Dublin is looking into an economic development tool never used in the city before.

Dublin is looking into an economic development tool never used in the city before.

City Council was slated to meet this week to take the first steps towards creating a New Community Authority to encourage development in the Bridge Street District.

A New Community Authority, or NCA, "may be organized to encourage the orderly development of a well-planned, diversified and economically sound new communities," information from the city said.

NCAs have been used in New Albany, Columbus and Powell, and Dublin is hoping to use it to help Crawford Hoying develop the area of the Bridge Street District that lies east of Riverside Drive and north of state Route 161.

According to Dublin Finance Director Angel Mumma, city staff members have been in talks with Crawford Hoying about creating two tax-increment financing districts, a public reinvestment area and an NCA for several blocks of mixed-use development planned for the east side of Riverside Drive in a development to be called called Bridge Park East.

Bridge Park East is expected to bring offices, apartments, condos, retail space, restaurants, a hotel and more to the area.

An NCA in the area would levy "service charges to help pay for parking structures," and public facilities such as a performing arts center, Mumma said.

Parking structures rather than surface lots are planned for Bridge Park East to encourage an urban, high-density environment.

A council meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 17, would only determine the NCA petition from Crawford Hoying meets all requirements.

An economic development agreement with the developer is planned in the future, Mumma said.

"It's important to recognize if that at the end of the day the city does not come to terms with the developer ... the other proposed tools will ultimately not be implemented," Mumma said.

"Each one of those tools will come back to council for further discussion and consideration," she said.

Along with an economic development agreement, council would have to take several steps before an NCA could be established.

After determining a sufficient petition for an NCA has been submitted, council must hold a public hearing about the proposed NCA within 45 days of the petition being filed.

Council must then approve the creation of an NCA and appoint representatives to a board of trustees.

The city would appoint half of the members of the 7- to 13-member board, along with a city employee, and the developer would appoint the rest.

The NCA would be a separate, public entity from the city and could take on its own debt.

"With this the city is not putting city tax money or its financial situation in jeopardy," said John Reiner, a Dublin city councilman.

"It's a very interesting and positive possible scenario for the development of Bridge Street," Reiner said.

The Feb. 17 meeting was just the first step on the road to establishing an NCA, but approval would not bind the city to anything.

"If we approve this, that's just the beginning of the process," Councilman Richard Gerber said, noting the development will have to continue through the planning and zoning process.