Jerome Township has struck a deal with developers to end a long-simmering dispute with Dublin over which government will claim development on 71 acres of valuable land.
Schottenstein Real Estate Group and the township have agreed to a 10-year tax-increment financing deal that will divert 75 percent of future property taxes to roads and other infrastructure improvements serving new homes and businesses on what are now bean and corn fields.
In January, the developer filed a petition, which has since been withdrawn, to annex the property from Jerome Township to the city of Dublin, a plan that was backed by Union County, where the township is located.
County officials were concerned about future costs to improve an almost-mile-long stretch of Hyland-Croy Road that will need to be widened for future development, said Jeff Stauch, Union County engineer.
County commissioners had expected that Dublin might pay for those upgrades.
"We're asking ourselves who is going to provide money to improve Hyland-Croy Road," said Gary Lee, a Union County commissioner.
"Dublin has said they will not unless they have an agreement with Jerome Township or if they control the zoning and what goes there."
Now, Jerome Township Trustee Ron Rhodes said, the TIF will take care of improvements and leave 25 percent of new revenue in the township and county.
"This is our prime commercial ground," Rhodes said of the two parcels of land that are currently owned by the Jacquemin family and Arthur and Elizabeth Wesner, and wedged between U.S. Route 33 and the west side of Hyland-Croy Road. Keeping it in the township "is what I was elected to do," he said.
The city of Marysville will provide water and sewer services to the area, with initial utility fees of as much of $3.2 million, Marysville City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt has said. Tap fees for similar development in Dublin, Hoyt said, would cost a fifth of that because they wouldn't have to cross the roadway.
Schottenstein plans include apartments, senior housing, assisted-living facilities, retail and expansion of an existing farm market, Rhodes said.
The deal is a victory for the township, Rhodes said.
"We are a small township and we are limited in what we are allowed to do compared to cities," he said, noting townships are prohibited by law from collecting income tax.
A smaller strip of land, about 45 acres, is owned by the Gorden family, on the east side of Hyland-Croy and borders the Post Preserve subdivision.
The Union County commissioners have already approved that annexation into Dublin, but the township has appealed that ruling.
Dublin has said it plans to create office/research and development space, service-oriented retail and lower density housing on its portion.
Officials said they hope all sides can eventually work out disagreements.
"In my opinion, there's probably a lot more to agree on than disagree on," said Eric Richter, Union County administrator.
"We want what's best for the township and what's good for Dublin. They have been a good neighbor ... . We're trying to figure if there's a way that gets everyone together and works for everyone."