TIF near Zarley Park could fund intersection improvement

Sarah Sole
ThisWeek group

New Albany is taking steps toward preparing for public improvements near Zarley Street and Smith’s Mill Road.

New Albany City Council on Oct. 20 voted 7-0 to approve an ordinance creating a tax-increment-financing district north of state Route 161, east of U.S. Route 62, south of Smith’s Mill Road and west of Kitzmiller Road. The TIF encompasses Zarley Park, according to a legislative report to council members.

New Albany City Council on Oct. 20 voted 7-0 to approve an ordinance creating a tax-increment-financing district north of state Route 161, east of U.S. Route 62, south of Smith’s Mill Road and west of Kitzmiller Road. The TIF encompasses Zarley Park, according to a legislative report to council members.

City Spokesman Scott McAfee said the TIF includes 39.6 acres.

Jennifer Chrysler, the city's director of community development, said Zarley Park is the oldest portion of the New Albany business park.

“It has emerged as an eclectic part of our business park, with a mix of industrial, commercial and office uses,” Chrysler said.

The TIF includes the land targeted for the Motor Enclave luxury-garage development, but not Mount Carmel New Albany on Smith's Mill, according to both McAfee and a map provided by the city.

The land for the Motor Enclave development does not yet have an associated address, McAfee said. is along Route 161 and Kitzmiller Road and includes about 20 acres, according to a rezoning request City Council approved Sept. 1.

Previous story:New Albany City Council approves rezoning for high-end Motor Enclave garages

Chrysler said the TIF would generate money for public improvements to support redevelopment in the area. She said it could fund an intersection improvement at Smith’s Mill Road and Forest Drive.

“Zarley Street now connects to Smith’s Mill via Tessora Drive – creating the nexus between the TIF funds and the improvement,” she said.

City Manager Joe Stefanov said the intersection improvement at Smith's Mill Road and Forest Drive likely would include a traffic signal timed with the signal at Smith's Mill Road and U.S. Route 62.

Chrysler said the area is one of focus in the city’s Engage New Albany plan, which will make specific recommendations for improvements to Zarley Street to align better with the rest of the business park, such as streetscape improvements like sidewalks and street trees.

Adrienne Joly, director of administrative services for the city, has described the city's strategic plan as the key policy guide for City Council, boards, commissions and staff members in evaluating land-use, development and infrastructure decisions, as well as public investment and private development.

McAfee said staff members would begin sharing the strategic plan with city boards and commissions by the end of the year. When those approvals are made, the plan will go to City Council for approval, he said.

Chrysler said city leaders wanted to create the TIF to use the incremental increase in taxes to provide the necessary infrastructure support for any redevelopment.  

The estimated real property reinvestment in Zarley Park is very small, between $5 million and $10 million, so the TIF likely will support a single improvement, such as the intersection improvement at Smith’s Mill Road and Forest Drive, Chrysler said.

According to the legislative report, the TIF is in Franklin County. It’s classified as a “nonschool” TIF, which means it will not affect New Albany-Plain Local School District. 

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. 

A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting resulting incremental revenue to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development. 

Revenue that exceeds the locked-in valuation of the land is diverted from the entities that typically receive property-tax revenue, including school districts, parks districts, libraries and fire departments. 

In the case of a nonschool TIF, the additional property-tax revenue is diverted from all entities except school districts, according to Chrysler. State legislation added vocational schools to that exception, she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah