Delaware City Council members are considering an annexation petition that City Manager Tom Homan says they ultimately might want to reject.
At issue, Homan said Nov. 11, is how the petitioner and the city would reconcile two existing New Community Authorities -- one on the petitioner's property and one in the city.
An NCA adds a millage assessment on properties within a designated area to raise money to improve that area, usually in the form of infrastructure.
Council gave a reading to an ordinance that would accept the annexation of 43.847 acres, known as the Evans Farm Delaware LLC.
The property is north of Peachblow Road and west of the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in Berlin Township.
Other properties within the city's southeastern area are in the Delaware South New Community Authority, Homan wrote in a fact sheet accompanying the proposed ordinance.
"It's always been contemplated if that land is annexed into the city, that land, like all the land around it, would be required to pay the 7.5 mills (assessed on properties by the city's NCA) that help service the debt that we issued to pay for Glenn Parkway," Homan told council.
The Evans Farm NCA collects "I think 10.5 mills," Homan said, and the developers likely are counting on that millage to offset some expenses related to the development.
He said city attorney Darren Shulman had a meeting the previous week with Evans Farm principals to work through some options.
"If we can't get this resolved, it would be staff's recommendation that you not do the annexation," Homan said.
No representatives of the Evans Farm developers attended the Nov. 11 meeting.
Evans Farm is an expansive development based on the tenets of New Urbanism, which emphasizes walkability and smaller lots. Residents of the first homes north of Lewis Center Road in Orange Township moved in late last year.
A city fact sheet reads, "City administration has offered the applicant several alternatives. ... The options presented include: 1) Pay the present value of the expected Delaware South NCA revenue that would have been collected if they joined the Delaware South NCA; 2) Direct the existing Evans Farm NCA to pay the city what the Delaware South NCA charge would collect until the Delaware South NCA debt is paid."
"What we've been talking about is, what would the value of that millage be over the number of homes they're going to be developing within the city?" Homan asked. "Does that get paid to the city prior to the homes being built? We're not sure yet. That's what we're trying to work through.
"The easy thing, in our opinion, would be they just don't extend the 10.5 mills up in that area," he said.
"Then the question is, if it's not annexed into the city and they still are interested in seeing it developed, then there are some issues with respect to utilities," he said. "Our utility boundary says we serve that area, and the county potentially can serve it, but they obviously would have to get our consent to do that.
"Then there's the question of water, which would have to be worked out as well," he said.
At this stage, no action is required by council, Homan said.
"We will continue to see if we can come up with a resolution," he said. "Any kind of a resolution would require City Council's consideration. ... There's no simple way to kind of fix this unless they just said, 'Leave (it) in the city and it's not going to be part of the Evans Farm project.' "
Planning and zoning administrator Lance Schultz said the area represented by the annexation would be roughly 10% of Evans Farm, and the remainder would stay outside the city.
City officials earlier said the city's utility district means Berlin Township can't provide service north of Peachblow Road. Council in August approved a resolution of services for the proposed annexation, Homan said.