranch house. There just aren't a lot of ranches around."

The annexation petition has been sent to Delaware County commissioners, who will need to approve it. The rezoning of the land is expected to go before Village Council at its April 24 meeting.

Given the recent boom of development in the area, Burrell said the village is working toward compiling a standard agreement for developers that will "provide additional taxes to the schools to offset the growth."

While the pact may be important to have in place for different types of housing, Galena officials don't expect the M/I development to cause an influx of students at Big Walnut schools.

"This development should not contribute hardly any students to the school district, since it's aimed toward seniors," Burrell said.

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