Reynoldsburg City Council: Tax deal approved for M/I Homes project on Waggoner Road

Kelley Youman
ThisWeek
Reynoldsburg City Hall

Reynoldsburg City Council voted unanimously Oct. 12 to create a tax-increment financing district encompassing a 130-acre housing project planned for the east side of Waggoner Road, near the intersection with Rodebaugh Road.  

Officials hope to leverage an estimated $20 million in TIF funds over the next decade to improve Waggoner between Broad and Main streets, including the addition of sidewalks and streetlights. 

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism used by local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. 

It locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting the incremental revenue from traditional property-tax collecting entities to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development. 

The city's planning commission approved plans in May for an M/I Homes neighborhood with 354 single-family houses, expected to cost $290,000 to about $400,000 each, according to information provided by M/I Homes. The city annexed the property from Truro Township. 

The TIF breaks down the 130-acre parcel into six incentive districts, each of which could start collecting funds at a different time. 

The 10-year "life" of each incentive district won't start until there is at least $2 million worth of building improvements, said Chris Shook, city attorney. 

That means construction on Waggoner Road won't happen until the TIF district begins collecting revenue, meaning the road improvements wouldn't happen at least until M/I starts building. 

Reynoldsburg officials are hopeful that road work could start as soon as 2023. They have pointed to the TIF as a way to improve Waggoner Road without putting the city at financial risk.  

Improvements along Waggoner Road would be done in two phases, each estimated to cost about $7.5 million, Mayor Joe Begeny said. 

Phase 1 would stretch from Broad Street to Priestley Drive. Phase 2 would complete the improvements from Priestley to Main Street, with the potential to add a more visible entrance to Pine Quarry Park. 

In January, Reynoldsburg City Council approved a $65,319 purchase of a 1.9-acre lot at 1140 Waggoner Road, with the goal of adding a second entrance and larger parking lot for the 39-acre park at 8000 Kingsley Drive. 

Begeny called the TIF’s creation a “step in the right direction.”  

“The funds that this TIF will produce will allow the city to improve Waggoner Road without raising taxes on residents,” he said. “We will improve pedestrian safety with bicycle paths and sidewalks from Broad Street to Main Street as well as connectivity to the Waggoner Road Middle and Junior High School. Traffic flow will improve with wider lanes in targeted areas, a stop light at the Priestley/Waggoner intersection and improved lighting, as well as park improvements for Pine Quarry.” 

M/I expects to break ground next spring and said it will take about five years to complete the development, which will be called Spring Hill Farms as a nod to the site's agricultural past. 

Plans call for setting aside about 38 acres for passive green space and recreation uses, including trails, picnic shelters and playgrounds. Other features include nearly 100 streetlights, cluster mailboxes and three retention ponds. 

An entrance to the community is planned off Waggoner Road, with an entry sign and landscaping, including more than 600 shrubs, trees and perennials. 

The land is owned by the Rhoderick C. Griffin trust. A white house and about 10 acres surrounding it would remain the property of the trust, with the neighborhood built around it. 

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