The Jefferson Township board of trustees has scheduled a public hearing to seek comment on a proposed Jefferson Township-Whitehall joint-economic-development-district contract.
The session is set for 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, at the Jefferson Township fire station, 6767 Havens Corners Road.
Mike Anderson, the township's development director, said the proposed JEDD area includes a 12.4-acre parcel on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road near the intersection with North Street.
He said the JEDD is a "voluntary participation" program proposed by Grays Point at Blacklick Station LLC, the landowner/developer of the project, in order to benefit Jefferson Township financially.
A JEDD is a specified development area that collects revenue from mixed-use residential and commercial development as a way to self-fund the additional resources that it requires to be economically viable, according to Anderson. A JEDD contract between a township and municipality allows for an income tax to be imposed on parcels within the district to fund needed economic-development-related activities. Only the parcel(s) within the joint economic-development district are subject to the tax.
In the case of the Jefferson Township-Whitehall JEDD, Anderson said, only one parcel, which contains the Grays Point at Blacklick Station mixed-use development, would be subject to the tax. That property owner of the single parcel within the JEDD has petitioned to be included in the JEDD; no other parcels will be included.
While Whitehall is poised to receive 10% of the JEDD revenue, Jefferson Township would get the majority with 90%, minus some administrative cost for collecting the funds and managing the JEDD program, Anderson said.
Anderson said the township teamed with Whitehall as the municipality because its leaders were willing to accept the 10% and facilitate the collection of taxes.
Although Grays Point at Blacklick Station LLC is the official entity name for property ownership, Anderson said, Metro Development LLC was the applicant for the property's rezoning.
Whitehall economic-development manager Jenna Goehring said Whitehall City Council is scheduled to vote Jan. 7 on the JEDD, after the township completes its approval process.
"City Council has been supportive of the JEDD proposal and the city is looking forward to working in partnership with Jefferson Township to further economic-development efforts in central Ohio," she said.
Gray's Point at Blacklick Station is a mixed-use development that would include 48 multifamily housing units above 32,200 square feet of commercial space fronting Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, as well as public parking and 168 residential units behind the commercial space. The project previously was called The Woods at Grays Place.
Anderson said the township expects the development to have many benefits, including improvements in home affordability, walkability between housing and workplaces and the fostering of a stronger neighborhood, in addition to new retail and office spaces occupying the first floor of the buildings along Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.
He said the JEDD would provide the opportunity to place an income tax on these units and the employees who would live or work within the district.
"It is limited to only the buildings located within the Gray's Point development," Anderson said. "This is a very exciting development for Jefferson Township because it will provide commercial amenities to both township residents and visitors. We believe that this will spur similar development in the area to create an improved sense of place within the area that many call Old Blacklick."
He said the JEDD would provide an additional revenue stream that eases the burden on township residents for township infrastructure and other community improvements.
The Grays Point at Blacklick Station project and the use of economic-development tools to encourage similar types of compatible development are in line with the community core values and the Jefferson Township 2050 Comprehensive Plan, according to Anderson.
Specifically, he said, the comprehensive plan sets a goal to encourage creative developments that reflect Jefferson Township's identity as "an exceptional place to live," with an objective to "foster development within the established commercial areas in the Blacklick area along Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road."
The township hopes to complete the public-meeting process this month in order to get the JEDD in place as soon as possible, if it's adopted, Anderson said.
He said the revenue generated would include all site improvements and construction activities, which are already underway.
"We are losing out on income from this project every day that we wait to implement the JEDD," he said.
Anderson said the township's second meeting of December would fall on Christmas, so it was rescheduled to Dec. 23.
Whitehall was scheduled to hold a public hearing Dec. 17 about the JEDD.